Wood handrails are the rails that run up the side of your staircase in the absence of a banister or staircase cast. The term can also refer to the part of the balustrade that sits on top of the balusters.
We all have them in our homes, but wood handrails happen to be the one thing that the majority of people do not notice. That is, unless they stand out because they do not blend in with the rest of the décor in your home.
Some elderly or disabled people may also have them on the walls of the rooms that they use for support and accessability, but there is a new fashion in house renovation and décor at the moment, and that trend leans towards decorative wood handrails.
Benefits of Wooden Handrails
Decorative wood handrails are different from those that can be found in old home or are installed when a development company builds a home from scratch. They tend to be placed on the wall next to the stairs for decorative value and not functional value, although they serve both purposes, and can indeed be found in a whole host of rooms as well.
What makes them decorative? Top quality hardwoods or high-tech materials like titanium, to start with. Also, instead of the utilitarian round cross-section, they have shapes that a re more ornate and stylish. Cross sections could be flat ovals, rounded top with double-curved sides, convex or concave sides with a flat top, art-deco or classic regency styles, and many others.
Handrails have a whole range of benefits and can add so much to your home. Their duel purpose in offering support and elegance in your home is extremely fashionable at the moment, and this is why they have become increasingly popular. However, they are also reminiscent of old English stately homes and actually add a little in terms of value to your home.
They can be expensive, but décor along the same lines as decorative wood handrails can increase the overall value of your home and thus increase the profit margin if you plan to sell in the future. This is why many developers offer such décor now and interior designers advocate its use.
Decorative Handrail Choices
You have a number of choices when it comes to decorative wood handrails and the one you choose largely depends on your existing décor or your planned colour scheme if you intend to change the existing one in the near future. Your choice should be based on what would fit into your home.
There is a range of woods to choose from, majority of which are hardwoods since they will not degrade as easily as softer woods.
Mahogany and oak are popular, but oak may be a little heavy for your walls. Pine is also popular. Those woods look very stylish when they are varnished and sustain patterns and grooves extremely well. Most people choose the decoration rather than the wood, but be aware of the difference in colour and how that can make the handrail appear out of place.
Decorative wood handrails are easy to install because of the mounts that often come with the rail itself when you purchase them. The rails themselves are secured to the wall with metal brackets, which in turn are fastened to the wall with wood screws going into wall studs.
To install, find the studs, marking the locations with a pencil; drill starter holes in the wall. Next, attach the brackets, making sure they are level to each other so the rails won’t be bent. Lastly, attach the rail to the brackets, referring to the instructions that come with them, and make sure that the rail is firmly screwed in place.
Photo of handrail designed by Antoni Gaudi: David Sim, Creative Commons License