How Do I Choose the Best Balcony Handrail?

Dan Cavallari

A balcony handrail is designed for safety and aesthetics, so when choosing the handrail that will work best for your home, be sure to have these two key considerations in mind. The materials used to make the balcony handrail will have a significant impact both on the aesthetic and the strength of the rail, and you will probably want to choose between wood and metal. Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages which will need to be considered before purchasing, and the cost of the handrail can vary according to the materials and the design.

The only balcony railing type that is intended for a deck for walking and movement is the true balcony railing.
The only balcony railing type that is intended for a deck for walking and movement is the true balcony railing.

Wood balcony handrail options are a good choice for aesthetics and ease of installation. Many types of wood are available for construction of a balcony handrail, and you will need to consider how resistant to moisture damage the handrail will be, since it will regularly be exposed to the elements if the balcony is outdoors. Some woods, such as teak and cedar, are great choices because they naturally resist water damage and they are naturally beautiful, often requiring no chemical finishes for aesthetics or protection. Such wood can be more expensive than other choices, however, so you will need to account for this when you draw up your budget.

Metal balcony handrail offerings are usually made of steel, aluminum, or iron. Wrought iron and cast iron are common choices with wrought iron tending to be more expensive. These railings will be heavy and strong, but they will also be susceptible to rust when exposed to the elements. Some maintenance may be necessary to ensure the railings do not rust. Some types of steel will be less expensive than iron and more resistant to water damage. The steel is often galvanized or otherwise treated to resist moisture damage, and the material is lighter than iron. Aluminum is the lightest weight option, the most resistant to moisture damage, and the least sturdy option.

The design of the balcony handrail will vary significantly according to manufacturer. The best design will be one that suits your aesthetic tastes, and one that fits with the overall aesthetic of the house. Try not to choose a handrail that stands out from the rest of the house in a glaringly obvious way; the handrail should fit with the look of the house, even if it is a focal point for people to notice. Simple designs can complement a house well, and more decorative options may fit well with older homes.

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