Complete Handrail and Guardrail Guide

Complete Handrail and Guardrail Guide

 Our Guide to Metal Handrails and Guardrails


Download our full Handrail and Guardrail Guide by clicking HERE 


Fox Fabrication and Welding has been fabricating and installing custom metal handrails and guardrails for nearly a decade now. We get lots of questions about handrails vs guardrails, and the various types. In this article we will answer some of those questions. If you still have more, drop us an email and we will get back to you right away.

Guardrails | Wall-Mounted Handrails | Stair Railings

There are three main classes of residential steel railings that we fabricate and install. Guardrails are the rails that prevent people or things from falling off, such as those on balconies and porches. Wall-mounted handrails can be over stairs or not, and are exactly what they sound like. Stair railings are similar to guardrails but are angled to be used for safety railing on stair sets.

Metal Guardrails

Our premium metal guardrails are build for safety and beauty. Guardrails come in two standard heights, 36″ and 42.” These are often powder-coated black but can come in many other colors as well. There are many ways to customize metal guardrails, see below to learn more.

Wall-Mounted Handrails

Metal wall-mounted handrails are less expensive than guardrails and stair railings, as they require less materials. However they need to have an acceptable mounting location to be an option.

Stair Railings

Metal stair railings add safety and design elements to stairs. They are very similar in design to guardrails, but are an angle for safety when using stairs. They are typically 36″ or 42″ high or can come in custom heights. Interior and exterior steel handrails are common.

Guardrail and Handrail Customization Options

There are four main elements of metal handrails and guardrails that offer customization. These elements combined allow us to build the ideal custom metal railings for your project. Wall-mounted handrails have less elements so less options for customization.


Handrail baseplates are used to anchor the rails to the floor or wall. These can be circular, square, or other shapes and styles. Another option is core drilling, where the uprights are attached directly into the floor.

Top Rails

This is the main element of guardrails and handrails. It’s where people grab onto the railing. These can be square, circular, rectangular or custom shaped. Top rails can also be customized in a variety of shapes and styles.


The railings get their structural stability from the uprights. They also add style and can be customized based on design preferences. Typically they are square or circular and 36″ or 42″ tall.


The pickets are the infills that go from upright to upright. They can be square or circular or can have intricate customizations. Pickets can run either vertically or horizontally. From perforated to expanded to custom designer metals, the pickets are one of the most versatile and customizable elements of handrails and guardrails.


We hope this gave you an idea of the kinds of custom metal handrails and guardrails that are possible. We offer free estimates if you are interested in getting a new one for your home or office. Just drop us a line and we can’t wait to work together on your custom handrail or guardrail project!


Don’t forget to download our full Handrail and Guardrail Guide by clicking HERE 

Project Photos

black railing
metal railings
staircases built with steel in denver
interior metal railing on staircase
Custom Railings for Denver Home

Custom Railings for Denver Home

Custom Three Piece Steel Railings Set


Fox Fabrication and Welding fabricated and installed this three-piece set of custom metal stair railings for a Denver area client. This stair railing project was just outside of Denver, Colorado on the east side of town. We installed the railings for a friend of Fox Fab, who is also the owner of a Denver area painting company. He wanted to replace some older wood handrails and furnishings but didn’t know what with. We took him through some options and decided on these nice modern black metal railings.

Metal Stair Railings Denver

The raw steel came from our friends at Altitude Steel, as usual. Brett and the boys went out into the field, mocked them up, finished the steel fabrication in the shop, then sent the railings and furnishings off to powder coat. They then went out for the final install. The custom interior handrails came out looking great. We also built a few additional furnishes for the home. The client was thrilled with the outcome, saying these were the modern style that he really wanted. Don’t hesitate to give us a call or email us if you are looking for help adding new stairs, handrails, or other custom metal furnishings to your home.

Project Photos

Metal Furnishes for New Build

Metal Furnishes for New Build

The Hoover Project has been ongoing for over a year but is getting closer to completion! We catered to the client to build custom exterior architectural metal furnishings and railings. These metal railings and furnishes were built to highlight the house and the design behind the project.

We bolted up headers above windows and trimmed out several steel doors. It’s been a consistent project for a year now, with more and more custom metal projects coming our way. Giving us a chance to do work on so many metal projects makes us happy always!

jesse in his crane smiling
Jesse Perumean, founder and owner of Fox Fabrication and Welding, at work on a steel build in Golden, Colorado.

