Installing a decking or terrace area on your property can be a great way to enjoy your outside space, create a versatile area for your family or entertaining, and even increase the value of the property.
Raised decking and terraces can be an excellent investment, but safety should be paramount during installation and with the finished product.
In the UK, commercial or residential decking over 600 mm in height must have a handrail installed for safety reasons. The handrail must be a minimum of 1,100 mm in height over the decking board.
Handrails are also required for steps leading from decking or terraces, so it is important you check your plans with your local planning authority before starting work.
This article will look at how composite balustrades are used and their benefits, helping you decide on the perfect decking and terrace additions for your home.
What is a Balustrade?
A balustrade is an upright column that forms a supporting structure for handrails. They work in a similar way that fenceposts do in garden fencing
Balustrades are available in a variety of materials, styles, and colours and provide a necessary role in providing safety and security on decking and terracing.
Balustrades are also used to provide a safe and secure handrail system for external stairs and steps leading from terraces and decking areas.
How are Balustrades Used?
The most significant use of balustrades is supportive boundaries that prevent falls and provide security and support to handrails along the edges of decking, terraces, and stairs.
Balustrades can be an optional extra for home improvements, and in other cases, the railing will be a necessary safety requirement that is enforced by building rules and regulations.
Installing balustrades can offer property owners a variety of benefits which makes them a worthwhile investment.
Composite balustrades, in particular, are an excellent choice for use in the UK, as you will see from the benefits listed below.
Benefits of Composite Balustrades
Investing in decking or terracing can be expensive, and many people might look at ways to reduce costs.
The costs of materials and additional fixtures and fittings can often be overlooked, but investing in high-quality products throughout the project will guarantee a longer-lasting decking system.
The benefits of composite balustrades include:
One of the main reasons balustrades are installed is as a safety measure. If a decking area is built on a slope, there may be a drop at the edge. Installing a handrail will be required to ensure the decking is safe.
Roof terraces will need safety handrails, and balustrades are an excellent way to ensure they are secure.
You should not have to pick between a deck that is safe and a deck that looks great. Ecoscape offers an extensive range of styles and colours for consumers to choose from that perfectly complement composite decking and other external features.
You will be able to choose between a full composite system or glass and wire combinations to get the perfect style for your home.
Ecoscape offers a selection of colours to suit a variety of outdoor colour schemes, including Ash, Autumn, Walnut, Charcoal, and Graphite.
When selecting your decking or balustrade material, the budget may be a big factor. Traditional timber decking and balustrades are a cost-effective way to upgrade an outdoor area, but they will need significant maintenance.
Timber decking and balustrades require treatments to protect them from the UK weather, as well as pests like wood-boring insects. You will also have to paint it regularly to ensure it looks great.
Even with regular maintenance, which is time-consuming and costly, timber materials can warp, split, and rot.
Composite is an excellent alternative that has natural weatherproofing, doesn’t need paint, and will not suffer from woodworm or other pests.
Composite decking does not need to be painted or treated, and cleaning is easy, with warm soapy water typically doing the job.
Ecoscape’s Clarity composite balustrades come with a 20-year warranty. This offers a great deal of security to property owners that want to make sure their investment will last.
There are warranty terms and conditions that dictate how the balustrades must be installed and cleaned, and these are in place to ensure the products you buy from Ecoscape perform to the high standards they are designed to meet and last for as long as possible.
Properly installing your decking and balustrades is essential to guarantee you enjoy the best performance from them.
As with all of Ecoscape’s high-quality composite range, installation is relatively straightforward for professionals and those experienced enough to carry out a project like this successfully.
Ecoscape provides a full composite balustrade installation guide for you to follow to ensure the components are installed to a high standard.
Whether you are installing decking or terracing on a commercial or residential property, you might want to make the most of the views over your garden, a town, the countryside, or the sea.
Sometimes, safety railing can cause an obstruction that impairs the view and also blocks sunlight from getting onto the decking area.
One way around that is by investing in high-quality Ecoscape balustrade systems. You will be able to choose between an excellent range of products that includes composite spindles, glass, and wire.
The glass and wire options, in particular, minimise obstructions and give the decking area a more open feel with a more expansive view.
Ecoscape Composite Balustrade Details
Ecoscape Clarity composite balustrades are made using a synthetic WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) material.
The material is made from 55% reclaimed wood fibres that would otherwise have been wasted in landfills. The wood used is FSC-certified to ensure it is ethically and sustainably sourced.
