Most locales have strict building codes that require protective barriers around stairways, decks and other exposed foot traffic areas. Codes establish construction guidelines by taking into account local climate and environmental conditions. Building codes are particularly strict with respect to the size of the openings in elevated deck railings, often limiting them to 4 inches or less. Galvanized metal panels can be a good solution in railing applications. They are durable, strong and able to deliver a much greater fraction of open mesh, preserving views.
New Looks for Galvanized Fencing Materials
Not all galvanized panel materials have the surface appearance of garden pails or hot dipped nails. Recent strides in electroplating technology have made it possible for galvanized products to have smooth finishes. Preformed galvanized fencing and railing components can optionally be painted or powder-coated, giving them a more finished sophisticated look. They can also be installed by wiring clinching panels to a pipe framework, welding standoff tabs to structural railing members, or by the use of modular connecting hardware.
Retro Fitting Existing Systems for Building Code Compliance
Several manufacturers market modular galvanized panel systems intended for use in remediation of existing non-compliant deck railings and stair enclosures. The panels can be used in addition to or as a replacement for existing railing elements, to get opening sizes down to an acceptable dimension and to add side load-bearing strength to lightweight construction. Since retrofit panels are available in a variety of colors, styles and geometries, they can often be added in a way that is either inconspicuous or even aesthetically appealing.
Retrofitting for Security
Galvanized panels make good security enclosures because they are hard to cut through and come in mesh configurations that are difficult to climb. Galvanized panel security fencing is a good choice in visible areas; while effective at repelling intruders, it also presents a neat, tidy appearance. A variety of installation and assembly options make it possible to create security barriers that give the appearance of ordinary railings.
Using Galvanized Panel to Create Safety Railings That Preserve Views
Because galvanized panels are strong for their weight, they are often the best choice for foot-traffic areas where there is a great deal of exposure or long drops. These potentially dangerous spots are often, paradoxically, the places where a home or business structure offers the best views. Galvanized panels made from square-mesh designs offer the greatest strength to visibility ratio of any material except plate glass, and at a fraction of the material cost.
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