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    Table of Contents

    A railing is defined as a barrier made of metal or wooden bars attached to metal or a wooden post for support. These are used to construct handrails for staircases, balcony barriers, terrace barriers, etc. While many materials can be used to construct railing systems, most architects prefer steel. Steel railing is superior compared to all other materials used for railings in terms of aesthetics, functional performance and value.

    Steel railing designs are numerous, they can look sleek and modern or formal and traditional. Since steel is durable a steel railing system can last decades with the right maintenance. This translates to low costs and less replacement worries for the owner.

    Types of steel railing

    Depending on the types of steel used for making the railing, steel railings are classified into two types:

    • Stainless steel railing

    Railings made of stainless steel find popular use in indoor or protected railings. These railings are resistant to rust and corrosion. Along with the 10.5% chromium content in stainless steel, there are also other additives which make the material stronger and more resistant to higher temperatures.

    For homes and commercial spaces, stainless steel handrails contribute to a sleek and modern look. These handrails can also be used with railings made of other materials, like glass, to create a modern design. It can be easily cleaned with soap and water to increase its lifespan.

    • Carbon steel railing

    Carbon steel railings are less expensive compared to stainless steel railings. They are strong and durable and best used for indoor railings where there is minimal exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Occasionally painting a carbon steel railing can increase its lifespan.

    Carbon steel’s low resistance to corrosion makes a protective coating necessary to make it last longer. Even though this is a low-cost option, this requires regular paint jobs for durability.

    Applications of steel railing

    Given below are the applications of steel railings:

    • Terrace barricade
    • Stair balusters
    • Balcony railings
    • Spiral staircase railing

    Advantages and disadvantages of steel railings

    Given below are the pros of building railings with steel:


    • Steel is extremely strong and durable, making it one of the best materials to use for handrails and railings.
    • Steel is a weather resistant material and therefore a steel railing can be used indoors and outdoors.
    • Steel railings can be coated with powder coatings and liquid paints and steel primers to improve durability.
    • Stainless steel and galvanised steel railings feature easy maintenance and can be cleaned with a sponge and mild detergent. 


    • Steel railing can buckle and weaken if exposed to extreme heat
    • Steel handrails and railings can be more expensive than other materials
    • Steel is heavy and is therefore difficult to install. It requires special equipment to be converted into a railing which then has to be transported and installed.

    Handrail vs railing

    A handrail, also called a banister, is the part of a staircase that people hold for support when climbing up and down the stairs. The handrail system provides stability and acts as a continuous guide along the stairs.

    A handrail can be made of a variety of materials including stainless steel, wrought iron, carbon steel, wood, etc. It is supported by balusters or vertical posts that are erected on the open side of a staircase and is connected to two big balusters at both ends of the railing.

    A railing, on the other hand, is a barrier that is built to keep people falling off from the side of the stairs. Railing is made of multiple balusters where each baluster is fixed on each stair. A long handrail is fixed on top of these balusters connecting each of them to the big balusters positioned at both ends of the stairs.

    These days interior steel stair railing is made of stainless steel and glass to give it a contemporary style. There are a wide variety of modern steel railing designs that architects use for constructing steel stair railing.

    Stainless steel railings are the most popular form of railings used for residential and commercial purposes. Not only is it appealing in terms of appearance, but it is also long-lasting and requires less maintenance. Because of its chromium content, stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and adding other elements can enhance its physical properties. Although stainless steel railings are more expensive than steel railings, they are cost effective for long term use.

    Also read: Steel round bar: Types, advantages and uses


    1. What is the best steel to make railings?
      According to several experts 304-grade stainless steel is the best steel to make railings as it is rust resistant and features a shiny look adding to aesthetic value.
    2. What is the difference between iron and steel railings?
      Steel railings are better than iron railings because of the rusts resistance. Iron can succumb to rust much faster that steel. The former needs regular paints jobs which makes it costly to maintain. Steel is also stronger than iron and feature more tensile strength.

    Priyanka Babu

    Priyanka is a seasoned content marketing professional with 6 years of experience crafting various forms of business and technology sector content. Her insightful writing tackles critical issues faced by small-scale manufacturing businesses. Swati’s clear and concise communication empowers businesses to make informed decisions and thrive in today’s dynamic business environment.