How Railing Designs Have Changed Over Time in 3 Milestones

  • January 18, 2021

If you want your guests and tenants to move around your living or commercial space easily, the obvious solution is to have a staircase. You also must have handrails or balustrading. However, you may not be convinced that both are necessary, so it’s important to revisit the history of stairs and how railing was introduced. This way, you can better appreciate them.  This article will focus on three historic milestones about stairways while discussing how railing became the industry standard for most staircase manufacturers. Take this as an opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals of making your property more accessible for all. This way, you can become more intentional and inclusive with either guests and patrons.

1. The mythical symbolism behind stairs 

Around 6000 BC, you can see ancient designs for stairs to serve as an escape route to more secure, elevated rooms. But the most popular depiction of it was around 55 BC where Confucius utilised stairs or ladders as his pathway to divine ascension. He said this was a connection to sky and land. Due to this story’s mythical nature, many communities questioned the feasibility of stairs with no railing, pointing out that it seems unsafe.  The implication of staircases with no railways means that most structures would have grand steps to accommodate more people. For instance, you may see Greek ruins with small steps without any handrails that are often just a few metres elevated from the ground. The Egyptians were bolder with their iconic pyramids, but it was also a steep climb and not ideal for different individuals. Thankfully, there were developments done further down the line. 

2. Functionality during the 20th century

In the early Georgian era, architects were developing buildings for nobility with extravagant staircases, primarily among kings and queens. But as architectural developments came into the forefront, like houses and smaller commercial spaces, stairs were becoming narrower and harder to traverse.  Fortunately, handrails became a norm among many properties, allowing more children, pregnant women, elderly, and disabled to safely use the stairs. They became so popular due to the commercialisation of general services, like shopping centres and government establishments. As a result, one of the general standards for functionality is pairing the perfect railing with stairs. 

3. Safety and aesthetics for modern staircases

During the late 20th century, many business owners and households had the choice to pick more durable and stylish building material for their structures. For instance, some requested for full glass balustrading accompanied with stainless steel staircases.  For wheelchair users, they could opt for a ramp integrated into the stairs for better accessibility.  Contemporary design trends became popular as more custom staircase manufacturers continue to provide the best options from safety and aesthetic standpoint. 

Conclusion  

Handrails are integral to every modern-day staircase, even if that wasn’t true when the concept of stairs was first introduced. But as you can see from the previously mentioned milestones, they gradually became necessary to include them. Now that you have a better appreciation for railings, you can make well-informed decisions for your space, emphasising ergonomics and aesthetic value.   Aussie Balustrading is your dedicated team of custom staircase manufacturers in Western Australia and Perth. We provide you with a full range of handrails and steel stairs to keep your stairs functional and seamlessly integrated into your space’s style. We specialise in both residential and commercial properties for your convenience. Consult with us to greatly improve your property’s accessibility and safety!

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A Homeowner’s Guide to Maintaining Wooden Handrails

  • October 27, 2020

A change in seasons calls for home cleaning sessions, which usually include heavy sessions of vacuuming, disinfection of kitchen appliances and bathroom tiles, thorough floor cleaning, dusting, and so much more. You’ll also want to clean and prepare your windows for the changing temperatures, as well as your doors for better insulation. Other additional tasks include the wiping down of cabinets and consoles, but many homeowners miss one crucial area—handrails.  It is often overlooked, unmentioned, and downright forgotten by many homeowners, even with careful planning and a long list of cleaning tasks. Your Aussie timber stairs add to the quiet charm of your home, but it’s also a high-traffic area that may perhaps be already by a hotspot for germs, dust, and grime.  Wooden handrails, in particular, begin to develop sticky texture overtime. This is due to constant contact with dirty hands, random products, and even the shuddering thought of body oils. It’s there to accompany you every time you move up and down, making it a hub of shared fingerprints, grime, dust, and other contaminants. Failure to clean them only causes it to build up over time, which can likely play host to the spreading of germs. That said, make sure to keep your handrails a constant part of your cleaning routines. Cleaning a sticky wooden handrail can be rather difficult, but we’ve curated a guide for you. Here’s what you need to know:

Your Important Monthly Maintenance Schedule 

Doing a monthly maintenance routine is key to keep your wooden handrails looking their best. If you find yourself wondering where to start, all you have to do is follow these simple steps in maintaining your wooden handrails.

Step 1: The first layer of cleaning 

Ideally, you’ll want to get rid of any stains, dust, and dirt on all of the surfaces of your wooden handrails. You may opt to wipe the dirt off with a microfibre cloth, but even baby wipes will be effective in removing loose dirt. It’s ideal to wipe along the wood grain with long and even strokes until you remove any loose residues.

Step 2: Getting into the tough residues 

After you’ve wiped all the loose residues off of your handrails’ surfaces, there might be some stubborn residues that are tough to remove. To remove them, grab a spray bottle and mix equal parts of water and vinegar in it, then shake it gently afterwards. This solution usually takes care of tough and sticky residues, and it’s safe for both finished and unfinished wooden surfaces.

