Railings FAQ

When do I need to install a railing?
Consult your local codes and authority. The general rule is when you have a deck, patio, stairs or general surface that has a drop-off of thirty inches or more; you are required to install a guard railing.

 

What are the requirements for a railing?
Again, we recommend that you check your local codes and authority.

  1. Generally, most codes require a height of 36” for residential and 42” for commercial or multi-family dwellings.
  2. In both cases, you are limited to a maximum opening anywhere throughout the railing system of 4”. In other words, you should not be able to pass a 4” diameter ball through the railing.
  3. There are also codes governing the load barring capacity, fail point, of railings. Typically, a railing must not deflect more than an inch when two hundred pounds of force is applied vertically and horizontally but not consecutively.  This is definitely an issue when using vinyl and cable rail materials.

Because of the numerous codes and potential danger associated with railings, we recommend that you select a fabricator with a long history of building railings. In light of the fact that railings are installed to prevent a fall, these products must work one hundred percent of the time.

 

What about stair railing requirements?
Stair railings must comply with standard guard railing requirements in addition to having a grab rail for guiding you up and down the stairs.

  1. The grab rail must be specific in size, profile and location. Typically, grab rails are approximately 34” above the nose of the stair tread.
  2. A grab rail should be no larger than two inches in diameter or similar shape.  It should be installed with few obstructions, allowing users to safely run their hands up and down the railing.
  3. Stairs 36” or less in width require one grab rail.  Wider stairs will require more than one.
  4. Commercial railings often require a one foot horizontal run of railing at the top and bottom of the stairs to allow the user to grab the railing before stepping up or off.
  5. Handicap railings will require a one foot horizontal and vertical return at each end with a second lower railing allowing people in wheel chairs to reach the railing.

Again, we recommend that you select a fabricator with a long history of building stair railings.

 

Can you custom build my railing?
We have fabricated literally thousands of different railing designs with the following process.

  1. We have catalogs and website photos full of railings designs for you to review in designing your railing. We also recommend that you search the web as railing fabricators and home builders are promoting more and more of their products on-line.  A popular railing accessory provider, King Architectural Metals, has an excellent website with several design assistance tools and views.
  2. With three veteran computer aided design (CAD) programmers, we will provide you with a CAD drawing of your dream railing.  Always demand a CAD view of your railing before allowing any fabricator to build your unique design.  If your first glimpse of your new railing is only once it is built; you may be very disappointed.  CAD views will provide details that include material selection, all necessary dimensions and even a three dimensional view.
  3. Once you have selected a design, we will personally field review your application.  All custom railings must be field verified by a professional fabricator.  Never purchase a railing locally or online without having the fabricator review your installation site.  It is easy to overlook little site details such as base trim, carpet to tile, set-backs and reveals, etc. that only a professional fabricator will be keen to notice.
  4. With five certified welders, we will build your product to the highest standards.  All custom metals products should be fabricated in accordance with AWS D1.1.  AWS is the acronym for the American Welding Society.  This group is the governing agency that sets the standards for steel fabrications.  D1.1 is the written standard for welding steel materials.  D1.2 is the standard for welding aluminum materials.  Request that your fabricator build your railing to these standards.
  5. With hundreds of color samples and paint applications, we will work with you to select your colors.  There are as many types of paint applications as there are colors.  The most popular and widely used are the following:
    1. HVLP.  High volume low pressure paint process is the most popular application.  This process has the benefit of getting paint into tight corners and angles.  It is a wet paint application that should include a two coat application of a quality primer and top coat.
    2. Electro-Static.  A wet paint application that charges the paint particles and applies an opposite charge to the railing.  When the paint is applied it is immediately attracted to the metal surface, providing a very consistent coating with no overspray.  This process should be applied in conjunction with the HVLP system as electro-static paint is difficult to get into tight corners and angles.
    3. Powder Coating. This coating provides a plastic like candy apple coating to metal products. It is powder that is applied to the fence and then melted in an oven, creating a baked-on tough coating.
    4. Galvanizing. Leaving your fence with a shiny silver coating, galvanizing seals the fence from rust and corrosion with a zinc rich finish. Though this is a great application to prevent rust; unfortunately, most paint applications do not adhere to the shiny galvanized finish unless first brush blasted.

With over forty years of experience, you can count on us to install your product on time and to your satisfaction.

A railing can be and often is the focal point of your home. We understand this fact.  In turn, we believe every railing should be treated like a work of art.