Four things to consider when buying metal railings

Metal railing is the strongest type of boundary fencing you can purchase. It is a good deterrent to prevent  people from entering your property or sitting on your boundary wall. With many different styles available it can add a decorative finishing touch so your home, whilst being more secure, does not look like a fortress. In addition, metal railing does not require as much maintenance as wooden fencing. This gives you more free time to consider other aspects of your property and its security. 

Before you buy metal railing for your property, you need to make certain considerations. Below are the top four things to consider when buying metal railings.

1) Function

What is the purpose of your railing?  This may seem like a very basic question but take a moment to think about the different functions of railings:

  • To mark and separate the boundary of your property from neighbouring properties and/or the street
  • To stop people from sitting on your wall
  • As a barrier to stop people from taking short cuts across your land
  • As a safety barrier such as around the perimeter of a raised terrace
  • As a means of support on a slope or steps
  • To stop people from trespassing 
  • Purely decorative

The railing used as a safety barrier around a raised area such as a balcony must be 1100mm high to comply with Building Regulations. However, railing used to stop people from sitting on a low wall can be any height to suit the wall. Furthermore, it can be topped with pointed finials as an additional deterrent. Balcony railing and railings for slopes and steps are usually finished with a flat or D shaped top and have no finials. So, deciding the function of your railings will determine the styles you can choose from.

2) Style

The style of railings can dramatically alter the overall appearance of a building. With the choice of so many designs at your disposal, it can be difficult to know where to start. Do you need something to give you support on steps or a slope at the front of your property or in the garden?  A handrail will help with this. It needs to be a suitable height and can be attractive as well as functional. Or, you may want railings for the front of your house, for instance around your front garden or on top of a wall. Here, you can really go to town and have a style with finials such as ball tops or the ever-popular Fleur de Lys. It’s also worth considering the gauge of the materials used for the railings. Standard 12mm vertical bars can look elegant whilst upgrading to 16mm or 20mm will give a more substantial and luxurious appearance. For a touch of modernity more and more homeowners are opting for contemporary colours such as graphite or slate grey. These colours can put a fresh twist on even the most conventional style of railings. If you prefer traditional styling in keeping with your period property we would advise you to choose black for a timeless look. 

3) Dimensions – height and width 

The height and width (or length) of your railings is important as these factors will influence the price as well as the look you are trying to achieve. For example, if you have brick pillars, do you want the top of the railings to sit level with the pillar tops or capping stones, or do you want them to finish just below? The same style of railing can look quite different according to their height and where they finish at the top. As for the width, if you have a wide unbroken space, it is highly likely that your railing will need to be split into panels which are then joined with intermediate posts. In this scenario, it is so important to ensure the panels are of equal size to give symmetry.  If they are not, the resulting layout will look unbalanced and clumsy. This is where buying made to measure railings pays dividends. You can specify the exact height and width you need to fill the space available which will give far better results than buying off the shelf sizes and altering them to fit.

4) Finish – protective coating

The type of finish you choose will influence the price and the extent of maintenance required to keep your railings looking their best. There are various finishes available on the market.  We offer a range of finishes to suit all budgets and each is described fully on our website. This enables potential customers to make like for like comparisons when shopping around. It is important to note that there are various types of galvanizing so make sure you know the difference between them. Galvanizing is a coating that will protect your gates from rusting.  The cheaper galvanizing is sprayed on and will degrade after 10 years or less. We only offer hot dip galvanizing as opposed to the spray-on type, because greater durability is guaranteed. This method involves total immersion of the railings in a vat of molten zinc so every part is covered and provides rustproof protection for 50+ years. Furthermore, our galvanizing complies with British Standards BS EN ISO 1461.  The natural colour of galvanizing has a bright silver appearance.

Paint provides the finished colour for your railing. As with galvanizing it is important to understand the difference between the various types and methods of application.  Some suppliers use tins of spray paint designed for metal railings but this is not as durable as dry powder coating. The latter is applied electrostatically then cured by baking in a high-temperature oven. This process provides a much thicker coating than any other method of painting. With an average thickness of 80 microns, our powder coating exceeds the industry standard of 60 microns and complies with British Standards BS EN ISO 13438. How about taking some time to think about the colour too? Remember that you are not restricted to black if you opt for powder coating. If a bit of colour takes your fancy, whether bold or subtle, we would highly recommend ordering a RAL chart to get a true likeness of the many options available. 

Finally, if you want to ensure that you’re getting high-quality railings, you need to find a reputable company. Gates Railings Direct is one of the most reputable railing manufacturers that sell directly to the public. With a trading history dating back to 1946, you can buy with confidence from a trustworthy company. Read their testimonials and see for yourself then try them out.

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