Guardrails, Handrails & Parapets – What Are They, & Why Are They Essential For Residential Use

Guardrails, Handrails & Parapets – What Are They, & Why Are They Essential For Residential Use

There’s a lot that goes into keeping your home safe – from securing the doors and windows to having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. One way to add an extra layer of security is to install guardrails, handrails, or parapets.

If you have young enthusiasts who like to explore or are worried about someone falling off your balcony, you realize the importance of securing the high places in your home. So, which of the three options should you go for?

What is a Guardrail?

A guardrail aims to keep people or objects from straying into dangerous areas. You can locate guardrails along the edges of balconies, rooftops, bridges, and other elevated walkways. You can use wood, metal, glass, or concrete to construct a guardrail.

An important thing to remember about guardrails is that one should not climb them. That’s not what they are for. They are there to provide a barrier between the person and the edge. If someone does try to climb on them, they could easily break or topple over, which would defeat the purpose of having a guardrail in the first place.

What is a Handrail?

Handrails are rails on which people may steady themselves when walking up or down a stairwell by grasping them with their hands. Handrails are also commonly found along walkways, ramps, and other areas with a risk of falling.

Handrails are sturdier than guardrails and can support a person’s weight. You can choose metal or wood as materials for your railing. A handrail must be between 1-¼ and 2-inch in diameter. If they fulfill the ADA’s graspability criteria, non-round shapes are acceptable.

What Is a Parapet?

A parapet is a low protective wall built along the edge of a roof, balcony, or other raised structure. Brick, stone, and concrete are common materials in parapet making. You can spot a parapet on top of buildings and walls.

Initially, the purpose of parapets was to protect against bad weather and enemy attacks. But today, they are primarily used for decorative purposes or to provide additional safety measures. For example, parapets can help prevent people from falling off a raised structure.

Which One Is Best For Residential Use?

All three types of railings can are valid for residential purposes. However, guardrails are the most common type of railing used in homes. It is because building codes require guardrails in many areas.

Handrails and parapets are not as standard, but you can still choose to use them.

If you are looking for a railing to install in your home, guardrails are the best option. They are practical and meet most building codes. However, handrails and parapets are good if you want a railing for decorative purposes. These railings can add character to your home.


You must ensure adequate installation no matter which type of railing you choose. Improperly installed railings can be dangerous.

Florida Roadway Guardrails & Signs, Inc., in Clewiston, offers handrail installation services.

We keep in mind both the safety of our customers and the aesthetic appeal of the railings when we install them. We also provide handrail maintenance services.

Contact us today for a free quote!