Handrails: The Ultimate Guide

Posted: 15 Sep 22

Handrails are predominantly fixed to either walls,floors or posts to create support or stability on stairways, walkways, balconies, decks, steep paths and other manufacturing or construction uses such as safety steps. Here at SPD, we supply handrails of many different varieties, choosing which one is best for you can be tricky but this blog will help you understand the advantages of each type and what settings they work best in.

A safety handrail in a manufacturing plant

Handrail Standards  

At SPD, we offer a wide range of mild-steel handrail standards and brackets to suit different applications. The mild- steel creates a durable material that holds firm and can withstand a heavy weight once pressed upon it. Steel is one of the most robust materials you can use as wood may break and other materials may bend. This makes it perfect for use in construction sectors such as bridge railings and manufacturing barriers. Handrail standards can also be used cost effectively in lerisure and public areas of high footfall that require a stury barrier system.  

Example shown is from a manufacturing setting where standards are combined with tube and a return bend to create a stair structure. 


GRP Modular Handrail

GRP Handrail stands for glass reinforced plastic handrail. It can also be known as fibreglass, composite plastic or FRP (fiberglass-reinforced plastic). GRP products are made from glass fibre reinforced polymers, or an easier term, strands of glass fibres. These fibres are woven together to create a strong plastic fabric. GRP Modular Handrails work in the same way as a clamp and rail system using GRP Clamps with bolts to secrue GRP rails. 

GRP is warmers to the touch than steel making it ideal to use as support at the side of steps, stairs, walkways and more. Our GRP handrails are made from non-conductive materials which mean it is a safe option for use on electric sites as the material will be unaffected by electromagnetic fields.

a GRP Modular Handrail

GRP handrails are also perfect for use in water or offshore environments as they are a non-corrosion material and take very little maintenance. This also makes them ideal in harsher environments such as railway stations or airports where wear and tear may be more common.

a DDA handrail

DDA Handrail

Our DDA range (Disabled Discrimination Act) is designed to specifically meet the requirements of Part ‘M’ of the Buildings Regulations 2004.

Our DDA handrails are designed to help accommodate those in a wheelchair or those who need an easy and safe access. Guidance for installing Handrails in line with the Disabled Discrimination act is below:

DDA Handrail Height

Handrails must be between 900mm and 1.1m in height and should extend the width of one stair tread and then level out for at least 300mm.

Consideration should also be given to children or those who are short of stature through the provision of a second, lower handrail set at 600mm.

DDA Handrail Design

In addition to the above requirements, handrails should also:

  • have a continuous smooth surface and not be cold to touch
  • be circular or oval for ease of grip. Ideally circular handrails should have a diameter of between 40 and 45mm while oval ones should have a width of 50mm
  • they should contrast visually with surroundings without being highly reflective
  • terminate the handrail  in a way which reduces the risk of clothing being caught

Our DDA handrails are excellent to use in areas that need disabled friendly spaces such as school buildings, hospital entrances and train stations.

Consideration should also be given to children or those who are short of stature through the provision of a second, lower handrail set at 600mm.

Tubeclamps Handrail

The 4th type of handrail we sell is handrail made from our Tubeclamps. Tubeclamps are easy to use and offer huge flexibility. Structures are easy to erect, no special tools are required, no onsite welding is needed and the range we offer copes with even the most difficult changes in direction and gradient. They can be designed to fit any type of railing.

Our Tubeclamps are made of metal that offers superior flexibility which can make it more suitable to your design. This makes it perfect for the more complex projects that may require more bening such as display systems, retail displays, children’s playgrounds and sports facilities like football nets an cricket practice nets.

If you need more inspiration for your tubeclamp project, see our Tubeclamps: Your DIY Guide to Home Improvement article.

a tubeclamp handrail on a outside staircase