Stair Railings: Most Common Materials and Kinds Used in Today’s Creative World


A staircase serves more than just the functional purpose of facilitating movement between floors. It holds significant importance as an interior design element that deserves our complete consideration.

In this article, we will be talking about stair railings, specifically highlighting a few remarkable and inspiring makeover projects. These examples demonstrate the ease of transformation and the profound impact it can have on a home’s overall decor and ambiance.

Variety of Materials Used in Railings


As many of us have experienced, handrails and railings come in various types and can be constructed from a range of materials. Each type possesses its own advantages and disadvantages. Below are some of the most common materials used in stair railings.


Steel is often the preferred material for industrial staircases due to its association with durability and strength. It is also known for its high safety standards, making it an ideal choice for handrails and railings. Steel railings require minimal maintenance and are easy to clean. Furthermore, their ability to withstand various weather conditions makes them well-suited for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Some drawbacks of steel railings include their higher cost compared to more affordable materials like wood. Moreover, their increased weight can pose challenges for DIY installations.


If you want to install metal railings but find steel too rough-looking or heavy, aluminum is an excellent alternative. Aluminum handrails and railings are lightweight yet strong and durable, ensuring safety. They are also weather-resistant, making them suitable for outdoor applications.

Due to its lighter weight compared to steel, aluminum is better suited for DIY projects and easier to cut and install. However, it is more expensive than steel and prone to scratches and dents.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is renowned for its classic and elegant appearance, often seen in railing designs. It adds a sophisticated touch to staircases and works well for achieving a retro or even modern aesthetic. Like other metals, wrought iron is strong and durable but comes with a higher price tag.

The heaviness of wrought iron handrails and railings makes installation more challenging and increases overall costs. Unlike steel or aluminum, wrought iron requires more maintenance as it is susceptible to rust.


It’s impossible to discuss staircases without mentioning wood. It is a timeless and traditional material commonly used for stairs, posts, railings, and handrails due to its versatility. There is a wide range of wood types available, each with its own distinct characteristics.

Wood possesses a natural beauty that can effortlessly stand out. However, you have the option to stain or paint the railings to complement the staircase and the overall decor. Wood railings are affordable, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance. Nonetheless, in certain cases, wood can give off an outdated vibe.


Glass is one of the top choices for modern and contemporary railing designs. Despite how fragile it is, it possesses an unexpected level of durability. There are various glass options to choose from, including clear, tinted, frosted, or etched, providing ample design possibilities.

The main advantage of glass railings is their ability to provide a safety barrier without obstructing the view. They allow light to pass through, act as a wind barrier, and are versatile and easy to clean.

However, it’s important to note that glass is fragile and can be at risk of damage during transportation or installation, particularly in DIY projects.

Most Common Types of Railings


Picket Stair Railings

These are the most prevalent type of railings found in residences, commercial areas, offices, and more. They offer versatility, easy installation, and overall affordability. However, their main drawback is their bland and dated appearance.

Multi-line Stair Railings

Consisting of multiple horizontal rods connecting the railing posts, these railings come in various materials, sizes, and styles. They boast a clean, simple, and timeless look. However, they may not be as secure as other types, as children can easily climb them.

Cable Stair Railings

Instead of traditional pickets or panels, these railings feature horizontal or vertical metal cables, serving as a barrier or railing. They can be paired with different handrails and posts, offering versatility, durability, and minimal maintenance. Additionally, they provide an unobstructed view. Nevertheless, cable stair railings tend to be expensive and require professional installation.

Wire Mesh Railings

Comprising panels of wire mesh welded onto a solid frame, these railings can be crafted from various metals, with customizable sizes and shapes. They offer excellent safety, durability, ventilation, and visibility. The main disadvantage lies in the potential cost increase for custom-made panels.

Panel Railings

Similar to wire mesh railings but available in a range of materials, including glass panels, panel railings are safe, easy to maintain, and allow for personalized staircase designs. However, they may be slightly more expensive compared to other railing types.



In conclusion, when it comes to stair railings, there is a wide array of options to choose from, each with its own advantages and considerations. From the classic and versatile appeal of wood to the sleek and modern aesthetic of glass, and the durability of metals like steel, aluminum, and wrought iron, there are unique metal railing solutions that can transform the look and feel of any staircase.

Whether you prioritize safety, style, affordability, or ease of installation, understanding the characteristics of different railing materials can help you make an informed decision. Consider the overall design of your space, the level of maintenance you’re willing to undertake, and the specific requirements of your staircase.

By carefully selecting the right railing material, you can enhance the interior design, add a touch of elegance, and ensure a safe and functional staircase for years to come. Explore the possibilities and find the perfect railing solution that suits your personal taste and complements your home’s decor.

Written by Rebecca Eulikk