Choosing the best deck railing design for your deck can make a huge difference in its overall appearance. You can take your deck from ordinary to spectacular by making the best choice here. Rails have an obvious and necessary function - keeping people from falling off your deck - but rails also serve an important aesthetic role. Make your deck stand out from the crowd with the right railing. But first...
Do you really need deck railing?
If your deck is low to the ground, railing may not be necessary. Juridictions vary, but if your deck is less than about 30 inches from the ground, railing may not be required by your local building code. As always, check the building code in your area before deciding. Now, just because you can build a deck without railing, that doesn't mean you should build your deck without it. Think about who is likely to be using your deck. A 2 year old or a 92 year old could be significantly injured falling off of a 30 inch high deck. For that matter, a 22 year old could get hurt, they just heal faster. (at least that's what I recall - its been a while you know) Anyway, consider who your guests will be and plan accordingly. If your deck is near the upper end of the requirement range, strongly consider adding railing. If your deck will be near the lower end of the range, you may be fine without any railing.
There are other ways to compensate for no railing if you decide to go without it. You can strategically place items around the deck to serve as a substitute railing. Plants, furniture, benches, grills, barbed wire...Okay, maybe not the barbed wire, (I was just checking to see if you were paying attention) but you get the idea. Built in benches and planters can serve as a more permanant barrier. Wide stairs are another option for those in between applications.
As you will see, railings can enhance and beautify your deck as well as provide the necessary safety requirements. But those same railings can interfere with your view from your deck. The trick is to balance those three considerations: safety - beauty - view. And, as always - budget.
Let's assume you will need railing ideas for your deck and look at some options.
Wooden Deck Railing
A standard 2X2 wooden deck railing system is the most common type of railing, and for good reason. This is the most cost effective railing design, it works well and looks great. Over time it will naturally need the same maintenance that the rest of a wooden deck will need, so keep that in mind. The biggest drawback to this style is that the 2X2 balusters have a strong tendancy to warp and twist. Some of them will be just fine for years, but it seems there are always a few trying to perfect their pretzel imitations. The same style of railing is available in composite material.The overall look is the same, but you eliminate the twisting, warping, and most of the maintenence. But the components for composite railing are very expensive. In my opinion, the expense makes other railing options more attractive.
A sunburst pattern is a popular way to create interest and style to your railing design. The materials cost for any patterned design will be a little higher, and the labor cost will be significantly higher. Just remember, putting a wooden 2X2 into a different pattern does not stop those "pretzels" from twisting.
Vinyl Deck Railing
Vinyl or PVC deck railing is a popular alternative to wood. Colors are limited, with white being by far the most popular. There are various styles of handrails and balusters, but overall the options are similar to standard wood railing. But vinyl doesn't twist, rot, warp, etc. like wood does. It will not need staining or sealing . Wash it off occasionally and it will continue to look great for years. Vinyl is not quite as sturdy as wood or some other choices, although in general it works fine. Just tell Aunt Mildred to lean on the house, not the railing. Vinyl railings hold up better than PVC railings, because PVC tends to get chalky and brittle over time. Trex Transcends has an industry leading 25 year warranty against fading and staining just like the rest of the Trex Transcends products.
Aluminum Deck Railing
Aluminum deck railing offers yet another option. Sturdy, lightweight and attractive - it can be the ideal solution for many homeowners. Again, Aunt Mildred doesn't need to hang over the edge with this choice, but for normal use, its fine. A variety of colors and styles are available, so you are sure to find a look that suits you and your deck. Consider combining aluminum balusters with wooden posts and rails. You will get increased sturdiness and an interesting look.
What could be better than clear glass for the ultimate view through your deck railing? Numerous options are available including solid panels as well as individual "balusters" made of tempered glass or acrylic.Glass deck railing is expensive, and is best utilized over a lake or to maximize a mountain view. The framework for the glass can be made of aluminum, vinyl or wood. Glass will have to be cleaned to keep it clear, and we also see some problems with our feathered friends knocking themselves silly, or worse.
Specialty Railing Systems
Custom deck railing can be made of almost anything or a combination of many things. Stainless steel can be fabricated to form a stunning rail system.Cables or rods can be passed through posts to form an interesting and nearly invisible rail. Wrought iron railing is very strong and can be very decorative as well. It basically comes down to balancing your needs, your wants, and your budget.
