If you need railings for your home, you must make a number of decisions. You must consider what style would look best on your home. You must choose a color that complements or contrasts the house paint. You will also have to decide between aluminum vs. iron, which are actually steel, rails. Both of these materials are commonly used to fabricate railings, and each has its advantages.
Advantages of Steel Railing
Today, what we call "wrought iron" or "iron" railings are actually steel. They were once made of iron, but improved processing produced the steel that is used in all types of railings today. Steel is very malleable, meaning it can be worked in many ways to produce the same look as the antiques railings seen on old buildings. Steel railings are strong, durable and will last for many years. Steel can be bent, cast and shaped into an infinite variety of designs that can allow homeowners to express their individuality and provide the perfect design for their homes. Steel holds paint well and can be finished in any color. The installation of steel railings is easy to do, and they will hold strongly and solidly for decades.
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Disadvantages of Steel Railings
Unfortunately, iron railings and today's steel railings, can rust. This occurs when moisture reacts chemically with the iron in the steel. It creates another compound called iron oxide, which is much weaker than the original material, according to ScienceBuddies. This can cause cracks, holes and crevices in the steel. If not repaired, the rust can continue throughout the material causing breakage. This chemical process accelerates in conditions like acid rain. Though manufacturers use a number of coatings to inhibit the rusting process, if these coating are damaged in any way, the material will begin to rust.
Advantages of Aluminum Railings
Aluminum is malleable like steel and can be worker into many different railing designs to suit any purpose. Aluminum has clean, sleak look that enhances the appearance of modern residential structures. It will not rust as steel does, which makes it a good choice for homes in moist environments. Aluminum railings can be powder coated in any number of modern colors. Aluminum is lighter in weight than iron, and so is easier to install in difficult areas.
Disadvantages of Aluminum Railings
Aluminum is not as strong as iron or steel, according to VikingFence&Deck. It will bend if a large amount of pressure is put on it. Though aluminum railings do not rust like iron, they can develop a slightly whitish coating in areas where moisture penetrates the coating.