From Handrail Brackets to Rope Thickness: The Ultimate Guide to Bannister Rope

As the name suggests, bannister ropes are ropes that are used as a bannister or handrail on a staircase. They are formed of a strong, thick rope and generally pass through a series of handrail brackets or loops, which anchor the rope to the wall. Bannister ropes are a functional and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a standard rigid bannister railing – providing additional support to those who need it on the stairs, whilst also acting as a nice feature piece that can blend in well with many different interior design themes. They can be manufactured out of a variety of natural and synthetic materials, and have been used for decades in a range of domestic and commercial settings.

If you’re considering investing in a bannister rope but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about buying and installing a bannister rope – from the materials they can be manufactured with, to where to buy rope that’s specifically designed to act as a bannister.

Why Should I Get a Bannister Rope?

A bannister rope has a number of advantages over conventional bannisters, including a unique and attractive look and the ability to adapt to staircase shapes that a standard bannister may not be appropriate for. They can be completely reshaped by simply removing the handrail brackets that support them from the wall and repositioning them, naturally making them quite versatile. They are an ideal solution for homes with elderly residents, small children or people with mobility issues thanks to the extra stability that they offer to stair users.

What Should I Look For in a Bannister Rope?

When searching for a bannister rope, your predominant concerns should be strength and comfort. The bannister must be strong enough to support the user in the event of a slip or fall, whilst also being soft enough to avoid chafing or causing any harm to users’ hands. Some types of rope, although strong enough to act as a bannister, will have a rough texture or a tendency to splinter and will thus be too harsh on the hands, whereas other types may be perfectly comfortable but lack strength.

What are Bannister Ropes Made Out Of?

Bannister ropes can be made from a number of unique materials – both natural and synthetic. They are made to last for many years, so it’s important to choose the right material for your needs. Rope Services UK – a leading supplier of bespoke bannister ropes and handrail brackets – stocks a vast range of ropes in various colours and diameters for both indoor and outdoor use. Below are some of the most popular bannister rope materials available, as well as the specifications supplied by Rope Services UK.

Natural Bannister Ropes

Natural ropes are ideally suited for indoor use, as they tend to shrink, expand or even rot if kept outdoors.

Natural Hemp Stair Ropes

If you love the look and soft-to-handle feel of a hemp bannister rope, but you’d rather opt for something a little more environmentally friendly than synthetic hemp, then natural hemp could be perfect for you. Traditionally used in countless applications for its strength and versatility, natural hemp rope is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. This makes it perfect for busy households or commercial use.

Diameters: 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 36mm, 40mm

Colour: Natural (Dark)

Maximum Length: 24mm to 40mm – 220 metres

Worming: This rope cannot be wormed.

Natural Jute Bannister Ropes

Possessing many of the same properties as hemp and synthetic hemp rope, natural fibre jute is one of the most popular bannister rope materials on account of it being a more inexpensive option. Despite being relatively cheap, however, it is nonetheless made with hardy 100% natural fibre, making it exceptionally strong. It also benefits from its rustic look, and is a great choice for homes with a more traditional decor theme. Jute rope has good resistance to sunlight and a strong knot-holding ability

Diameters: 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 36mm, 40mm

Colour: Natural (Dark)

Maximum Length: 24mm to 40mm – 220 metres

Worming: This rope cannot be wormed.

Natural Cotton Staircase Rope

Firm and smooth to the touch, natural cotton makes a great bannister rope material as a result of it being so hard wearing.

Diameters – 24mm, 28mm, 32mm and 36mm

Colours – Natural (Cream), Black, Red and Optic White

Maximum Length – 24mm to 36mm – 110 Metres

Worming – This rope can be wormed.

Synthetic Bannister Ropes

Synthetic ropes are appropriate for both inside and outside use and are very easy to clean.

Synthetic Polyhemp Rope

Synthetic polyhemp, also known as hempex, has the look and feel of natural hemp but offers a softer feel that’s more kind to the skin. Despite this, synthetic polyhemp rope is strong enough to act as a robust bannister and protect staircase users from falls, whilst still being flexible enough to fit in any bracket configuration. Polyhemp is also weatherproof, making it a great option for outside use as it won’t suffer in wet conditions.

Diameters: 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 36mm, 40mm

Colours: Sandy (Natural)

Maximum Length: 24mm to 40mm – 220 metres

Worming: This rope can be wormed.

Synthetic Grey Rope

Synthetic grey rope is one of the most modern looking ropes currently available on the market. It’s extremely soft and can be used both indoors and outdoors – it’s perfect for gardening and decking projects, as well as handrails and bannisters – and is bound to add a sleek look to any staircase.

Diameters – 24mm, 28mm, 32mm, 36mm and 40mm

Colours – Grey

Maximum Length – 24mm to 40mm – 220 Metres

Worming – This rope can be wormed.

Synthetic Polyspun Rope

Polyspun rope is a unique choice as, though it is synthetic, it has a rather hairy texture that makes it look almost identical to natural rope fibre. And the resemblance doesn’t stop there, as synthetic polyspun rope is also designed to replicate the feel of natural rope fibre. This means that it’s not only an attractive feature, but also very comfortable to hold. Despite its resemblance, however, it’s still fit for use outdoors.

Diameters – 24mm and 32mm

Colours – Black, Burgundy, Red and Royal Blue

Maximum Length – 24mm to 32mm – 25 Metres

Worming – This rope can not be wormed

How are Bannister Ropes Installed?

In most cases when preparing to install a bannister rope, it’s a straightforward job to measure up. Simply fix a length of string or rope to the wall with blu tac or sellotape at suitable intervals. Then, run the string along a measuring tape, making note of the fixed points. Choosing the number of handrail brackets and their position is very much at your discretion and should be based on what looks right for your staircase. As a rough guide, there should be a handrail bracket every metre, but keep in mind that the more handrail brackets you use, the sturdier the bannister will be.

It is vital to ensure that the wall is structurally sound before installing a bannister rope. Rope Services UK provides fittings and screws that are suitable for a majority of walls, but please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that the products you choose are safe for your installation.

Stair ropes can be installed on both inside and outside corners. With an inside corner, the rope can be taken across by simply using one handrail bracket on one side, then continuing with the measurement to the next fixing point on the other wall. An outside corner, on the other hand, could be rounded with a continuous length of rope supported by two handrail brackets, or with two separate ropes that are each terminated by a knot.

Keep in mind that bannister ropes need to be fixed in position along the rope with retaining screws to prevent any slipping or chafing. The rope is locked in place at each handrail bracket by a screw that passes through the rope and into a threaded hole in the bracket’s stem.

Where Can I Buy Rope for Bannisters?

Since 1991, Rope Services UK have been manufacturing and supplying customers in the North East of England and beyond with high-quality ropes of all kinds. Following a long tradition in the rope and cordage making industry, we have garnered expertise that can only be a product of many years of hard work in this field. We are proud to offer a comprehensive range of natural and synthetic ropes and ancillary products – all of which are made to order at our factory in Sunderland – as well as a specialist rope cutting and splicing service. Alongside bannister ropes, we also stock cordage that is ideal for deckings, barriers, marine settings, fitness and recovery. We take pride in producing goods that go above and beyond the expectations of customers, and we guarantee that our product quality and customer service is second to none. Feel free to browse our online catalogue, or if you require further information, please get in touch.

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