Step 3: Repetition is key 

A sticky wooden handrail can be difficult to deal with, so you’ll need to gather as much patience and determination as possible. You’ll find that the first coat of cleaning solution will not suffice, so continue spraying the cleaning solution directly onto the handrail. Wipe and clean with a rag, repeating the process until all the sticky residue disappears. 

Looking to have your current ones replaced?

Unfortunately, wooden handrails can sometimes be deemed as beyond saving, no matter how many times you’ve cleaned them. This could likely be due to the natural wearing process, leaving it unsalvageable and susceptible to more damage.  If you’re looking to have them replaced, it’s best to choose stainless steel. These handrails can easily be maintained and cared for—all you need to do is wipe them from time to time, with solutions that don’t need much of a fuss! 

Keeping Your Living Spaces Loved and Maintained 

A handrail may not seem like much compared to the other areas of your home, but its function and aesthetic is what keeps your home connected. You have access to the upper floors thanks to your balustrades, and it offers you the chance to add more character to your home. It’s only right that you keep them properly maintained, but if you find them beyond saving, it’s best to have them replaced as soon as possible. For custom staircase manufacturers in Western Australia, Aussie Balustrading has you covered. We offer you modern and innovative solutions, ensuring that your home remains safe, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing. Reach out to us today to learn more! 

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Can Glass Handrails Be Used Inside the Home?

  • October 20, 2020

Glass balustrades are a stunning choice for interior design, as they add a touch of elegance, class, and luxury to any home’s aesthetic. They’re beautiful for both indoor and outdoor use and can be installed on balconies, patios, indoor staircases, and decks.  As gorgeous as they are, however, most people may think that railing solutions made of glass are hazardous installations for the home, especially when used indoors. Since glass is typically fragile and prone to breakage, people may veer away from such balustrade options, opting for other finishings instead. Contrary to this common misconception, glass is actually one of the safest materials to use for railing systems as they’re extremely durable and low-maintenance.  Deciding on using handrails inside your home takes into account several factors. Here are the things one ought to consider when using glass handrails indoors. 

Safety of Glass Handrails

When debating on installing glass railings, people’s greatest concerns are typically about the material’s ability to support the weight of constant use. To abate that fear, railings aren’t made of typical glass due to the nature of their use. They’re built from specialised tempered safety glass, which is about four times more durable than regular glass. This material remains sturdy throughout its lifetime and is considered safer and more convenient than wooden balustrades, which are susceptible to rot and deterioration over time. Overall, glass railings are quite secure!  There are also types of glass railings that have different advantages depending on the option you choose:

Framed Glass Railings

These are the most commonly used kinds of glass railings. The panels of this type are held in place by a frame (usually composed of steel or wood), which provides more support for the glass and sports a look that is pleasing to the eye.  Framed glass railings are also ideal for staircases, so people climbing up and down the steps can have a more secure handhold for their stability and safety. 

Frameless glass railings

Frameless glass railings are better suited for homeowners who want to maximise the views in their home, particularly on outdoor balconies and rooftop terraces.  Commercial properties, such as restaurants and hotels, also make use of frameless glass balustrades to make for a fine display. However, these might not be the best option for indoor staircases, as safety is always the primary concern of most developers when it comes to staircase support.

The Benefits of Using Glass Handrails Inside the Home

 

1. Beautiful modern aesthetic

  Glass railings give an extra touch of sophistication and modern sleekness to any home. By adding glass to an otherwise ordinary-looking banister, the look of the house is instantly elevated to feel more spacious and look more “current.”  

2. Low maintenance 

  Glass surfaces are much easier to clean than other materials, so your glass handrails will only take a few minutes to wipe down should they attract any dust or fingerprints. Since it’s a material that doesn’t require much maintenance, unlike wood, glass handrails are also easier to maintain over time!  

3. Increased property value

  Installing glass handrails increase the visual appeal and overall value of your property, should you decide to rent or sell it. Having elegant, more luxurious fixtures earn you plus points in real estate—so consider your glass railings an investment in that regard as well!  

4. Safety

  While wooden railings have a gorgeous, traditional feel to them, they can also be hazardous for curious children and pets. Heads can get stuck, and small-enough animals can shoot right through the spaces between posts!  

5. A wide variety of options

  Glass railings may seem like an option for those with bigger budgets to spare on decoration and furnishings; but fortunately, they also come in a variety of cost-efficient options! Metal frames, for instance, are usually more expensive than aluminium ones.  Choosing the right material for your glass handrails entirely depends on what suits you, your home, and your budget. 

Conclusion

Glass handrails provide homeowners with the best of both worlds: a luxurious looking staircase and a safer one, to boot. They’re great for both indoor and outdoor use and come in a variety of options that are suitable for any part of your property. With all the benefits of glass balustrades, they’re the perfect addition to any home that requires an upgrade in its interior design! Are you looking for a supplier of glass balustrades in Perth? At Aussie Balustrading, we sell steel stairs, wireless balustrading, and residential and commercial handrails. Our handrails include options for frameless glass and stainless steel and glass balustrades. To view more of our products and services, visit our website today!

