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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

6 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Polyurethane Balustrade System

Posted by Kyle Boatwright on 3/25/14 12:44 PM

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(1)    Is your system pre-painted?  Polyurethane can be pre-painted prior to being packaged and shipped to your jobsite.  This is important because once you receive the product you can simply install the finished product and not paint it or simply paint over the top coat that is factory applied.  If your product is only primed, or partially primed, you will spend additional time and money just getting the product prepared to paint before applying final top coat.

 

(2)    Do you use stainless steel components in your newel kit hardware?  A balustrade system is only as strong as what it is attached too.  When using stainless steel components in the newel kits you are ensuring that your balustrade system is built to last for a lifetime.  If galvanized steel is used then the components can rust or deteriorate over time.  This could cause your system to fail and could cause serious injury or even death if the part rusts and loses strength.

 

(3)    Do you offer a lifetime warranty on the material of the product?  Polyurethane is a highly durable product that will not every rot or decay.  However, when using inferior polyurethane materials this can cause the finished product to fail or crumble long term when exposed to UV rays.  Only a manufacturer that guarantees a lifetime warranty truly stands behind their product long term.  This is a separate warranty from the top coat of paint that is factory applied.

 

(4)    What is the warranty on the finished coat of paint applied to your balustrade?  First make sure that the top coat of the balustrade system really is a finished top coat.  The reasons for this is stated in question #1.  However, you want to also make sure that it is backed by a 10 year warranty; if you don’t properly prepare a urethane product (that doesn’t have a finished top coat) prior to painting the field applied finish coat could begin chipping and cracking months even years after it has been installed.  A 10 year warranty ensures that the base coat is of high quality and will endure the test of time.

 

(5)    Do you use aluminum hardware for your rail attachment hardware and the pipe inside of each baluster? Aluminum can be used as the center pipe of each baluster and as the hardware used to attach the top and bottom rails to a newel post, porch column, or wall.  Aluminum should be the only material used in these applications as it is cost effective, it does not rust, it gives ample strength to the system to pass all building code requirements, and it allows the manufacturer to provide a lifetime warranty.  When galvanized steel is used, in order to cut costs, the hardware or baluster pipe can rust causing structural issues with the system.

 

(6)    Is your balustrade system Made in America?  This is VERY important because it ensures the following key points:

  • It supports the American economy and American workers.
  • No harmful chemicals such as Freon or Lead will be used in the manufacturing process.
  • You don’t run the risk of purchasing a “knock-off” product that is made of low quality with defects and inconsistency in the different parts.
  • It ensures that your product will be made of high quality materials that will last over time.

 

Competitor Balustrade Comparison Chart  

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Topics: Balustrade System, Polyurethane

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