They also use 45% recycled high-density polyethene. This minimises the production of new plastics and ensures Ecoscape provides one of the most environmentally friendly options when installing decking or terracing.
The five available balustrade colours match the Ecoscape Clarity composite decking range, allowing property owners to create a stylish decking area with matching balustrades.
The composite system balustrades measure 1,640 mm in width and 970 mm in height and weighs 25,8 kg per linear meter. The newel dimensions are 95 mm x 95 mm.
The composite glass system provides a glass width of 10 to 12 mm, handrail dimensions of 42.4 mm x 3,000 mm/6,000 mm, and newel dimensions of 95 mm x 95 mm. They have a weight of 36 kg per linear meter.
The composite wire systems come with 3 mm wire, 42.4 mm x 3,000 mm/6,000 mm handrails, and 95 mm x 95 mm newels. They have a weight of 19 kg per linear meter.
The low-maintenance, long-lasting option is ideal for anyone that wants to invest in a high-quality product but doesn’t want to spend time and money dealing with it every year.
To explore the excellent range of Ecoscape balustrades, product specifications, warranty details, and more, visit the dedicated Ecoscape balustrade page today.
Is composite the best material for balustrades?
Composite is an excellent choice for balustrades because it is such a long-lasting and durable material.
Ecoscape Clarity composite products are designed to resist scratches, scuffs, and UV weathering. You will not have to weatherproof the composite or worry about it rotting like timber.
You will be able to select from a range of colours and won’t need to paint your composite balustrades to keep them looking fresh, and its easy installation makes it a great material to work with.
Do all stairs need handrails?
Some stairs leading from decking or terracing will require handrails by law.
If the stairs are wider than one meter, you will have to install handrails on both sides of the stairs.
If the stairs are below one meter in width, a rail is only required on one side.
Domestic handrails will have to be set at 900 mm for stairs and decking areas, while commercial or public areas will have a minimum height of 900 mm for stairs and 1,100 for landings.
Balustrades must not have an opening that is big enough to allow a 100 mm sphere to pass through it.
Domestic stair railings should have a maximum pitch of 42°, compared to the 33° to 38° pitch advised for public stairs.
Domestic guard rails should have a weight resistance of 0.36 kN on stairs per meter and 0.74 kN for typical public stairs. Public stairs where crowding could be an issue will have a resistance of 1.5 kN.
Are composite balustrades expensive?
Composite products tend to be more expensive than timber alternatives, but when you weigh up the benefits, it can be a worthwhile investment and a cost-effective long-term solution.
The price of Ecoscape’s composite balustrade range varies depending on the style you are looking for, with the composite system being the cheapest at £77.60 per square meter, the composite and wire system costing £99.50 per square meter, and the composite and glass system costing £128 per square meter.
The overall cost of the project will depend on the balustrade system you select and the size of the decking, terracing, or balcony systems you are installing.
Investing in high-quality materials when upgrading your outdoor space will not only impact the appearance but will also determine how long your decking area and guard rails last.
How long does composite railing last?
Ecoscape composite balustrades warranties last for 20 years, and this gives you an idea of how long your decking fixtures should last.
That being said, there is no reason why you can’t make your decking last even longer by maintaining and cleaning it regularly.
On the other hand, poorly cared-for composite products might not last as long as this. The correct installation process must be followed, and the accessories provided by the supplier will also need to be used.
Failure to properly install the composite balustrade and your decking area will compromise the quality and performance of the products. The accessories provided are designed specifically for the materials you are using.
Is a composite glass balustrade safe for domestic and commercial applications?
Composite glass balustrade systems will be safe for domestic and commercial applications as long as they are installed to the supplier’s specifications.
Ecoscape only uses the highest quality materials, and the composite and glass system is no different.
Glass is a great way to ensure pets and children can’t attempt to squeeze through spindles and allows plenty of light onto the decking area. If you have a garden or view that you don’t want to be obstructed from the decking area, a composite and glass system is the ideal solution.
Composite balustrades are an excellent option for decking, terraces, and balcony systems. They offer a stylish and reliable way to increase the safety of your outdoor space, especially if you plan to install a composite decking area.
The versatile material is available in a range of styles and colours, and each Ecoscape composite balustrade system is available in styles that match the decking, fencing, and cladding ranges.
A composite balustrade system is a low-maintenance way to protect your family, friend, and anyone using a public space if the decking system is raised or has stairs.
Ecoscape’s environmentally credentials provide a greener way of improving your home. You will be able to explore Ecoscape’s full range of products to create an environment that is perfect for entertaining or can provide a versatile outside space for your whole family to enjoy.