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What Are the Best Materials for Outdoor Handrails?

  • October 12, 2020

Being specific about your building choices is necessary if you want to build a long-lasting home. You must be precise about the measurements, colour and material of every structure you plan to construct. Stair railings generally have the same purpose, regardless of whether they’re indoor or outdoor fixtures in your property. However, the major difference of being exposed to the elements will require you to be more particular about your material options.

Choosing the right outdoor handrail material for your home

Although design, BCA-recommended railing height and colour options are essential factors to consider, your stair railings’ material is a much more significant decision. It dictates your handrail’s resistance against outdoor conditions. No one building material stands above the rest in terms of quality, but there are specific advantages and disadvantages you can consider for your particular property. If you’re planning to build outdoor fixtures that need handrails, here are three materials you should consider:

1. Stay classy with wood railings

Many home builders who want a rustic look choose wood as a primary material for their home’s theme. Wood railings have a natural texture that fits any traditional home. Additionally, polishing it to a glossy finish can complement a more contemporary home. With a wide selection of options, such as cypress, maple, mahogany or oak, wood is a durable material that scores high in durability and aesthetic appeal.  However, wood’s natural composition makes it easily susceptible to different weather conditions. Although you can treat your wood railings with sealants and varnish, it will eventually deteriorate over time in an outdoor setting. It won’t just lose its finish but can also crack, making it a safety hazard for people who need to grab handrails for security.

2. Match your greenery with natural stone railings

If you want to impress your guests, natural stone railings can give your home a luxurious look. You can choose from marble, granite, or stone as excellent complements to your outdoors. It’s a perfect addition to your outdoors if you have a pre-existing lawn or garden. Stone materials can make your greenery pop out, especially if you plan to place it near flowering beds. Like wood, natural stone has some degree of vulnerability that requires a sealant to prevent more porous stones from cracking within. Additionally, these materials need professionals to install them since they are heavier and require special fasteners.

3. Choose durability with metal railings

If you prioritise durability, steel handrails for outdoor steps and verandas could be the option you’re looking for. Like stainless steel and wrought iron, metal railings are popular among homeowners since they require less maintenance, unlike other outdoor building materials. Although they’ll still need waterproofing, you don’t have to check and treat them for damages regularly. These fabricated hollow rods are much lighter than wood or natural stone. They’re also easy to match to your home’s colour palette and design. You can choose from practical vertical bars to more stylistic shapes and patterns with an Art Deco direction.

Conclusion

Planning your construction project's materials will help you anticipate any potential problems in the future, from maintenance to repair duties. This is why you need to find the right materials that will fit the purpose of your structure. Ensure that you coordinate with reliable suppliers and capable home builders so that your outdoor extensions will have a seamless installation. At Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we install residential and commercial handrails in Perth. We ensure our clients that we can offer a wide selection of products and installation services for their needs. Contact our building experts today to learn more about how we can collaborate on your construction project!

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Why Handrail Interruptions Are Unsafe

  • October 12, 2020

When walking up or down the stairs, people subconsciously grab onto the handrails. While no one gives it a second thought, railings are a vital component that provides continuous support, especially for people with mobility problems.  Since it is one of the most prominent features that reinforce a safe experience when walking up or down the stairs, connected handrails should never be interrupted, even on awkward corners in your building. 

Why Do Handrails Need to be Continuous? 

Handrails are designed to provide support to all passers-by, which means it needs to be continuously graspable and follow the entire stairway landing. In most cases, handrails should not be obstructed beyond 20 percent of its length, while horizontal projections should be at least 38 mm beneath the bottom of the gripping surface if it is provided. 

What are the Requirements for Handrail Systems?

In addition to continuity, the handrail system should also meet the following requirements: 
  • The handrails and other objects in the scene should have a minimum clearance of 2.25 inches; 
  • The railings should have a graspable shape and dimension;
  • The ends of the handrail should not pose any hazards; 
  • The handrail should handle 200 pounds of a load when applied in either a downward or outward direction;
Beyond completing appearances, handrails can prevent or disrupt stair fall incidents, though there are a few exceptions. The handrail should follow all steps in the stairs, but interruptions are permissible if the stairs end at a landing with surrounding walls. Some of the exceptions include the following regulations: 

Continuity in Handrails: What are the Exceptions? 

Handrails should always be continuous, but it can be interrupted by doors and extended landing areas with walls surrounding the staircase. If the other side of the railing has an open side, then there should be a handrail following the site onto the next level.  If the handrail is surrounding a walking surface with a slope no steeper than 1:20, then interruptions are considered. Meanwhile, the horizontal projects and the handrail's bottom surface can minimize the distance by 3.2 mm for every 13 mm to cater to handrails with a dimension that goes beyond 100 mm.

The Bottom Line: The Importance of Handrail Continuity in Preventing Accidents 

It’s easy to overlook the importance of handrails, but it plays a pivotal role in providing security for people ascending or descending a flight of stairs. Not only does it serve as a guide, but it reduces the risks of falls and minimize liability concerns for your premises.  Seeing its importance in maintaining your stairs' safety, the industry standards require every form of handrails to be continuous if you want to meet the accepted building codes in Australia. 

