Metal or Aluminum Porch Hand Rails are Popular
Aluminum handrails are extremely popular as they not only provide safety but also are very versatile and aesthetically pleasing.
Metal porch hand rails
Typically, metal porch hand rails and safety handrail systems are made from extruded aluminum and specifically coated to ensure longevity with minimal maintenance
Unlike wood stair hand rails, aluminum porch hand rails can be easily installed making them a perfect DIY project.
Now you can ensure the safety of family members and visitors by installing them anywhere someone might fall, whether you have only two steps or twenty.
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Did You Know You Can Get These Online?
InstantRail 3-Step Adjustable Handrail - (Amazon affiliate link)
Metal handrail kits make it easy to safe-proof you porch, deck, or stoop stairs.
And they look fantastic too!
We feature InstantRail and Iron X, highly recommended products available through Amazon.com
InstantRail 5-Step Adjustable Handrail - (Amazon affiliate link)
Think About This
You wouldn't hesitate to replace a broken seat belt assembly in your car to protect loved ones.
That would cost over $400 for parts and labor (based on a 2018 cost estimate for a Dodge Caravan)
Hopefully, you'll never actually need it but you would thank your lucky stars if you did.
Porch handrails are much the same
in that an investment of less than the cost of a seat belt, you can not only prevent injury but expensive medical bills as well.
Remember, it only takes a slip on one step to fall.
Iron X Handrail Arch - (Amazon affiliate link)
Some of our readers have purchased these DIY kits to install on their porches, stoops, or decks.
Perfect for those who want to save on installation fees, these aluminum railings are suitable for one to five steps.
No need to cut, weld, or bend, as these metal porch hand rails move to fit almost any slope making them a breeze to install.
You can install them on concrete or wood too making them ideal for decks.
See How Easy They Are to Assemble
Watch this short video to see how the handrails are assembled
Iron X Handrail Arch #4 Fits 4 or 5 Steps - (Amazon affiliate link)
Easy Installation Too - You Can Do It!
The slope is adjustable from 0 to 38 degrees and InstantRails are designed to fit the rise of most steps.
Kits normally include all necessary assembly and installation hardware.
Installation is simple using fasteners provided or purchase anchor screws separately.
A hammer drill is recommended to drill holes in concrete which can be purchased or rented at your local home supply store.
Install using GRK fasteners usually provided with kit
Or, if you prefer, you can acquire the services of a reputable contractor or handy-person to install the railings.
You an locate a contractor in your area here
Creative way to add safety in long step runs like the one shown below and are perfect for especially those who live where ice and snow are prevalent.
DIY Iron X Handrail Picket - (Amazon affiliate link)
What About PVC or Vinyl Hand Rails?
Custom stair railings by The Porch Company
If you want low maintenance and durability consider PVC or vinyl hand rail systems.
They are also very popular and fairly easy to install.
Most PVC railing systems have wood or metal inserts.
Vinyl railings usually do not.
Most kits come with everything you need, top and bottom rails, pickets, and mounting brackets.
Often times they are pre cut to save time and for easier installation.
They advertise their kits are designed for standard sized steps (7" to 11" rise to run) and include adjustable
step adapters which are used to adjust for various angles.
Custom vinyl step and porch railings by The Porch Company
How a Middle Porch Hand Rail Can Help
Beautiful Cape May porch before the middle handrail was added
This beautiful porch in Cape May, New Jersey has wide porch steps and the homeowners like to decorate with seasonal potted flowers.
But they told us that it was difficult for their neighbors to navigate the steps.
So they decided to add a middle handrail.
After the middle handrail was installed
The homeowners hired a carpenter and asked that he make the middle handrail look as it if belonged there.
What a wonderful job he did.
Do you agree that it looks like it's always been a part of these porch steps?
And what a help for visitors.
Now the plants can be kept on the steps and guests can safely navigate too.
Another view of the middle handrail
To give you a view of the steps straight on - looks absolutely perfect.
We thank John and his wife for sharing their photos and story with us.
Another example of a wonderful handrail in the middle of the porch steps
Composite Hand Rails
Composites are another option you might want to consider.
Composite materials last longer than wood and are maintenance free.
They have the look and feel of wood, never need painting, and are resistant to fading.
Learn more about composite step and porch railings at Vintage Woodworks
Wood square balusters make up this front porch step railings
Note: Local building codes dictate minimum spacing between pickets
Still the most popular front porch and deck hand rail system, wood can be as simple or as ornate as you would like.
I've constructed several wood hand rails and can attest the trickiest part is finding the correct angle for cuts.
Once that's done, assembly is fairly easy given you can use prefabricated wooden top and bottom rails (available at home supply stores).
Pickets fit into pre-cut holes making it a simple job.
Wrought Iron Hand Rails
Wrought iron railings add sophistication and unique element of design.
Although there aren't too many true wrought iron railings (most are made from other metals), wrought iron does add an element of elegance to a home.
This unique material can be made into almost any design, from the very simple to the most ornate.
Outdoor Hand Rails: Do Yours Meet General Code Requirements?
Many hand rail systems, some pre-assembled, are designed to ensure these requirements are met.
Choosing the right system can make building your porch hand rails easy and save you money as well.
It is imperative you check with your local building codes department to obtain the specific requirements for hand rails in your community before you build.
Please do that.
Here's a list of general building codes you can use to check with your local codes department.
Please check with your local building codes department to obtain specific requirements for your area.
Round hand rails must have a minimum width of 1 1/4 and a maximum of 2 inches in diameter.
Rectangular shaped handrails must measure between 4 inches and 6.25 inches.
Oblong handrails must measure no more than 2 1/4 inches across the widest part of the rail.
Must be able to bear at least 200 pounds of weight.
This applies to your entire railing system to include the stair hand rails.
Must be at least 30 inches but not more than 37 inches to the top of the hand rail as measured from vertically from the nose(front)of the stair tread.
NOTE: In Nashville, TN., the building code is a "grip able" handrail that is not less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches.
Stairways with four or more risers or stairs that rise more than 30 inches in height must have at least one handrail.
We recommend you install hand rails no matter how many steps you have.
A minimum of 1.5 inches is usually required between the handrail and another object like a post or wall.
Handrails should be continuous for the full length of the stairs.
Stair stringers must be secured at the landing.
Video: Dave Explains Why Handrails Are Important