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Custom Metal and Glass – Design, Fabrication and Installation
“A railing is essentially made up of either two or three horizontal rails
that are held together by a series of vertical rails to form a rigid structure.”
Custom Railings
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A railing is a structure that is most often used in cooperation with elevated areas that works to protect people and animals from falling from the elevated area, which could result in injury. Railings that are used for safety purposes are often found on the exterior of the house on decks, walkways, and stairs and are used in the interior of the house on stairways and landings. Another more cosmetic application for railings is for decoration or to create visual barriers with a space. For instance, a railing halfway across a deck could denote two separate areas on the deck.

A railing is essentially made up of either two or three horizontal rails that are held together by a series of vertical rails to form a rigid structure. The topmost part of the railing is typically at a good height for it to be grabbed by hand, and is often referred to as a “handrail”. Common measurements for the placement of the handrail are anywhere between thirty-four and forty-two inches from the ground. The bottom rail does not typically lay flat on the ground and rather is two inches or so from the ground level. If you can picture standing on a deck, this is the part of the railing that you might rest your foot on when staring out into the distance, while leaning your elbows on the top rail or the handrail.

Railings are typically installed either between walls or between posts. In the case of a deck where you may need reinforcement more frequently than walls or posts will occur, legs will occur every few inches or so to create a “wall” between posts.

Connecting railings to a house or wall often includes metal railings, rosettes and brackets, or weld tabs.

Codes dictate different specifications for different applications for railings. For example, residential railings are typically at least thirty-four inches high and must be present should a deck be more than thirty inches above ground. Balusters, which are the vertical rods that go between posts, must be no more than four inches apart. In commercial applications, conversely, have stricter regulations due to the frequency of their use and liability issues incurred by those who insure such public spaces. In a commercial space, a railing must be forty-two inches from the ground. In the instance of commercial stairway railings, a side railing of 36 inches is required, and an extension must be present at the lower end of the railing.

Railings are made from a variety of materials. Wood railings are common on decks and in interior residential spaces such as stairways in a home. Iron railings are also very common, particularly outdoors. Iron railings tend to be thinner than their wood counterparts, thus being more view-friendly for outdoor spaces in breathtaking areas. Further, iron railings tend to outlive wood railings and they require much less upkeep. In areas where falling would cause great danger to the public, iron railings with their aversion to rotting are often the best choice.
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