UK: Handrails: Handrail Manufacturers & Suppliers
Handrails are fitted up the sides of staircases, either fixed to the wall, or along the top of the balustrade. They may be in metal or wood. Modular metal balustrade systems are available. Made of stainless steel or aluminium, these can produce elegant modern handrails of contemporary design. Traditional wooden handrails can be made in continuous curved runs, terminating in caps, posts or curved volutes. External safety handrails can be fitted to steps and pathways outside the homes of elderly or disabled people. They are typically made of galvanized and painted steel. Leading UK suppliers of handrails are profiled below the panel of sponsored links.
Handrails may be fixed to wall beside a staircase, or may form part of a stair balustrade on the open side of a staircase. In both cases UK building regulations dictate the requirements for a handrail, and for the design of stair railings. Stairs less than one metre wide must have a handrail on at least one side. Stairs more than one metre wide must have a handrail on both sides. There is no need for handrails beside the lowest two steps of an internal staircase. However, handrails for external ramps and steps should extend at least 300mm beyond the beginning and end of the ramp or steps. In private dwellings, handrails must be at least 900mm high on landings as well as on staircases. In public buildings handrails must be at least 900mm high on staircases, and at least 1100 on landings. Further more stringent requirements apply to a handrail for external ramps and steps. It should contrast visually with the background against which it is seen, without being highly reflective; its surface should be slip resistant and not cold to the touch; it should terminate in a way that reduces the risk of clothing being caught; its profile should be either circular with a diameter of between 40mm and 45mm or oval preferably with a width of 50mm.
Metal, in the form of steel, stainless steel, aluminium, or wrought iron, is the most common material for external handrails. Special slip-resistant warm-to-the-touch coatings are available for external metal handrails. Another option is a 4mm thick PVC sleeve, which can be slid on over a galvanized steel tube.
Internal handrails are most commonly of timber, which should be good quality hardwood to avoid risk of splinters. Contemporary and traditional designs are available. Other options are stainless steel and aluminium. Internal handrails are often supplied as part of a balustrade system. This may be a traditional timber balustrade with vertical turned spindles, or a contemporary balustrade incorporating metal uprights or glass panels. UK Building Regulations require that the design of the balustrade should be such that a sphere of 100mm cannot pass through the openings.
LEADING HANDRAIL MANUFACTURERS & SUPPLIERS
The Handrail People: Safety Handrails. The founder of the Handrail People, which was started in 2005, was working for a local housing association and identified the need for the supply of simple and effective safety handrails for use by elderly people. The Handrail People supplies two main types of safety handrail: the tubular steel handrail and the cottage style handrail. The tubular steel handrail, which may be installed on the level or up a flight of steps, is made of formed steel tube, similar to a scaffold pole. This can then be painted in any colour of the customer's choice. The cottage style handrail is made from formed strip steel, with a slightly curved upper surface. The hand rail can finish in a decorative curl. It is fixed to the wall with a square plate welded to the handrail. More elaborate designs are also available. To satisfy building regulations requirements that safety handrails should be 'slip resistant and not cold to the touch', handrails can be supplied with a Plascoat covering; this provides a warm, non-slip touch.
Handrail Design: Modular Handrails. Handrail Design, based in Chatham, Kent, supplies a contemporary range of proprietary Icon handrail components. It is also exclusive UK distributor for the Danish d-line range of handrail components. The Icon Tube range is a modular handrail and balustrade system. It is manufactured from stainless steel or NyMet coated aluminium. Natural hardwood handrails can be used with both types of component. Balustrade guarding options include inline or offset glass, perforated steel panels, intermediate rails, and stainless steel tensioned wire ropes. The Icon Cube range pairs extruded aluminium flat bar uprights and braces these together by means of cubic components that interlock inside rebates within the inner faces of each baluster section. The cubes can slide vertically between the twin flats and can therefore be used as anchor points for handrails, infill panels, intermediate rails, or structural fixings.
Haldane: Wooden Handrails. Haldane, based in Glenrothes, Fife, specialises in the production of high quality custom-made wooden handrails. These include complex curved handrails, with decorative ends, for use in the restoration of historic buildings. Haldane prides itself on being able to create a continuously flowing handrail, which is not interrupted with mitred corners. Haldane argue that the stair handrail is one of the most important parts of the house, because it is touched by almost every visitor. The Haldane website contains a downloadable stair planner, which can be used to show the positions and numbers of stair treads, and the positions of newels, raking, and balustrading. Options for the handrail profile include: Flat Top, Eden, Clyde, Diameter, and Ellipse. The Eden and Clyde are both mushroom-type profiles. The hand rail can terminate in a Cap, a Post, or a curved Volute.
OTHER PRODUCTS RELATED TO HANDRAILS
Stair Product Guides: Baby Gates, Handrails, Spindles, Staircases, Stair Gates, Stairlifts, Stair Railings, Stairs.
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