Whether you’re conducting a full remodel of your home or just modifying one room, changing your railings can change the entire look of your property. Many people choose to install balustrades for their staircases, balconies, or even on their patios. They clearly mark a border from one room to the next and protect people from accidents, as children and pets can no longer accidentally stumble towards a swimming pool or off a balcony.
In some areas, fencing or railing is actually legally mandated. Regardless of whether the local laws require you to fence off certain areas, picking a quality balustrade can pull together an attractive-looking space. The basic decision is going to come down to which materials are right for you.
Wood vs. Metal
The posts holding the balustrade together typically come in timber or metal constructs. Each material has its advantages and drawbacks. Timber is a classic material that has been used for fencing, railing, and other types of construction for thousands of years. Wood provides your home with a warm, inviting, largely timeless aesthetic feel. Wood is also a pretty versatile material; it can be painted, finished with a simple clear coat, stained with a different colour, or even just left bare. A high gloss finish creates a slick and modern feel. A satin finish lends a rustic and classic feel to your home. Wood is a great choice for a balustrade support structure, though metal is a serviceable option as well.
Metal is a great material for a support structure because it is modern, sturdy, and requires low maintenance. Neither you nor the manufacturer needs to do much to maintain a metal support structure. You don’t have to finish it, stain it, or polish it. The best option for a metal structure is marine grade stainless steel. Marine stainless steel is designed for use in both fresh and saltwater. This means that it resists rusting, corroding, and pitting, which makes for a sturdy, low maintenance option.
Wire vs. Glass
When choosing the actual barrier for your balustrade, you typically have a choice of wire or glass. Wire has benefits. It is affordable, easy to install, and easy to replace. Glass balustrades are some of the most popular varieties for indoor and outdoor use as well. Glass is popular because it allows for an unobstructed view of both sides of the barrier. If you want to create a room with a well-lit, open feel, you need to reduce the number of physical barriers to increase visibility. Glass helps you do just that. Glass, however, does need to be cleaned frequently. It collects dust, dirt, and fingerprints. You can clean it with a microfiber towel and a glass cleaner for the best results. Wire doesn’t offer the same unobstructed view of your room, but it does allow you to see through the thin material pretty easily.
The difference with wires is that there is still a lot of negative space. Wires might not be appropriate for those with small children who can fit between the wires. The maintenance of wire balustrades is a distinct advantage, though; you don’t have to clean them. Occasionally, you might have to dust them, but they are otherwise maintenance-free. The choice of wire versus glass depends entirely on your specific needs.