Material choices for railings can range from wood or steel to iron, aluminum and other materials. However, aluminum has become one of the most popular materials for making railings in recent decades. In this article we’ll examine the qualities of aluminum by creating a list of the pros and cons of using aluminum railings in your construction project.
Aluminum is much lighter than most other materials, especially steel and iron. This makes aluminum easily portable, cheaper to ship and easier to work with. Its light weight also makes installation less difficult, especially on single person jobs.
Aluminum won’t rust and isn’t affected by most corrosive materials. It doesn’t need to be painted or treated although it typically comes with a powder coating finish. Railings made from aluminum will last for years with little maintenance beyond cleaning necessary.
Aluminum is a recyclable material. If you decide to replace or remove your aluminum railings, your conscience can rest easy knowing that they won’t end up in a landfill.
Aluminum is a much cheaper material than others such as steel, wood or iron. If cost is a major concern with your project, aluminum will probably be your best choice.
Although aluminum is quite strong and able to withstand considerable abuse, it’s not as strong or dense as steel. Aluminum can be dented quite easily whereas a material like steel is able to resist such damage much better.
Weight Bearing Limitations
Aluminum cannot support heavy loads as it’s prone to buckling when subjected to heavy pressure. For safety reasons, if using aluminum railings, it’s important to take into account the amount of weight they will need to support before installation.
Some people simply do not like the appearance of aluminum. If most of the surrounding structures are composed of wood or some other natural material, aluminum might not quite fit in stylewise.