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6 Benefits of Adding a Handrail to Your Balustrade System

In commercial and multi-family properties, one of the most common misunderstandings is the difference between a balustrade system and a handrail. A balustrade system is the entire slats and columns arrangement. In particular, it is a vertically stable guard-rail designed to prevent guests from toppling over the side of stairs, balconies, and decks. But the top of your balustrade system, that rounded railing-looking beam that crosses the top of all the balusters, is not a handrail. You can build a handrail over the balustrade system or extending from the side of your balustrade system. But technically, they are not the same thing.

This is why you often see railings with a double-cross-beam across the top. One that caps the balusters, and one meant to be used as a handrail. It's also why you may see handrails bolted to the side, allowing the hand to rest slightly below the safe top of the balustrade system.

Today, we're highlighting the top six benefits of adding a handrail to your balustrade system. 

1. Increase Guest Safety

For any property investor, the safety of residents and guests on the property is paramount. Especially when someone is raised above ground level. Even a little fall with no elevation change can be damaging. The best way to avoid both accidents and liability is to help every resident and visitor to keep themselves safe.

A grab rail along your balustrade system provides not only additional stability, but also an easier and safer grabbing option for those who may be falling. Balustrade tops tend to be too wide and not sized to fit safely into a gripping hand, while grab bars and handrails are designed to be caught and held tightly to prevent a fall.

2. Boost Stairway Utility

In fact, handrails even increase the utility of each stairway and balcony you upgrade. This is because residents and service technicians can carry more up the stairs and stabilize more safely when theire are handrails present. Handrails can allow boxes to be temporarily propped and for slipping cargo to be secured and saved when going up stairs.

3. Reduce Wear on Balustrade Top

Whether or not you install a handrail, your guests and residents will run their hands over something as they walk. Especially if you have a railing for balconies, decks, and stairs. Without a handrail, the top rail of your balustrade sytem will be touched until it is worn away. If you chose a decorative balustrade material or finish, that quality will deteriorate over time.

A handrail protects your balustrade top by giving your residents and guests a more comfortable alternative to rest their hands and gain stability while walking.

4. Meet ADA Compliance

Handrails can sometimes be essential for making your building handicap friendly. There are many physical conditions that can make stairways a particular challenge, but possible if there is a sturdy safety-approved railing. If you are seeking ADA compliance to welcome residents or employees with disabilities, handrails in the right places can help you to achieve this goal.

5. Welcome Elderly Residents

Elderly guests and residents also gain great benefit from handrails, especially when used with stairs and inclines or ramps. It can be difficult to co up and dangerous to go down without a steady bar to hold. Installing grab bars can make your building more appealing to an older population. Whether you're looking to attract retired apartment residents or cater to an older clientele, handrails are a good idea.

6. Easy to Replace or Refinish

Lastly, handrails that are separate from your balustrade system are easy to replace or refinish when they get worn. All those hands passing over a railing can wear away any finish over time. Impacts may even dent or damage your railings. But don't worry. Your balustrade system is still strong and you can easily unbolt that handrail to have sections replaced or have the whole thing refinished. Maintenance becomes easier when you concentrate wear-and-tear on an easy to repair component like attachable grab rails.