Aluminum is the Right Material for Lighter Weight Handrailings
Aluminum is often used when lighter weight railings are desired, such as for picket-type railings found in balconies. However, before deciding on an aluminum handrail, evaluate the structural capacity and select the proper alloys to match.
Aluminum components cannot be field welded to the structure, plus aluminum handrailings have less structural capacity than steel or stainless steel and therefore require additional supports, larger sections and mechanical connections to the structure. Despite capacity limitations, aluminum is popular when budget is a concern as it is cost effective compared to other handrailing materials.
Often times aluminum is used because it can be anodized. For commercial handrailings, Livers Bronze does not recommend anodizing since it can exhibit color variations between pieces and at all welded connections. If an anodized look is what you want, there are many coatings available on the market that give the color appearance of anodized materials. For example, powder-coating aluminum is a great alternative.