Horizontal versus Vertical Balustrade
Stainless steel wire balustrade systems are a popular choice for staircases, balconies, and verandahs in contemporary homes across Australia and come in two main flavours: those with horizontal wires and those with vertical wires. In this article, we are going to take a look at the main differences between these two types of balustrade, to help you decide which one is the best choice for your home. In addition to your personal preferences, there are some design and practical considerations that need to be evaluated before you can make an informed decision.
Should You Go Vertical or Horizontal?
The first thing to bear in mind when you are deciding which option will be best for your home is that both vertical and horizontal wire systems will blend in well with modern interior décor themes so there is no need to worry that one is more on-trend than the other when you are making your choice. The materials and overall design of your new balustrade will play a big part in determining how visually appealing it is, not just the direction in which the wires are installed. Below, are some key factors for you to consider.
- Height Restrictions – If you are installing a balustrade at a height of more than 4 metres, you will have to use vertical wires as the Building Code of Australia (BCA) stipulates that such balustrades must not feature any horizontal climbing components. The BCA is produced and managed by the Australian Building Codes Board so if you want to check the latest revision, you can head over to their website at any time. It is a good idea to do so on a regular basis if you are responsible for installing such systems but if you are a homeowner who is only concerned with a single installation, this is something the contractors you hire will be able to handle.
- Maintenance – Whether you choose vertical or horizontal wires for your stainless steel balustrade system, you need to bear in mind that the BCA also stipulates a minimum tension for the wires. Any design constraints imposed by the interior layout of your home may therefore affect your choice but the main point to consider here is that people tend to lean against horizontal wires, stretching them over time. This means that, in general, systems with horizontal wires require more maintenance than those with vertical wires. Whether this is a major consideration for you will depend on how easy it is to access the balustrade once it has been installed.
- Cost – Although vertical wire balustrades may require less in the way of maintenance over the years, the extra fittings that are an inherent part of the design of such balustrades means that the initial installation cost is higher than it is for horizontal systems. If you are working with a strict budget or are simply keen to complete your home improvement project as inexpensively as possible, this cost factor could make horizontal wires a more appealing option. If cost is not a big factor your decision is more likely to be based on aesthetic considerations, in addition to the practical points already covered above.
- Aesthetics – As mentioned at the beginning of this article, both horizontal and vertical wire systems can look very stylish in a contemporary property with a modern interior design theme. However, there are a couple of points to consider as far as aesthetics are concerned that may influence your final decision. Firstly, some people simply find horizontal lines more pleasing than vertical ones, while others, who are keen to be seen to be different, may choose the vertical option on the basis that it is less commonly seen in Australian homes. Secondly, if you are having a balustrade installed in an interior balcony, horizontal wires will emphasise the length of the balcony whereas vertical wires will accentuate its height. Aesthetics are of course a personal matter as far as most people are concerned so this is one factor that you will probably have to evaluate without any outside help, unless you hire an interior design consultant whose opinion you trust.
In addition to evaluating all the factors concerning the design of stainless steel balustrades, you may also wish to consider whether a glass balustrade is a viable alternative for your home. If you have any questions about balustrades in general, please feel free to call and speak to us during business hours.