Why Choose Us?

Here at Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we offer a premium selection of BCA handrails in Perth, Western Australia. We’re stair manufacturers in Perth that offer a wide range of handrails tailored to meet your style and unique needs, whether it’s for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes. 

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4 Wood Options You May Want to Consider for Your Handrail

  • October 8, 2020

The handrails are rarely given a second thought when looking at a staircase as it is always seen as a whole, but it’s an essential component that plays a pivotal role in enhancing the stairway's safety features. No one notices quality handrails, but it’s the unsung hero that can make or mar a person’s comfort while ascending or descending a flight of stairs.  Handrails can either be attached to the wall to serve its purpose of supporting passers-by or built-in seamlessly into the overall design of a staircase. When thinking of the best materials to choose for your rails, wood remains a perennial favorite as it never fails to provide understated elegance with its timeless appearance.

A Timeless Love For Wooden Staircases 

Wood combines reliability, longevity, and attractiveness in one capricious material, making it a classic choice that is sure to elevate your interiors. It’s a material that can withstand changing trends and the test of time thanks to its beneficial properties, which encompass qualities such as its easy installation, flexible design thanks to its varying finishes like stains, oils, wax, or paint, amongst others. Wood gives the atmosphere a sense of warmth when paired with metal or glass, giving the industrial-inspired space a touch of rustic charm.  While there’s no doubt that wood is a perfect choice as handrails, this begs the question: what type of wood suits your taste, needs, and budget? We’re here to give a rundown on five popular types of wood to help you make the right pick later on. 

Exploring Different Types Of Wood To Use As Handrails

1. Oakwood Handrails 

Coming on top as one of the go-to choices in various homes, oak is a fan-favorite as the material gives staircases a stunning finish. Beyond its attractive grain and beautiful looks, it doesn’t come short in its strength, making it a great choice as veneers, carvings, or parquet in different industries. Whether it’s for residential, construction, or interior decoration, oakwood is the tip choice thanks to its unparalleled visual appeal, durability, and uncompromising resistance to moisture. The only drawback is that solid wood can burn holes in your pocket with its hefty price, though you can shave off the price without breaking the illusion by blending an oakwood handrail with primed newel spindles. While it’s a durable material, the tannic acid found in oak wood can result in permanent staining when pairing it with steel or iron fittings.

2. Walnut Handrails 

One of the most accessible wooden materials on the list, walnut, can pack as much panache as its leading kissing cousins thanks to its breathtaking texture. With over 20 varieties spread across Europe, Asia, North, and South America, one thing these different species share is that walnut is always a sight to behold as the wood grows darker through time.  In addition to its striking appearance, it’s a rigid and robust material that gives little-to-no problems in its upkeep as the wood is easy to maintain or polish. It’s the perfect choice for homeowners looking for a wooden material with dynamic textures thanks to its uneven coloring and grain.  It’s also the best choice for furniture production thanks to its malleability and high moisture resistance, though it’s falling on the more luxurious spectrum. While it’s resistant to moisture, external elements can quickly take a toll on the wood, so it’s not a good handrail to match exterior staircases.

3. Maple Handrails 

Grabbing attention with its exquisite finish, the stunning blend of white, pink, and yellow against its hints of dark features create an eye-catching contrast. With its impressive beauty, maple is the best choice to elevate the interior decor with its light-colored qualities.  The best part is that beyond impressing the market with its beautiful patterns, maple is a form of hardwood that goes beyond an oakwood's strength. This makes it a dense and hardy material that is easy to stain, varnish, polish, process, and maintain for the long haul.  While its lighter appearance and well-textured surface give it a unique streak, it’s also vulnerable to scratches and marks. It’s a sturdy material that can withstand wear-and-tear when well cared for, but temperature changes can increase its risk of cracking under inclement weather.

4. Ashwood Handrails 

One of the more contemporary choices in the list, ash, is a malleable and elastic hardwood that offers durability and flexibility all in one. The different shades of gray set against bright fibers give it a distinctive appearance, making it stand out and introduce brilliant features in dark hallways.  It’s an excellent choice for completing the look and feel of sturdy balustrades, making it a great pair with modern options like glass panels to complete the future-forward look. It has an interesting texture that adds visual depth, but its best quality is its elasticity, which makes it a long-standing pick since it will not warp throughout the years. While it can maintain its structure, exposing the material to harsh weather and humid conditions can damage the material. Not to mention, it’s the most challenging type of wood to process and polish, which means it’s production costs are not budget-friendly.

The Bottom Line: Exploring Unique Wooden Options For Your New Handrails 

Beyond contributing to a decorative atmosphere and adding a higher sense of sophistication in your staircase, wood is also chosen as a reliable option for its robustness and years-long durability. 

How Can We Help?

