Balustrades form part of the scenery in households and home exteriors. However, unlike fireplaces or furniture, they are not the focal point of a room. They are not appliances or part of the plumbing either, which are vital structures in keeping a household alive. A balustrade, once it is installed, seems to require little maintenance other than the weekly dusting or cleaning.
However, balustrades are like any other piece of equipment in that they need to be checked from time to time. It is important that these are of a certain height, so that they provide the support for people leaning over or on the handrails. It is also necessary that they be sturdy, so they can bear the weight of the people leaning on them.
If you have balustrades built into your home, it is likely that your contractor has followed the Building Code of Australia when he installed them. BCA codes have regulations detailing construction materials and measurements that ensure the safety of people moving through building levels. Balustrades are covered in these regulations, as are stairways, balconies, and similar structures. It certainly helps, though, to perform your own inspections occasionally.
Check the balustrade height
Your structure must rise at least a metre high from the surface of the floor. Your balustrade must be more than a metre even after remodelling, even after the installation of tiles or paving. This installations sometimes shortens the balustrade height, which makes the structure non-compliant. If they are a couple of inches below regulation, they do not provide the same amount of safety that they are supposed to give.
If you had recently bought a house and are inspecting it, pay attention to whether your balustrade is low enough to be climbed. Children can get into accidents involving a steel staircase or wire balustrade, so prevent this by making sure your balustrades are tall enough that they prevent climbing.
Determine tension and fixings
Some balustrades are made of tensioned wire, which means they must be routinely checked for looseness. While wire balustrades may be tougher than they seem, it is not unheard of for a young child or a toddler to have an accident because of a wire balustrade.
Aside from checking the tension of your railing, you should also inspect the distance between cables and the other materials like stair tread gap fillers. BCA-compliant homes would at most have 125 mm in between railings. Do an eye inspection of your balustrade from time to time and see if any railings have come loose.
Inspect for dirt and deterioration
If your balustrade or railings are loose, they might not have been properly installed. Otherwise, there might be disrepair. Stainless steel balustrades and handrails can still corrode, which might explain why there are loose railings. Painting your steel balustrades and handrails with a substance that slows rusting can help prolong the life of your fixtures. You should also include in your inspection bolts and screws that fix your balustrade to the floor.
Routinely cleaning your metal balustrade will prevent it from rusting. Use a sponge or soft cloth and a solution of soap or mild detergent dissolved in warm water. When cleaning, you can opt to rinse or wipe it dry. For oil or grease, use solvents like alcohol, acetone or methylated spirits before washing as usual.
A metal balustrade is both a functional and stylish addition to a home. Balustrades are constructed to BCA guidelines, but it is important to occasionally inspect your railings so you can catch the first signs of dilapidation. Proper care and routine checkups on your balustrade will help keep you and your family safe, and will allow you to be able to enjoy your home for years to come.
If you are looking for a steel staircase provider in Perth and Western Australia, get in touch with us today. We have steel staircases, wire balustrading, residential steel handrailing and more. Trust us for the finest steel balustrading supplies in Australia.