Considering the decoration of staircase flight, it is very important to take into account the environmental conditions. The beauty of wooden railings is unquestionable, but you shouldn’t forget that their maintenance and care require considerable costs. Besides, wood is a very expensive and relatively fragile material. Therefore, it is more suitable for the decoration of internal stairs. If you want to emphasize the elegance and safety of external stairs, you should think about metal stair railings. Strength and unpretentiousness of metal, various shapes for the balusters, which makes it possible to cast the fanciest racks, possibility of combination with other materials and attractive appearance of such structures makes these solutions quite popular. However, such railings are appropriate not only in the streets: internal stairs, decorated with elegant forging or light steel beams, look equally effective.
Balusters from different metals
Depending on the location and design idea, balusters can be made of different metals. Cast iron and steel are the most popular of them. The table below shows the advantages, features and disadvantages of installation of metal balusters for the stairs of every material.
|Small weight of product, reliability, resistance to corrosion and practicality; perfect for domestic use
|Comparatively high price
|Very durable material at an accessible price;
|It is less strong than aluminum and steel
|It is an aluminum alloy
|High strength, safety; it is suitable for professional ladders
|Exposure to corrosion; steel structures are heavier than aluminum ones
|Bolt connection or welding is used for fastening the steps to the supports of metal structures
|It is easier to process than metal. Wood is serviceable, and you can make such structure with your own hands.
|Great weight of finished product, exposure to the effects of environment
|When building the ladder, you should make sure that there are no knots in the wood; varnish coating is necessary for protection from external influences
Besides you own creative ideas, you should be guided by the financial and practical reasons when choosing the material for the balusters: if you need to decorate high and wide staircase, and your budget is not limited, it is better to choose cast iron. However, installation of steel details will be a more reasonable solution for hidden inter-floor structures or basements.
Methods of manufacture
Depending on the type of material, metal balusters can be manufactured in the following ways:
It is used for the manufacture of steel and chrome plated structures. But if you need to create more complex, non-standard elements of baluster, you can also use casting (in this case, you will need the forms for the manufacture of balusters). Cheap and simple way of manufacturing the racks from this metal provides their low price: such structures are often used for basements and offices, and also for the stair railings in the shopping centers.
Casting is used for creating elegant or fanciful elements of cast iron balusters. To cast one or another shaped structure, you should use sand and clay forms or molds for the balusters: it is enough to heat metal to a very high temperature, fill it in the form and cool. Cast balusters are very economical to manufacture and make it possible to realize any creative ideas.
Forging is another way to create the unusual and elegant railing. Forged copper elements are considered a special chic. However, their price is prohibitive. Therefore, this technology is mainly used for the manufacture of iron racks. In this, you can choose one of the two methods – cold or hot forging.
When building the fine-molded, exclusive elements, metal is usually heated: it is easier to work with soft material, and in this way, you can realize any design idea. However, such work requires professional knowledge and perfect skills.
Cold forging is used for manufacturing simple details of balusters. In this case, the elements are cut from iron, stamped or formed on special equipment, after which all details and decorative inserts are welded together. Using this method, you can build the balusters on your own, but this process takes much time.
Ways of installation
Iron balusters can be installed in two ways: directly on the step or on its edge. The second fastening method is more time-consuming, but it allows you to save the width of staircase.
Note! During the installation of metal baluster, avoid fixing them in the places of bend or height difference of railings!
- Single anchoring is the simplest way of installation, in which the baluster is fixed on the anchor bolt (or dowel). It is not suitable for heavy monolithic structures, as it is least reliable, but good for the small stairs made of relatively light materials.
- Flange mounting – installation of baluster by means of additional flange on at least three tapping screws.
- Anti-vandal fixation – fastenings are installed in the depth of steps in the special pits/grooves. This is the most suitable method for external staircases.
- Concreting is suitable for heavy monolithic structures (in particular, cast iron balusters).
Lightness of balusters from stainless steel or elegant metal lace — such elements are strong, durable and can be combined with any material. The most important thing is to select the materials for stair railings and design taking into account all the necessary factors. We want to know how useful this article was for you. We are waiting for your feedbacks!