For aging homeowners, optimizing the safety of their homes should be a priority. One of the most overlooked yet essential components contributing to home safety is the installation of handrails. Safety handrails provide stability and support in various parts of the home, significantly reducing the risk of injuries or accidents. 

This brief guide educates homeowners about the importance of safety handrails, their types, where to install them, and how to maintain them.

What Are Safety Handrails?

Safety handrails are bars or grips that are installed on walls or next to stairs or other areas of travel to provide support and prevent falls. They are especially important for older adults or anyone who has difficulty with balance or mobility, particularly on slippery surfaces found in bathrooms.

Safety handrails, may also be referred to as grab bars, are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials, each offering benefits related to safety, durability, maintenance, and aesthetics. Consider these factors when choosing the type of handrail that best suits your needs and complements the style of your home.

Metal Handrails

Metal handrails are highly durable and require minimal maintenance. They’re ideal for either indoor or outdoor use due to their resistance to weather elements.

Wooden Handrails

These offer a traditional look to your home and are more comfortable to hold than cold metal rails. Over time, they require maintenance to reverse the effects of wear and tear.

Glass Handrails

These are modern and sophisticated but may not provide as much grip as wood or metal. They are more fragile and also require regular cleaning to maintain their appearance.

Vinyl/Composite Handrails

While vinyl and composite grab bars can be more affordable, low-maintenance, and available in various colors, they’re typically not as strong as metal or wood and can fade in sunlight.

Where to Install Safety Handrails

The first step in installing safety handrails in your home is to identify key areas in your home where safety handrails are needed for stability and increased mobility. The most common areas include:


Handrails on both sides of the stairs can provide support and prevent falls.


Installing handrails near the bathtub, shower area, and toilet can prevent slipping on wet surfaces.


Long hallways, especially in homes with elderly residents or children, can benefit from handrails.

Other potential areas that may require handrails include doorways with one or more steps, garages, basements, kitchens, or elevated platforms. 


Exterior pathways can also present navigation challenges.  Railings can be installed along pathways for more support when outdoors.  

Guidelines for Installing Safety Handrails

At Omicelo Health, we strongly recommend hiring a professional to install safety handrails in your home to ensure maximum sturdiness and durability. Installing safety handrails involves more than just securing them to the wall. There are specific guidelines to follow to ensure they provide the utmost safety.

The standard height for handrails is between 34 and 38 inches from the floor/ground. The distance from the wall should be at least 1.5 inches to allow a comfortable grip.

Let Omicelo Health Help You With Home Modifications

At Omicelo Health, we focus on guiding homeowners through the process of making home modifications that allow older adults to age in place. Our team of experts can answer questions about finding professional help, simple DIY projects, and financing more expensive construction renovations.

Safety handrails are just one aspect of home accessibility projects. Contact us today for help with safety handrails and other modifications that can make your home safer and more comfortable for everyone.