need handrails

Many injure themselves by falling, tripping, slipping on wet surfaces, ascending, or descending stairs. In fact, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System suggests that over 25 million people (in only the US) were hospitalized due to stair-related injuries.

Stairs, though necessary for moving between levels, are dangerous; most people injure themselves due to insecure foot landing; the presence of handrails provides better stability while walking up and down the stairs. For timber stairs options, please visit Wilmaplex. Moreover, most of these injuries happen in homes due to the lack of handrails. Handrails are necessary on any stairs less than 1 meter wide to counter this problem.


Read on to discover why handrails matter and which types are the safest.

What is a handrail?

A handrail is an extended rail fixed to posts or a wall that people can hold for support and stability while ascending and descending the stairways. But their use is not limited to only stairs; they also come in handy when walking on slippery surfaces or other dangerous places where people might need support. If you want to see various design options available for handrails online, you may visit

But distinguish a handrail from a guardrail, as opposed to popular belief; they might serve a similar purpose but are two different things. A handrail, as mentioned, serves as support and provides stability that people can hold on to. In contrast, a guardrail, popularly known as a railing, acts as a protective layer on stairways or balconies to prevent people from falling down from sideways. Still, many a time, guardrails also incorporate features of the handrail on the stairways, and their upper section consists of a pinch grip instead of being decorative. However, a guardrail with a grasp doesn't meet ADA regulations as its grip is unstable and could be more helpful.

Types of grips on a handrail:

Power Grips on a handrail

Power grips are cylindrical handrails with a one to two inches diameter, allowing one to move their hands ideally onto them. These are usually much stronger than pinch grip and should be your preferred choice.

Pinch Grips on a handrail

Unlike the power grips, these allow one to hold onto it by pressing their thumb and fingers, like when you hold a carry bag. These provide little grip and usually incorporate onto a guardrail. Moreover, these grips do not meet building codes.

Which type of handrail should you install?

Most missteps and falls occur in homes. There is a higher chance of insecure foot landing in homes because of steeper steps and poor handrails design. So, of course, you should go for secure handrails rather than decorative ones.

Practical handrails comply with the building codes and should be your go-to choice. Functional handrails with a power grip with a diameter of two to three inches provide better stability while walking down or up the stairs; the maximum width allowed is four to six inches, as handrails bigger than that do not provide much grip. However, the decorative handrails might look attractive but serve no purpose. Some have a width greater than six inches leading to a weaker grasp, while some have a pinch grip which, as mentioned, does not only meet ADA guidelines but also does not have any purpose.

Moreover, you should also focus on your needs; for instance, if someone in the family has a mobility impairment, decorative ones will be a bad idea as they might trip and fall due to a loose grip.

Types of materials used in handrails

You will also have to choose the materials used for the handrail. Irrespective of your chosen material, a handrail will serve its purpose only if you prefer a fancy one that does not meet International Residental Codes. There are several materials to choose from; the ideal one depends on your need. For instance, choose a more challenging material to use in a public place. But a less durable one will do the job when it comes to employing it in the home. Here are some common materials used for making handrails; you can choose the perfect ones depending on the use, location, and decor.

Wooden Handrails

If you need a handrail that is an artistic component of the home, you should go for a wooden one. Available in various shapes and styles, they will integrate well into any home. However, remember that wooden handrails demand more preservation and require regular maintenance. These intervals become shorter if you incorporate them outside and leave them to the environment's vulnerabilities. Moreover, most wooden handrails need to comply with safety and focus more on being a decorative addition to the place. So, you should specifically focus on the safety features while choosing a wooden handrail. You can check timber handrails in Brisbane homes, where many homeowners have installed wooden handrails without compromising safety.


Stainless steel and aluminum are other popular choices for handrails. Not only are they durable, but also they are easy to clean. Plus, they do not require regular maintenance. Moreover, you will be wrong if you believe metal handrails cannot add aesthetics to a place.

Be it for any place— handrails do not only provide safety but also add architectural beauty. If you are concerned for the well-being of your loved ones, it's best to install a handrail.