Make your top rail wide enough to hold a drink cup or a small planter. A 2X4 isn't wide enough, but a 2X6 or a standard deck board works well. However, the handrail on your stairs should be narrower so it can be gripped by the average hand. 2X4's work well here. Most places require a secondary graspable handrail in addition to a guard rail.
Deck railing height is usually either 36" or 42". 36" minimum for residential and 42" minimum for commercial. Many local codes limit the spacing between balusters to no more then 4". You can use a 2X4 block (which is 3 1/2") as a simple spacer.
Lattice can be used to block railing for small pets. Its easy to install on most decks, and is easy to remove if you no longer need it.
Speaking of lattice, you can fabricate lattice panels for increased privacy and / or shade. (see below)Which ever style of railing you choose, make sure you choose the best contractor in your area, in Central Kentucky this is Deckadent Designs.
"I'm so excited to stain the deck this weekend", said no one ever!
Deck Railing Designs
Over the last 10 years the deck industry has developed a variety of attractive rail systems. Because your deck's rails will be one of the most visible features of your new deck, it is important to choose a rail that complements your decking material and the style and color scheme of your house. Consumers have many choices of colors, styles and accessories to provide greater flexibility in design. Many railing systems are built from composite or metal, both of which offer the advantage of low maintenance. Glass railings and cable rails are attractive because they preserve views. Deck rails can vary in price from about $15 per linear foot for a standard pressure treated wood rail to over $125 dollars per linear foot.
Because most of the work in keeping your new deck in great shape revolves around the rail we always recommend low maintenance rails such as Trex Transcends, Aluminum Rails such as Trex Reveal, or more budget friendly railing systems such as Trex Select. Even if you choose a wood deck surface.
Because railings are such an important design feature for any deck, we recommend spending some time researching your options and allowing some room in your budget for a railing that suits your taste. Most railing systems are sold as kits and are fairly easy to install. You can learn more about how each system is installed and all the advantages of each by coming into our showroom and discussing the different options to find out which will suit your particular needs.
Railings; What are the Options?
Railings are an important part of most decks, besides being an safety feature, they really provide a great opportnity to express your sense of style. Ranging from colonial to contemporaery. We have an unmatched selection of products, with wholesale pricing regardless of if you are building a deck with us or just need a source to purchase railing. Below you will find a list some of the most common choices starting from the best, and going to the most simplistic:
Here are the 5 major things to Consider when Buying Railing?
1) RAILING TYPE: What are my options?
TREX TRANSCENDS "HOW OUTDOOR LIVING SHOULD FEEL"
Trex Transcends is a high performance encapsulated composite, the ultimate combination of beauty and performance offered in a myriad of design options to compliment any house or deck. We can curve it for dramatic results. Never needs sanding or refinishing, and has a multi-decade warranty. It cleans easily with soap and water, but is a higher initial cost than the alternatives. Also available in cocktail railing giving you a great place to land your drink!
Stands firm with a strong, sturdy look and feel
Built with the same incredible durability as Transcend decking–won’t rot, warp, peel or splinter
Modular components let you mix and match your customized look with any Trex® railing line
Pairs seamlessly with Transcend decking…and just as beautifully with any other Trex decking line
TREX THROUGH AND THROUGH
Contains a minimum of 40% recycled material
Backed by the Trex 25-Year Limited Residential Warranty
Sleek yet sturdy railing that knows how to get out of the way. Powder coating retains color and resists corrosion in a multitude of design choices. Possesses unparalleled strength with minimal geometry. They have longer spans for a less impeded view. Fire, mold, and mildew resistant, with no splintering cracking or warping. More modern and less natural aesthetic than wood and composite. Trex has line called Reveal, and we have several other suppliers.
Cables, Stainless steel, Iron, there are a multitude of options to reflect your vision now. Durable materials are sturdy and strong, unique styles allow for custom designs. Longer lead times and custom builds can make it more expensive than railing kits, so it is often limited in its application to a nich market. We have a great partnership with many custom railing manufactor's, with an award winning design team to give your project a custom look.
PVC (VINYL) RAILINGS
A simple look for a sharp clean finish. Basic color scheme complements many homes. Traditional colonial look, glss panel, and metal spindle options, Insect resistant and splinter finish. Soap and water cleaning. Not as natural looking with a plastic like feel. Tends to develop a chalky finish after several years. Available in Almond, White, Grey, Black, and Dark Brown. More affordable than metals and composites with low maintenance.
A traditionalists Dream. Wood has a time honored natural aesthetic. There are unlimited hand crafted options available. In its simplist form it has a very low initial cost. They WILL fade, stain, warp, twist, cup, splinter, and bend. It requires regular maintainance staining, sanding, and painting. It is a long and tedious process to stain all the spindles and surfaces. In fact it often takes far longer to stain the railings on a deck than the deck itself.
By combining the low maintenance of aluminum spindles with traditional wood you can create a budget friendly modern look. We buy in bulk and pass on the savings to you. With the addition of baskets, collars, and center pieces you can really create your own unique modern design. With the addition of graspable aluminum rails to steps you can rest easy with a lifetime manufactorer's warranty. We have the complete line of metal spindles in an array of colors.
2) LABOR: How difficult is installation?
When taking a look at your prodject's budget, it's worth considering how much time is involved in installation. Wood railing needs to be cut and assembled. Black aluminum spindles take signifigantly longer, special tools, and connectors, and increased accuracy on stairs all take special attention. Some of the better rails have no exposed fasteners for a clean sleek look. Rail kits that are well designed save installation time, but care has to be taken to make sure they are laid out and installed right the first time. Mistakes can be very costly, and the learning curve especially when it comes to stairs is long. That is why it is so important to have a contractor experienced in Decks, and in Kentucky no one has more experience than us!
3) MAINTENANCE: How much upkeep are we talking?
The cost of maintaining and replacing some railing products can really add up. Over time, things like powerwashing, water seal, stain and weekend-illing chores mean alot of money (and time) wasted. Consider a more durable option thats engineered to withstand the elements. While the initial cost of high-performance composite or aluminum railing may seem a little steep at first glance, they'll end up saving you money in the long run. After all the rail is the part of the deck that you feel the most and requires the most amount of time to maintain.
4) EARTH FRIENDLINESS: What impact does it have on the enviroment?
Enjoying the great outdoors is even better when you know that you are doing your part to protect it, and there are many susstainable railing options out there. While aluminum is a 100% recyleable material, composite takes it a step futhor. Comprised of recycled materials such as sawdust and platic packaging, composite offers the look of wood without contributiing to deforrestation.
5) R.O.I. : What is it worth when I move?
Adding quality railing to your deck enhanced the overall feel of your outdoor space, adds value and joy to your home and ultimately makes it more attractive to potential homebuyes. So when you consider what you're ready to invest in this feature-the frame of your outdoor space- it's wise to consider your choices from a safety, aesthetic and long-term performance perspective. After all your home is most likely your biggest investment. While you spend money on a car, you invest money in property. Many times a little more upfront yeilds a far better long term return!
TRANSCENDS COLOR CHOICES
Lexington Deck Supplies
Still have more questions, come see us out Lexington's only dedicated deck, porch, and railing retail store. We are located on the old drag strip just off Nicholasville Rd. Across from Sam's club. If you can't make it during normal hours or would like to set up an appointment for a private consultation by calling (859)305-6640 or email:
Generally, wherever there’s decking, there’s railing–usually the showiest part of any outdoor space. Luckily with Trex®, their modular components let you mix and match a myriad colors, finishes and materials nearly any way you wish. Their three distinct lines–Trex Transcend®, Trex Reveal®; and Trex Select® –ensure the most durable, most luxurious railing around. We also have several suppliers of Aluminum rails and vinyl rails-----or we can custom design and fabricate a railing to suit your unique needs!
MINIMALIST STYLE. MAXIMUM STRENGTH.
Reveal is aluminum railing, a unique material for Trex® (further evidence that we never stop innovating) and one that enables unexpected applications. It easily affixes to hardscapes like stone patios, withstands the rigors of commercial settings like public plazas and feels right at home along a string of tidy condo units. That said, it’s hallmark Trex, with a sleek-yet-sturdy construction and near-zero maintenance. And because it’s so strong, its slender profile stays out of the way of your most beautiful views making Reveal perfect for a sleek, contemporary aesthetic in any setting.