Here at Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we offer a premium selection of BCA handrails in Perth, Western Australia. We’re stair manufacturers in Perth that offer a wide range of handrails tailored to meet your style and unique needs, whether it’s for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes.  For homeowners on the hunt for the perfect wooden handrail to elevate the sophistication and appearance of your staircase, we have a colorful selection of wooden handrails that vary in types, designs, and durability. Get in touch with us to view our handrails and see what else we can do to help!

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The Difference Between Handrails vs Stair Railings

  • September 30, 2020

When considering indoor or outdoor railings, most choose the materials, mounts, and other characteristics based on design and how it will impact the premises' overall decor. But when you put in the safety considerations in mind, more thought should be put into picking the ideal railing for your space. 

Exploring The Importance Of Railings 

All railings are built to keep people from falling over high heights. It’s easy to overlook, but it refers to all vertical displacement run continuously along any stairway, ramp, adjoining floors, hallway, balcony, verandah, mezzanine, or any area where the ground floor is meeting an elevated level.  While most think it’s a simple barrier, there are key differences in its configurations with unique properties that fulfill distinct purposes, one that guarantees varying degrees of security in both residential and commercial settings. One of the perennial favorite railings used to contribute to the public and industrial workplace safety are handrails and stair railings.  It's easy to use the two terms interchangeably, but these are two products with distinguishable properties that meet different building codes. Understanding the nuances is crucial if you want to purchase the right product that meets Australian standards and needs.

Defining Handrails And Stair Railing

Handrails refer to a structure designed to keep people from falling off platforms, stairways, landings, balconies, walkways, and more. As it is a protective addition, handrails will only meet the building codes if it can withstand a load force of at least 200 pounds.  Handrails should also have a smooth surface to make it easy for people to grip. When sliding one's hand, there should be no risk of getting injuries like cuts, punctures, or the possibility of catching clothing on the railing.  Moving forward, handrails are created to keep up with stringent safety and stability demands. While barriers play a role in enhancing the property's overall aesthetic appeal, it should provide protection, crowd control, and attractively meet building code standards above all else. 

What Are The Requirements For Handrails?

  • Handrails should have a minimum clearance of three inches between the fence and the wall;
  • Stairways that rise more than 30 inches in height should have at least one handrail on its side; 
  • Handrails should be easy to keep a steady handhold;
  • Handrails should not go beyond 37 inches from its surface to the treads. Likewise, it should also not go below 30 inches; 
  • Winding or spiral stairways should have handrails;
  • If there is a wire spacing, it should not be more than 100 mm; 
  • All solid handrails that meet Australia’s standards should be made with steel tubing. For its measurements, the tube should be no less than 40 mm.
As for stair railings, these are made with a simple task of keeping people from tumbling off the side of the stairs. 

Unveiling The Crucial Differences Between Handrails And Stair Railing 

Handrails vs. Stair Railings: The Grip 

The grip is a critical function that sets handrails apart from stair railings. The difference should be night and day, wherein handrails should encourage people to keep a firm girl easily to promote their security and stability. Handrails make it possible to wrap your hands fully around the surface, resulting in what people call the "power grip." With the ability to grip all fingers on the handrail, a person's stability can skyrocket by up to a significant margin.  Stair railings don't necessarily focus on providing a graspable surface since its primary focus is to guide and keep people from toppling down the stairs. Many stair railings have a thick, rectangular-shaped body that makes it difficult to grip.  Holding stair railings involves using the thumb tip and the index fingertip, but the lack of forceful exertion makes it considerably weak compared to the power grip. This means that while you can easily glide your hands along the railing, having a solid grip would be virtually impossible. 

Handrails vs. Stair Railings: Continuous Contact 

Seeing as handrails are designed to support and protect people at all times, it makes sense that it runs along every angle, outline, and direction of the staircase. This allows you to have a continuous grip on the handrail no matter where you are at the point of your climb or descent, allowing you to stay stable until you reach point A to point B.  Meanwhile, stair railings are often disrupted by posts between corners, which means the contact is cut off until the stairs move past the awkward angles. While it poses no problem at home, it's not the best choice if you're aiming for uninterrupted security in commercial places. 

Handrails vs. Stair Railings: Strength 

Stair railings can be made from any material, be it from wood to steel, as its primary purpose is to act as a barrier that keeps people walking along the stairway from tumbling down the sides. Handrails, on the other hand, are made with steel and must withstand 500 pounds of force exerted from any direction in both residential and commercial properties. 

The Bottom Line: Exploring The Differences Between Handrails And Stair Railings

Handrails and stair railing are rarely given a second thought, but it plays a pivotal role in maintaining a person's stability and security when walking a flight of stairs or any elevated landing. Choosing the right railings can significantly impact users' experience, and comfortability, primarily since handrails are meant to follow the entire length of a walkway. In contrast, stair railings are used as a guide along stairways. 

We Can Install The Right Railing That Suits Your Needs

Here at Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we offer a premium selection of BCA commercial handrails in Perth, Western Australia. Our wide range of safety handrails in Perth can cater to your style and unique needs, but rest assured that we also comply fully with all Australian standards.  From stainless steel glass to wire railing, you can have peace of mind knowing that our railings will enhance your property's appearance and safety. Get in touch with us to view our handrails and see what else we can do to help!

