Choosing a railing for your home might not seem like a very big decision, but when you consider the uses of a good railing and the expense of installing it, you might think differently. The cost of railings breaks down into two categories: installation and materials. If you want to choose the most effective railing, you should consider the materials very carefully. The most common materials are timber and stainless steel, respectively the most popular hardwood and metal of choice.
Here are some more things to consider.
The considerations for timber are very simple. If your balustrade is going to be placed outside, you need to think about the effect of weather on the timber, which is a porous material. Some types of wood are more porous than others, but they all absorb water eventually. If you keep your wood railing outside, then it will absorb moisture from the rain but also from the air.
Even when it doesn’t rain, the humidity outside can seep into the wood. That will cause the wood to warp and swell; eventually, it will cause the wood to begin to degrade. That degradation can undermine the efficacy of your railing; it will also make it a welcoming environment for termites and other pests. The best way to keep this from happening is to buy great quality wooden posts and make sure that you keep a coat of wood finish on them.
While a sealant will protect your timber from rot and from moisture, the other alternative is metal.
Metal considerations are similar to timber considerations. Moisture is the enemy of metal, so you need to make sure that the metal you choose will not degrade in the presence of rain and humidity, as decay tends to come in the forms of rust and corrosion. All ferrous metals, those containing iron, are subject to rust, though certain types of metal have been galvanised to prevent against rust.
That’s why stainless steel is called “stainless,” as it is not nearly as susceptible to rust as pure iron or an unvarnished steel. Still, you need to protect any metal you choose from corrosion, which comes when moisture and other elements are allowed to build up on the surface of the metal. These are substances such as oils and acids; they can be naturally occurring or they can come from chemicals such as cleaning chemicals.
To keep your metal railing in good shape, you need to buy high-quality stainless steel and then keep it clean. Keeping stainless steel clean is pretty simple, you just need to wash it with a mild soap and water to remove any damaging chemicals.
Whichever type of material you choose, it will surely offer you advantages and disadvantages. What’s most important is buying from a reputable seller who will sell you excellent materials. Wood that is high quality and finished with a great sealant will not be susceptible to moisture damage for months and months. Steel that is good quality will not corrode as long as you keep it fairly clean.