Case Study: Library Greets Patrons with Pultruded Handrail


A public library in New Jersey recently needed to replace handrail on its main entrance ramp which was no longer fit for service. Originally designed with an egress, the ramp and the original handrail provided walking and wheelchair access for those with disabilities.

In an effort to prevent further access limitations, the local government hired an outside contractor, specializing in waterproofing and restoration projects, to provide a solution to accessibility.

Winters in the Northeast can be hard on metallic railings. Oftentimes, the below-freezing temperatures can alter the molecules of metals by manipulating the transitioning points of ductility to brittleness of these materials.

The constant snow shoveling and extended exposures to calcium chloride-based snow and ice treatments accelerated the removal of coatings designed to prevent corrosion of traditional metals. Compounding the stress, the summers of the Northeast also created thermal cycling challenges with the potential of dangerously hot-to-the- touch surfaces. Over the years, the existing handrail suffered galvanic corrosion challenges as well, which began at the posts of the handrail and eventually transitioned to the railings.

Product: Entry Ramp Handrail
Process: Pultrusion
Materials & Sizes: STRONGRAIL® Fiberglass Architectural Handrail System:

  • 3" rounded top rail
  • 1" square pickets
User: New Jersey Public Library

With multiple materials to compare, the contractor decided that Strongwell’s STRONGRAIL® rounded 3" top rail Architectural Handrail System was the best solution. Originally designed for commercial applications in corrosive areas with high concentrations of salt air and brackish conditions, the pultruded system with thermoplastic connectors has also been tested extensively to ensure compliance with both ADA and IBC 2009 loading requirements. The handrail offers a pultruded molded-in color with a polyurethane UV coating solution to provide a strong, attractive, and durable solution for the library ramp entrance, as demonstrated by almost two decades worth of product case studies in a variety of demanding environments.

The installers were happy with the simplicity of the field fabrication of over 600 linear feet of STRONGRAIL®, with its internal connection system. In their opinion, the handling and installation process was much simpler, compared to traditional steel. With no hot works or specialty steel fabrication crews required, installation was faster, easier, and less expensive than steel, and should provide years of low- to no-maintenance performance.

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