Stair Railings


USA: Stair Railings: Stair Railing Manufacturers


Stair Railings are installed as a safety feature, to prevent users from falling off the edge of the stair. They also provide a handgrip to help maintain balance while walking up and down stairs. Common materials for stair railings are aluminum, steel, or stainless steel. Stair railings may also be made of self-supporting sheets of laminated or tempered glass, with a metal handrail along the top of the glass sheets. Handrail dimensions are governed by safety codes published by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Fire Protection Association, and the International Code Council.




The first consideration is whether you want a traditional or contemporary look. We strongly recommend that you base this choice on the style of the dwelling as a whole. Traditional railings will suit an older house, which has traditional moldings around its doors and windows. Contemporary railings will suit a modern house, with simple rectangular wood trim. Don't mix styles!


Traditional designs


The most common type of traditional railing is made of wood, with vertical spindles and a wooden handrail along the top. Spindles are available as simple rectangular-section sticks, or in decorative turned designs. These are typically turned out of square-section wood, so that the upper and lower parts of the spindle are square in section. In the most elaborate designs parts of the spindle carry vertical fluting. One can mix different spindle designs, but we would advise against this; our advice is to keep it simple and uniform. Wooden railings may have a natural finish or be painted; we recommend a natural wood finish, as railings suffer a good deal of wear and tear and painted surfaces will soon deteriorate. A natural wood finish will not show small dents and scratches.


Traditional railings may also be made of wrought iron, giving a highly decorative look. The handrail for may be in traditional brass. Wrought iron railings are particularly suitable for use on outdoor steps.


Contemporary designs


Contemporary railings are available in wood, in aluminum, or in stainless steel (which may have a gloss or matt finish). They may be fitted with simple vertical spindles in the same material, or with panels of glass or acrylic material. As an alternative to panels, horizontal cables may be fitted below the handrail.




The leading manufacturers selected by Abacus Construction Index, which are listed below, have comprehensive websites, with information on all aspects, including online catalogs, colours and materials, and care and maintenance.


Manufacturers of tend to specialise in either metal or wood railings. Metal railings are available in traditional designs, and also in contemporary designs which sometimes feature glass panels. Wood railings are available in a very wide range of traditional designs, to accommodate curved as well as straight stairs.  


American Railing Systems. American Railing Systems Inc. is a leading manufacturer of aluminum and stainless steel handrails. It was founded over 60 years ago, and is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Its product range includes: Standard Top Rails, Standard Posts, Standard Intermediate Rails, Standard Insert & Bottom Channels, and Glass & Panel Framing. Stair Railing parts are stocked in White, Bronze, and Black. Other standard colors are: Cream, Beige, Clay, Gray, Glen Green, Evergreen, and Brown. Of required, the customer's own color can be exactly matched. The American Railing Systems product range includes: aluminum railings: aluminum deck railings, aluminum pipe railings, aluminum hand railings, and stainless steel railings. The American Railing Systems brochure can be downloaded in jpg or pdf formats. There is a section of the website giving CAD details for each type of stair railing.


S&S Manufacturing. S&S Manufacturing, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, is a maker of architectural railings, including stair railings. It was established in 1985 by Steven Silverman, who set out to become a single source supplier of non-ferrous railings to the construction industry. The S&S Manufacturing website is organized into the following main sections: ADA Railings, Balcony & Terrace Railings, Glass Railings, Mass Transit Railings, Public School & University Railings, Handrail Types & Finishes, Restoration Projects, and Specifications. Stair Handrails are manufactured by S&S Manufacturing from aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and bronze. The following aluminum finishes are available: Tiger Drylac Electrostatically Applied Polyester Powder Paint; Duracon, Kynar, Duranar, or Baked Enamel Wet Paint; and Anodizing in Clear, Black or Bronze 2 step color.


Virginia Railing & Gates. Virginia Railing & Gates, of Ashland, Virginia, is a prominent manufacturer of stair railings, handrails, and gates. Its product range includes: Aluminum Railings, Brass Railings, Cable Railings, Commercial Railings, Exterior Railings, Glass Railings, Interior Railings, Pipe Railings, Porch Railings, Residential Railings, Spiral Railings, Steel Railings, and Wood Style Railings. Available finishes include: Aliphatic Acrylic Urethane Gloss, Coraflon ADS Fluoropolymer Coating, and Powder Coating. The Victorian range of railings includes traditional designs with a top bar in high polished brass, heavy gauge steel tubing railing posts, and elaborate decorative panels in hand forged steel. The Art Deco range includes a railing with all steel frame, comprising pickets, posts, floor mounting brackets, and channels to support a wooden grab bar.




You may also like to visit our USA product guides on: Balustrades, Stair Lifts, Stair Rods and Stair Treads.


Publisher: Abacus Construction Index is a professionally edited directory of recommended construction websites, published by Extonet Ltd. It is financed only by Google advertising; no payment is received from included websites.


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