Fortress® Railing Case Study
Property: Quail Ridge
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Tom Wyche’s job is making his multifamily clients look good, while keeping their residents safe.
As the owner of Oklahoma City-based General Property Construction, which renovates approximately 500 units per year, Wyche focuses on the exterior elements at apartment communities that make an immediate impression on prospective residents: balconies, railings, and stairs.
“Most garden-style properties are
going to have exterior stairs and second floor balconies with railings that are fairly prominent,” Wyche says. “They literally stick out at you. They’re the first things you see.”
But what prospects—as well as apartment operator clients—may not see are the lurking maintenance issues that befall wooden balconies, as well as untreated metal railings and stairs.
“Water penetration is always going to be a problem on balconies, railings, and stairs,” Wyche says. “Wood rots, and the wrought iron railings and untreated steel stairs rust and leave streaks on the exterior.”
For those reasons, during thousands of renovations over his 25-year career, he’s been looking for a single solution that can address all of his clients’ needs: a powder-coated, interoperable balcony decking, railing, and stair system that’s easy to assemble, won’t rot or rust, and can stand the test of time. But that’s been hard to come by.
“Some manufacturers will have a great upper railing, but they won’t have a handrail for the stairs,” Wyche says. “Or they’ll have the stairs, but not the right brackets. If I’m doing a balcony, stairway, and railing project, I may have to go to two or three different manufacturers and then rework all the different pieces to work together.”
Until now. He thinks he’s finally cracked the code for all three with Fortress Building Products. The Texas-based firm offers
its Evolution steel framing for balconies and stairways; Infinity composite decking for balcony floors and a double-wide stair tread; and its Simple 1.2.3 Fortress Railing Products installation system, with matching brackets, for railings.
“Fortress is the only one that has a complete process and system,” Wyche says. “They’ve put a lot of thought into how it all goes together and the different components and brackets they supply.”
For instance, he says not only does the Evolution steel framing and stair system eliminate hidden wood rot under balconies and stairs, its powder coating helps it stand up to rust longer. The composite, bamboo, and recycled plastic of the Infinity decking and stair treads won’t absorb water, while the connecting brackets for the railings and framing connect with self-tapping screws, which means his crews can quickly put it all together.
“They’re all powder-coated and painted from the factory,” he adds. “Everything has a nice, uniform look that makes a big difference in the final appearance of the property.”
Those three products from a single company, balcony decking, railings, and stairs, help Wyche achieve his job goals—making his clients look good and keeping their residents safe at the same time.