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A Quick Rundown of the Summary Requirements of NCC 2016 BCA

  • September 11, 2020

The NCC or National Construction Code of Australia is a performance-based measure to ensure that buildings and their elements offer the appropriate security for its inhabitants. Making up the NCC is the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which is the primary construction code for all states and territories. BCA balustrades abide by Section D2 16. 

Section Codes

Under NCC 2016 BCA Section D2 16, contractors must create a continuous barrier alongside: 
  • A roof with general access
  • Stairways, ramps, floors, corridors, balconies, hallways, decks, verandas, bridges, or mezzanines 
  • Any delineated paths 1m above the surface beneath that allow access into a building
The BCA requires additional construction under the following conditions: Barrier Heights At least 865 mm:
  • If stairways or ramps have a gradient of at least 1:20
  • The barrier provided along the inside edge of a landing or ramp doesn’t exceed a length of 500 mm 
Barrier Openings  A 300 mm sphere mustn’t pass through any openings. Where rails exist, a 150 mm sphere mustn’t pass through openings between nosing lines of stair treads and railings.  Openings between rails mustn’t be more than 460 mm.
  • Opening standards apply to fire-isolated stairways and ramps, areas used for emergency exits, external stairways and ramps, and class 7 and 8 buildings
Barrier Climbability Horizontal or near-horizontal elements between 150 mm and 760 mm above the floor mustn’t facilitate climbing. 
  • Opening standards apply to fire-isolated stairways and ramps, areas used for emergency exits, external stairways and ramps, and class 7 and 8 buildings
  • Non-climbing horizontals apply to floors 4 m above ground

Measuring Heights and Openings

Other than stairways, contractors must measure railing heights (BCA standards) vertically from the surface beneath them. Where barriers shift from sizes of 865 mm on a flight or ramp to 1m on a landing or floor, contractors may incorporate a transition zone. In this case, they must include a 125 mm barrier opening for stairways measured above the nosing line of its treads.  A more detailed section will describe the Moddex Assistrail AR45 and Moddex Conectabal CB30 systems in compliance with Section D2 16. 

More About the NCC

Australia’s National Construction Code dictates the minimum necessary guidelines for the safety, accessibility, sustainability and livability of new buildings or existing buildings undergoing renovations. It provides a cohesive set of technical provisions regarding plumbing work and drainage installations, taking into account various climatic conditions and geological or geographical conditions.  The NCC exists under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), who have developed all on-site construction requirements into a single, unified code. Other than the BCA, the NCC also comprises:
  • Volume One, which spans multi-residential, commercial, industrial, and public classes 2 to 9
  • Volume Two, which spans residential-class 1 and non-habitable class 10 buildings 
  • Volume Three, which applies to plumbing and drainage work for all buildings 

Conclusion

The NCC aims to encourage innovative designs with flexible use and ultimately, safety within all types of property. Its Deemed-to-Satisfy solutions outline exactly which materials, components, systems, and performance factors make for a secure establishment. At Aussie Balustrading, our stunning residential and commercial fixtures adhere to these standards, providing homeowners and building managers only with the best. Our team of highly-skilled and experienced professionals aims to create BCA handrails that surpass all standards and make incredible visual impact.

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A Business’ Guide to Complying With the AS 1428

  • September 11, 2020

Australia is known for having a world-class standard when it comes to infrastructure. Like in most progressive countries, every building follows a particular building code to ensure that its structure is safe for usage. All facilities follow particular regulations to protect the public’s safety, health, and general welfare. Some organisations even monitor and ensure that all property designs support people’s everyday living.  In Australia, there is an independent, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation called The Standards Australia. They are representatives of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They do not make laws nor produce any legal documents, but their standards have become widely renowned and called up into legislation by the Australian government. One of their most essential guidelines is the AS 1428 or the “Design for Access and Mobility.”

Introducing the AS 1428

The AS 1428 provides the minimum and comprehensive design requirements that builders should consider to make a particular infrastructure accessible to people with disabilities. It includes access ways and circulation space for people in wheelchairs, with sensory disabilities, and people with ambulatory disabilities.  The standard prescribed the types of physical access a building should have, and all entities involved should incorporate these during the planning and actual development and construction of all buildings and facilities.   Most of the time, people disregard this fact just because they are unaware of the difficulties of a differently-abled life. However, designers, builders, and contractors should know that this is a right that they should always take into consideration. 

How to Comply With the Premises’ Standards

The AS 1428 is highly detailed with its specifications. If you are building infrastructure or facility in Australia, here are some of the essential things you need to know:

On Pathways

AS 1428.1, in Clause 10, states that the path of travel for every building should be continuous and accessible. There should be no steps or other obstructions preventing it from proper usage. 

