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What comes to mind when you hear nylon handrail? Something a little like one of these pictures below?



We’ve all seen these monstrosities being ripped from buildings during a refurbishment. Fortunately, nylon handrails have taken a step into the 21st century and these garish horrors are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Laidlaw are seeing more and more customers opting for nylon systems, whether that be a full nylon polyamide system or a combi system utilising all of the useful properties of nylon. There still looks to be a place for nylon in the balustrades industry.

We are confident that the reason Laidlaw’s nylon line is still a key contender is because of its compliance with Building Regulations.

So what do the building regulations say about handrails?

Building Regulations – Approved Document K states handrails must follow specific conditions for buildings other than dwellings:

  1. Ensure that the handrail will contrast visually with the background against which it is seen, without being highly reflective.
  2. Use a surface for the handrail that is slip-resistant.
  3. In locations subject to extremely cold or hot temperatures, does not become excessively cold or hot to touch.
  4. Finish the end of the handrail in a way that reduces the risk of clothing being caught.
  5. Circular handrail must be between 32mm and 50mm in diameter.

The Laidlaw nylon range offered hits all of these points and more.

Contrasting handrail without being deemed highly reflective

The Laidlaw polyamide nylon range comes in 12 colours including a mixture of high light reflectance values (LRV) colours and dark low LRV colours that can be chosen according to the background against which the handrail is to be fitted.


Slip-resistant surface

The polyamide nylon texture is completely slip resistant.

Not excessively hot or cold to the touch

The polyamide nylon material has a low thermal conductivity and is therefore not cold to the touch which makes the material ideally suited to external use where handrails are a key safety feature on stairs and ramps.

The nylon material will also not heat up as fast or maintain the same amount of heat as a metal handrail. We’ve even got some scientific calculations to prove its heat conduction to you.

The head abstraction Q is dependent on the coefficient of heat conduction λ, the area of contact A and the temperature drop dT/dx

Q = -λ AdT/dx


Polyamide (nylon) λ=0.22 W/(mK)
Stainless steel λ=15 W/(mK)
Mild steel λ=67 W/(mK)
Aluminum λ=209 W/(mK)


This shows that polyamide protects: 68 times better than stainless steel
305 times better than mild steel
950 times better than aluminum


The end of the handrail should reduce the risk of clothing being caught

Amongst other options, the Nylon range fully returns to walls and floors with smooth curves and radiused bends, completely avoiding the issue of clothing being caught or snagged.

Circular handrail must be between 32mm and 50mm in diameter

This one goes without saying, the nylon range comes within the dimensional requirements.

In addition

The polyamide nylon handrails are extremely low maintenance with high durability as they are fracture resistant with a fully galvanised tubular steel core with a solid nylon sleeve 40 mm diameter with a 4mm coloured wall thickness. These handrails are designed to be long-lasting, they won’t damage easily or fade as other painted handrails do.

Along with a non-porous surface, the polyamide nylon is physiologically harmless (inert to bacteria) which complies with requirements of food law in Europe making it ideal for use in schools, hospitals, public areas.

They are wipe clean and anti-static which ensures no dust or dirt is attracted to it, therefore ensuring they are low maintenance.

So now we know that the polyamide nylon range is completely compliant and has all the substance, what about style?

Have you been watching ‘Educating Great Manchester’ filmed at Harrop Fold School? We installed the balustrade and handrail systems at the school over five years ago. This project is testament to the longevity of these nylon systems, set in a challenging environment, they still looked fresh for filming. Harrop Fold opted for sleek dark grey nylon top rail to contrast against the painted walls with perforated metal infill panels which could withstand the high traffic through these areas.


RSPCA – Style and Substance

We recently worked with the RSPCA to create a stylish but practical solution for their outdoor area.

Laidlaw combined the structural stability of stainless steel uprights with metal infill panels, both weather resistant and practical for the situation they were placed in. Laidlaw put forward a sleek grey nylon top rail rather than following through with the steel, the nylon wouldn’t be cold to the touch and would encourage more people to use the handrail as designed thus hopefully avoiding accidents.

In this surrounding, the nylon blended in with the other materials and ensured the RSPC achieved style and substance.


RSPCA (12)
RSPCA (34)

If you’re not sure how to use nylon within your design but can see the benefits, please get in contact as one of our Balustrades will be more than happy to help you find a solution.

Find out more information about our balustrades from here

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