We’re building a mono stringer inside that will be furnished with a custom set of railings. We’re also building 60 feet of additional railing outback on the patio! At the end of the project, we will have lots of time into it with the planning, the shop fabrication, fieldwork, and field welding. This is one project we are very excited to see the final product. With Fox Fabrication and Welding steelwork completing this incredible home.

Our photographer and Marketing Director William Drumm came out to shoot some images and videos from this project. Just wait until you see the final product!

mobile welding truck
Mobile welding with the Fox Fabrication and Welding squad at a steel build job site in Colorado.
custom metal steel staircase
Fox Fabrication and Welding handled structural steel, railings, and custom steel staircases at this build, among other projects.
moving a heavy steel beam
The crew hauling steel at the Hoover project.
Middle State Coffee Steel Fixtures

Middle State Coffee Steel Fixtures

Middle Stone Coffee has the best roasts in Denver. Plus the coffee shop is filled with custom welded steel railings, tables, signs and more metals fabricated and installed by Fox Fabrication and Welding. The owner and founder of Middle Stone is a Denver local and brewmaster who shaped Middle Stone from his vision.

This project was in the works for some time. When they finally got together, Jesse helped get this vision down on paper and into designs. Even before stepping into Middle Stone Coffee, customers can see Fox Fab’s custom metal sign hanging above the entrance. 

custom steel hanging shelves
Stoked on fabricating and welding this custom hanging shelf on chains for our friends at Middle State Coffee!

Inside, custom steel tables that we fabricated on-site are found throughout. The steel handrails are also ours. But probably our favorite work on this build was the custom hanging metal shelves we hung from steel chains above the barista station.

Our boy William Drumm made it out to photograph the work just before opening. So go in and support a great local coffee shop, and check out our architectural steel and aluminum when you do!

If you are looking for custom metal work you can check out our qualifications here. If you are looking for commercial projects in particular, you can see a few our our recent ones here.

Custom steel seating all around, provided by your boys at Fox Fabrication and Welding.
Additional custom steel tables installed in another room of this awesome Denver, Colorado coffee shop.
A handrail to throw in for good measure. Stop in to Middle State coffee today and check them out!
Complete Metal Construction Package

Complete Metal Construction Package

This was a fun metal and welding project where we handled lots of different elements. Not only that, but this home is a beauty, with multiple decks and metal railings overlooking Sloan’s Lake and the Denver skyline. The view was perfect while building and welding the structural steel and interior and exterior metal railings throughout the home.  The structural steel install was smooth at butter and took two days to build.


Interior and exterior custom metal and structural steel, not pictured. What a fun project!

This entire metal project was done in three days, plus a bit of clean-up on the fourth. We welded structural saddles and supports on the framing. We also put in multiple folded connections and fusing. What a pleasure it was to work work with our old shop partner Justin from Pure Construction! They are usually awesome to share a project with, and this was no exception.

Our photographer William Drumm came out to shoot some images of the final product. The weather was perfect when he was there, and the exterior railings look great against the backgrounds of Denver and the Highlands.

The hose design was done by the amazing Arc West Architects.

Lick here to see all of Fox Fabrication and Welding’s residential projects. Click here to learn more about our mobile metal welding and steel erection services. Thanks for reading and hope to work with you one day as well.

interior railing on stairs The interior metal handrails came out perfect. The three story home was perfect for showcasing these metal railings.metal railings on patio This house has a total of five patios and decks, all of which we outfit with metal railings and hand rails.

bricks and metal failing on patio
Custom metal railings were build on three ground level patios, two decks, and one large rooftop patio.
Commercial Steel Staircases Project

Commercial Steel Staircases Project

Structural Steel and Architectural Metals Project

We love steel jobs where we tackle many different metal construction projects. This project was one of those. Fox Fabrication and Welding handled the structural steel and steel beams, railings, and powder coated stairways for a large commercial building. We did a structural reinforcement where we put in extensive RTU units.

Commercial Metal Rails and Staircases

We also welded steel door frames with airlock doors, and but in additional structural steel supports. We also built staircases on the exterior, that was sandblasted and powder coated in hammer gray to match the building. It turned out really nice. Thanks to McNichols for the help with the galvanizing for grading for the handrails.

staircases built with steel in denver