On Handrails

When it comes to handrails, all should comply with AS 1428.2, Clause 10.1. Handrails for stairs are mandatory and should not extend beyond the top or bottom of the steps.  Here are some more important notes:
  • The code requires an elliptical or circular handrail with the following size: 30 mm minimum width and 50 mm maximum width. 
  • The handrails on a staircase should be continuous down all flights. It should extend to one tread depth and should past the top and bottom riser by 300 mm horizontally.
  • Handrails should be at the same level throughout. It must not be less than 865 mm or more than 1000 mm. 
  • The handrail and the wall should observe a minimum of 50 mm space in between.
  • Handrails leading to a ramp needs to have a Kerb rail with a minimum height of 65 mm and a maximum of 75 mm. 

On Ramps

Found in AS 1428.1, in Clause 10, buildings should also comply with the following:
  • All should provide a step ramp to prevent fatigue. The step ramp’s maximum gradient should not be less than 1:10 a length, and it should not be greater than 1900 mm. 
  • If you will construct Kerb ramps, it should have a grade of not less than 1:8 and should not be greater than 1540 mm.

On Sanitation

All facilities, including the sanitary facilities, should be user-friendly and must provide people with a pleasant experience. As per Clause 15 and 16 of AS 1428.1, if your facility is large such as a theatre, sports stadium, or shopping centre, each of its levels should have several toilet blocks. Out of all these toilets, at least half should have an accessible unisex toilet. 

Conclusion

These are only some of the many things you need to know about building requirements. That is apart from the standards set by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Following all set rules and standards when constructing a building is for everyone’s safety. It should be the homework of all designers, contractors, and builders to familiarise themselves with the commands to observe. Are you looking for a provider and installer of handrails in Perth to help you comply with local legislation? At Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we can provide you with commercial and residential solutions for all your staircase and railing needs. We are also the top supplier of the finest stainless steel balustrading and other types of balustrade solutions in Australia. If you have specific requirements, we can discuss them in detail. Call us today at 0861535353 to learn more!

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Continuous Handrail: What Is It And Why Is It Required?

  • August 18, 2020

We often think that balustrades are merely decorative accents. The series of vertical posts along the stairway and the vertical railing on top of them are a common sight in any residence, despite appearing in multiple forms and styles.  Aside from serving an aesthetic purpose, however, they also have an essential security and safety function. These are a crucial element of any stair design—providing stability for both the person travelling up and down the steps and for the entire stair structure as well. 

The Importance of Continuous Handrails in Perth

Most people don’t give much thought about the style or importance of continuous handrails unless they are designing or renovating a house. What is important to homeowners is that safety handrails along stairways are a requirement. There are many codes and guidelines that regulate the design and construction of handrails for them to be considered safe.  If you are in the middle of house construction, and you want to make sure that your stairs are built according to the standards, here are critical points according to the Building Code of Australia (BCA):  

Handrails are required on any change in elevation over one meter.

  If you have a difference in elevation inside your home, you may need to provide a handrail to one side, even if there are only one or two steps to climb. This is a requirement if the height difference is more than a meter—although most houses typically have more significant elevations that require several stair treads anyway.  When in doubt, provide a handrail regardless of the height to guarantee that people can cross the elevation safely.  

Your handrail needs to be continuous along with each flight of stairs

  It can be confusing to imagine what continuous handrails indicate, but it all depends on the interior design. What you need to keep in mind is that, regardless of your stair plan, you need to be able to reach out and hold a handrail while you traverse along the entire length of the stairs, from top to bottom. Safety handrails, however, are not required in the landing area between flights.  

You only need to put them on either side

  You are only required to install one horizontal handrail on either side of the stairway. Even if you don’t have a row of balusters (vertical wood or metal posts to hold up the bar), you still need at least one railing attached to the wall or half-wall. In some cases, walls surround entire stairwells, but even with the possibility of holding onto the wall, you still need to provide something to hold on to.  Some balustrades in modern houses are made of a frameless half-walls of glass. In this case, your interior designer may need to become creative with the application of a handrail by expertly anchoring it to the surface, or providing a metal bar along the edge of the glass instead. 

Conclusion

Continuous handrails may seem like a difficult addition to throw into your house’s design—especially wiht all the requirements dictated by law. While there are many indications to follow, a capable interior designer can make safety handrails both beautiful and functional at the same time. Are you looking for a supplier of balustrades and commercial handrails in Perth? At Aussie Balustrading, we offer a variety of safety handrails designs perfect for any Perth installation. Call us for more information and view our catalogue today!

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How to Repair Rust Buildup on Handrails – Our Guide

  • July 13, 2020

Rust is a lot more than an unpleasant sight—it could spell disaster for metals. When rust appears, it eats away the material from the inside and spreads, weakening the structure.

While rust isn’t always the end of the world, it can be for your railings if it isn’t addressed quickly. The best way to keep your handrails strong is to ensure all the metal is galvanized. Aside from that, though regular inspection is also crucial.

All Metal Handrails Need To Be Inspected Regularly

A small rust problem is always better than a big one, so make sure to inspect your railings for rust on a regular basis. Pay close attention to joints where welds are made. If you notice the joint beginning to rust, make sure the issue is addressed right away.

