HOMES & CONSTRUCTION
Balustrades can be used as safety rails for porches and stairs as well as enhancing the look of the house. Traditionally metal and wood were the only real materials preferred for balustrades.
According to Jonathan Kaggwa, a civil engineer, there are different types of balustrades on the market.
“These can be made of timber, stainless steel, steel, wire or glass. Some of these materials are more suitable for internal house balustrades."
Kaggwa says external balustrades should be sturdy and built to withstand external weather conditions, but the most common external balustrades in Uganda are made of concrete.
Isam Bongo, a local builder, says balustrades are used for verandahs, compound walkways, on balconies among others.
“The property owners use various shapes, designs and size because there are many on the markets."
Rose Gitta, an interior designer, says balustrades can be used for structural and decorative purposes. Many people prefer white, black and sometimes red.
“They are good for compound decorations and home exteriors."
Peter Wasswa, a construction engineer, says most external balustrades are decorated in the same way. These balustrades can be fluted, turned or paneled. But the designs depend on the moulds of the manufactures.
Architect Abdu-Wahab Nyanzi says wooden handrails look particularly good as a finish for steel balustrades. But the time timber should be a kind that can withstand external weather conditions.
“But the timber balustrades are cheaper than steel but they are more suitable for interiors. Stainless steel and wire balustrades can be good as external balustrade material because they possess the sturdiness required for those conditions," says Nyanzi.
David Kireli, a civil engineer, says balustrades can also work best for commercial buildings. These balustrades tend to have that detached feel to them.
Although balustrades prevent users from falling off any structure, they also tell a visitor a lot about the tastes and preferences of a property owner.