STRAIGHT, CURVED OR BOTH
• Straight Handrails are typically 2-3 layers of hardwood laminated to insure they remain straight and to allow for longer lengths and larger profiles than might be possible otherwise.
• Curved railing systems require bending handrails. These are handrails that are shaped from multiple individual splices that can be glued and bent to match virtually any curved stairway or floor level balustrade. Due to the inherent properties of hardwoods, bending handrails can typically be used only on stairways with radius’ 36” or greater and level bends of 48” or greater. It is also important to note that laminating a curved handrail requires approximately 18” of waist to insure a proper bend, therefore make sure account for this when figuring lengths. Finally, in order to prevent damage to the profile by the clamps, it is necessary to use two pieces of appropriate bender moulding for each rail being bent.
POST-TO-POST OR CONTINUOUS
• Fortunately these terms exactly explain the type of railing system they define. A Post to Post system in one in which the handrail begins and ends at a post. This type of fitting requires no transition fittings to flow over the post; however fittings may be required in other circumstances in this type of system.
• A continuous handrail system is one in which the handrail flows smoothly over the top of any posts. The handrail begins with a starting fitting such as a volute or start cap and continues over the top of intermediate posts using transition fittings like tandem caps or quarter turn newel caps.
PROFILE, PLOW & WOOD SPECIES
• The next factor to consider is the handrail profile. This involves several decisions such as aesthetics, comfort, and appropriate dimensions to accommodate the desired balusters.
• Aesthetics is a simple matter of selecting a design that complements the over all style of the balustrade and the home itself.
• While all of our handrails are designed for comfort some are larger than others and if this is of particular concern perhaps a mid to small dimension profile would best suit your needs.
• Finally it is important to insure that the bottom dimension of the handrail will accommodate the top of the baluster to which it is attached. If you are using square top traditional or craftsman balusters you will also need to decide whether you will be using a plowed system or surface mounted system. These differences are explained in the straight handrail brackets tab when ordering so for now just keep it in mind.
• The wood species is often a foregone conclusion as determined by the other materials in the home. However if you are still undecided or would like more information about available wood species and a detailed description of their characteristics and properties, click here.