Helpful Definition for: Railings
Railings, also known as balustrades, are structures made of a rail supported by upright posts (balusters) designed either to provide support, such as the handrails for staircases (commonly called bannisters), or to serve as barriers around the open sides of patios, decks, porches, balconies, etc. Railings can be constructed of a large variety of materials and may range from starkly utilitarian to incredibly ornate, depending upon the particular railing's application and the purchaser's tastes and budget. Interior railings may be made of hardwoods including oak, maple, hemlock and poplar, or metals such as wrought iron, cast iron, aluminum, brass and bronze, and often feature custom ornamental elements like scroll work or intricately-designed panels and newel posts. Exterior railings, commonly used for residential porches, decks and patios, may also be wood or metal, but often are constructed of lower-maintenance materials such as vinyl and composites, some of which may include recycled components. These railings can also be customized to the purchaser's specifications. Note that exterior railings are often regulated by local building codes.