Probably the two most important elements to consider when choosing a handrail for your staircase design are building regulation compliance & aesthetics. As well as being a key component of your stairs design a handrail can transform the overall look and really make the staircase stand out. Ideally the end result should always be a staircase that is a stunning focal with a handrail that compliments the overall design while not compromising on design or regulations.
You can opt for a handrail that’s quite subtle in terms of design or you could consider a more “statement” handrail that will be a stand out feature in its own right. Handrails tend to be made from either steel or timber. A sleek stainless steel handrail gives a perfect contemporary finish while timber options are also hugely popular, especially if you wish to match & enhance other wooden features.
Handrails come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, including round or square options. Fixing the handrail directly to the balustrade is particularly effective if laminated glass is required. Alternatively you can opt for a floating handrail effect where the handrail is connected to the balustrade by a bracket. Handrails may also be wall or floor mounted depending on the desired effect required. For curved stairs we also offer the choice of an engineered laminated solid curved handrail.
Choosing Your Material – Stainless Steel Vs Wood
Stainless Steel Handrails for Stairs
You can choose from square, rectangular or circular styles in:
- High brush finish stainless steel (Always 304 grade stainless for interior use);
- Mirror finish (sometimes incorrectly referred to as chrome).
Wood / Timber Handrail Options For Your Staircase
Our wooden handrail options are made using high grade natural solid timber. Timber is finished to the highest standards and coated with 2-part polyurethane low sheen varnish for durability and protection. Timber can also be stained or treated to achieve a particular effect or colour.
Check out our online showroom for a full range of staircase designs with various handrail choices.
Building Regulations Handrail Guidelines
There are a couple of guidelines and common sense elements that need to be considered when choosing a handrail.
- Any stairs under a 1,000 mm wide requires a single handrail – over 1,000 requires two. This can be on the balustrade or wall mounted;
- The handrail must have a minimum 40-50 mm diameter;
- A minimum 50 mm knuckle room behind a handrail is required;
- If non-circular – 50 mm wide x 38 mm deep with rounded edges is acceptable (Part M building regulations 2010);
- Handrails must be approx. 900 mm above step nosing on a stairs and at 1,100 mm above floor finishes on horizontal areas – mid landings, stairwells, void areas.
- A handrail rebated and fixed onto the laminated glass ensures glass balustrades and guard railings are kept in-line over time – this can sometimes be an issue with changes in temperature and settling of a new build where glass balustrades without a handrail can lose their alignment slightly;
- This rebated handrail will also cover the seam between the laminated panes which many clients wish not to be visible;
The handrail also has the practical use in that it will keep the majority of fingerprints off the glass;
- Provided a rebated handrail meets the minimum size requirements stated above then no other handrail is required.
For glass balustrades & guard railings
All the above rules apply but you might wish to consider some additional factors: