Building a deck will allow you to make more use out of the outdoor space around your home, whether that’s entertaining guests or even having somewhere outside to enjoy your morning coffee.
Most decking boards are made from wood or a composite material made up of wood fibers and plastic. However, this doesn’t mean you’re limited to just these materials for your railings.
Different materials of railings have a range of different benefits but it can be difficult for homeowners to know what railing materials will work best for them and their homes.
This article will help you understand the types of deck railings materials out there and what ones are suitable for your home.
What Types of Deck Railing Materials Are There?
Wood is a common choice for railing material, especially when it’s paired with wooden deck boards. They have a classic appearance and also offer the option of painting or staining them in different colors to suit your taste.
Wood can be susceptible to rotting and warping and can also expand and contract in temperature fluctuations which will decrease the strength of the wood over time.
However, it is one of the most inexpensive choices and you can help the wood retain its strength with regular maintenance and sealant.
Glass is a popular choice for railing material as it’s ultra-modern and also allows homeowners to see the view of their yard or surrounding environment through them.
They’re highly durable and won’t rot, rust, or wear away over time like other materials, however, they may require weekly cleaning to keep them looking good. The glass is often tempered so they won’t easily smash making it a good choice for a busy family home.
Glass railings are one of the most expensive materials though but also stand as one of the most cost-efficient.
Aluminum is a trusty choice for railing material as it’s long-lasting and durable and won’t be prone to corrosion in bad weather. They are often powder-coated to be extra resistant against extreme weather conditions and are available in a handful of colors.
Aluminum is an affordable choice, especially when you consider the little maintenance required to have them.
One of the most durable options for deck railing materials is steel, they’ll require no maintenance at all once installed, however, they do not offer much versatility as they cannot be easily modified to fit the shape of your deck.
Steel is also heavy and less affordable than other materials which makes installation on your own more difficult.
Vinyl is a lightweight and affordable material for railings and requires little maintenance once installed onto your deck.
Vinyl railings may not be suitable for all climates though and they can be prone to cracks or breakage in temperature fluctuations, so it’s something to consider before purchasing it.
Vinyl is a non-identical twin for wood as it has a similar appearance but will last longer.
Cable railings are highly durable and can suit a variety of architectural styles. They’re beneficial as they can allow light to come through to maximize the natural lighting on your deck and the outside area of your home.
Cable isn’t recommended for homes with young children and pets as they are a climbing hazard and cannot fully prevent falls like other materials.
How To Choose The Best Deck Railing Material For Your Needs
The environment can impact the durability and appearance of your railings, so think about how your railing choice will work in the climate and conditions where you live.
Factors like precipitation, humidity, snow, and extreme temperatures can alter the condition and appearance of your railings.
You’ll need to consider how much maintenance you’re willing to do for your railing material. Steel, aluminum, and wood railings are pretty low maintenance and will only need a light clean when dirt builds up.
Glass railings require a lot of maintenance as they can easily get dirty from rain and winds so you may have to clean the glass every week to keep them looking good.
The View From Your Deck
If you’ve got a stunning view from your deck that overlooks never-ending fields or maybe even the ocean, then why would you want to use thick steel railings that will obstruct your view.
If you are lucky enough to have a glorious view from your home, then try using glass or cable railings to maximize your viewing potential when sitting on your deck.
Something you’ll need to consider when buying deck railings is the cost of them and even the cost of installation. Wooden is often the cheapest material for railings, however, they are not the most durable so may require maintenance or replacement over time.
Stainless steel, aluminum, and cable are around the mid-price range, whilst glass railings will set you back the most in terms of cost.
If you’re handy at a bit of carpentry, then you may be able to fit wooden railings yourself. However, more difficult installations of steel and glass railings may require a professional to fit them which may come at an additional cost.
Matching Your Home
Something to consider is if you want your railings and your deck to match seamlessly with your home.
If your home is rustic, wooden, and old then ultra-modern glass railings probably won’t fit the architecture of your home as well as a wooden railing would. However, the choice of railing material is completely up to you.
You may want to consider using the same colors that are on the exterior of your home to keep everything harmonious and also to create an illusion that the deck was built at the same time as the house.
You don’t have to use just one material for your deck railing, for instance, you could have aluminum posts with glass panels in between to make it look fancier.
If your deck is made from wood, using different materials and colors for your railings can break up the wood and make it look more modern.
Letting In The Light
If your deck is an extension of your living space, say from a bedroom or the living room, you’ll probably have railings that allow light to come through otherwise this could block the natural light that comes through into your home and make it dark inside.
For this reason cable, glass, or thinner material railings would be best suited to allow as much light to flow through to areas of your home.