If you spot rust beginning to build up, though, there are a few things you can do to give your railings new life. Before you write off the entire rail, try our tips:

1 - Sand the Handrail

Cover the unaffected areas with a painter’s tape and sand off as much of the rust as possible with steel wool, a wire brush, sanding sponges, or a small power sander. Make sure to be thorough with this procedure to prevent the rust from spreading any further.

2 - Try Rust Converter

Even after using a wire brush, there will likely be stubborn rust spots that you can’t just sand away. What you can do is try a rust converter. A rust converter will produce a chemical reaction to prevent the rust from spreading. Once you have applied the rust converter, sand the railing. When you notice uneven surfaces, use a rust repair filler on the corroded area, sanding it down before you prime and paint.

3 - Prime and Paint

When you have finally removed the rust, it’s time to prime and paint the affected areas of the railing. Use an oil-based, rust-inhibiting primer for the best results. Once the primer dries, you can apply spray-on enamel paint to the railing and add as many coats as needed.

Prevention Is Above All

Removing rust on railings is a tough job, and albeit it can be done, it can also be prevented. The best way to avoid rusty railings is to invest in a high-quality railing.

When you’re purchasing railings, make sure that they are galvanized. If the railing is painted or powder-coated, the outer layer will eventually chip, leaving the metal exposed and vulnerable to rusting. If it has been galvanized, though, the metal has been treated to resist rust.

Another thing is to avoid welded railing—welding requires the galvanization to be removed. That is why when it comes to a welded railing, the joints start to rust long before the main sections of pipe. You can also opt to build your handrails with stainless steel, which does not rust yet offers a sleek look.

Powder coating may also help prevent rust and provide added protection. This is because powder coating is baked on paint that adds that protective coating over the entire surface of the metal.

Conclusion

Worried about the rust on your handrails? Don’t worry—all is not lost. Try sanding the handrail, using a rust converter, or priming then painting. If you’d rather start over, though, we recommend stainless steel!

The experts over at Aussie Balustrading & Stairs are well-versed in the installation of stainless steel handrails and stairs in Perth that will not rust. Contact us today for a quote!

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Aluminum Handrail Ideas to Customise Your Space – Our Guide

  • July 13, 2020

Handrails installed at home serve a functional purpose, offering you something to literally lean on for support and stability as you move about. But apart from this, beautifully designed models are meant to add value to the overall look of your home. That's why many homeowners take handrails seriously, seeing it as a feature that can augment both the aesthetic and functional value of their homes.

When it comes to a handful of handrails to choose from, an aluminium handrail can be a good option. Here are valuable ideas in installing aluminium handrails to customise the space in your home.

What to choose

Handrails come in a variety of options. You can select the like of stainless steel handrails, brass handrails, wrought iron handrails, and not to mention—aluminium handrails. The good thing about aluminium handrails is that they are readily available in the market. They have a wide range of choices based on sizes, shapes, colours, and styles. Given the wide range of options that you have to choose from, aluminium will ensure you get something that maximizes the functionality and enhances the beauty of your home.

What factors to consider

If you want to customise your space when installing aluminium handrails, here are four key factors to consider:

  • Size: Aluminum handrails come in various lengths and widths where you can use internal connectors for them to be installed. You can surely find something that fits your space.
  • Safety: As safety is a top priority, you can rely on aluminium handrails for support and stability. Install in places at home where you need rails to grasp on.
  • Colour: Aluminum handrails are usually silver in colour. However, there are other hues to choose from, such as white, black, and brown. Choose a certain colour that seamlessly blends with the rest of your home decor.
  • Style: Aluminum handrails come in an array of styles. You can go for a rounded profile with returns, a rounded rail with end caps and mounts, a more rectangular rail, a classic design, or a more modern one. When it comes to styles, the possibilities are endless.

Where to install

Wondering where aluminium handrails can be installed at home? Your stairs are only the first option. Here are a few places you may want to consider installing railing:

  • Beside a ramp or along the hallway walls: This area is frequented by people needing balance and mobility.
  • Near toilets or bathtubs in the bathroom: This area requires added security where people shift between sitting and standing.
  • Near work surfaces in the kitchen: These areas need something stable and safe to hang onto, such as a handrail.
  • In the bedroom: Other household members need handrails in their bedroom for convenience and support.

Why choose aluminium handrails

There are many valuable reasons to consider installing aluminium handrails in various spaces of your home. Here are a few:

  • Durability and longevity: Handrails are durable, meaning they can last for as long as possible.
  • Affordability: They are good investments, yet they are quite affordable.
  • Aesthetics: They are attractive, which can enhance the look of your space and the overall appearance of your home.
  • Safety: They do an excellent job of enhancing safety on staircases by providing a secure handhold.

Conclusion

Overall, aluminium handrails can be your best bet, as far as handrails are concerned. Consider all the valuable information and design ideas outlined above before you'll look for handrails in Perth and Western Australia.

Are you up to install aluminium handrails for your space? Take our practical ideas above! As a custom staircase manufacturer and supplier, we offer a handful of handrails in Perth and Western Australia. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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