With warmer weather just around the corner, Minnesotans and South Dakotans are all longing to spend more time outside—soaking up the sunshine and making good use of outdoor spaces. Afterall, your outdoor deck is an extension of your home, especially during the upcoming summer months. As you renovate and revamp your deck for summer, consider what types of deck railings will suit your needs, style, and home.
In this post, we’ll describe the different types of deck railings available to you, so you can make the best choice for your outdoor living space.
The most traditional type of deck railings are made from wood and are fairly inexpensive for homeowners. According to DoItYourself.com, “oak, pine, maple, cypress, or even mahogany” are options used for wood railings that can be customized to present a classic, rustic, or contemporary look.
While wood is a very common option, it isn’t necessarily the easiest of materials to maintain. FamilyHandyman.com states that wood lends itself to cracking, splintering, and warping. Wood must be treated and sealed often to maintain its integrity, especially to prepare it for the harsh winters of Minnesota and South Dakota.
Despite being higher maintenance, wood railings can be easily painted, allowing homeowners to customize them to suit their preferences. And, if treated with sealant and cared for, “wood railings can last 10 years or more,” according to Sara Thompson of Medium.com.
Increasingly becoming popular due to its cost-effective and low-maintenance nature, composite railings offer a similar look to wood, without the upkeep. There are several different types of composite railing, including hollow, solid, and PVC-coated. FamilyHandyman.com explains how composite railings are “made from a blend of wood fibers and either virgin or recycled plastic, mixed into a paste,” allowing the railing to be sturdy and resistant to moisture. This combination of wood fibers and plastic allows these types of deck railings to be easily cleaned.
PVC-coated railings and some hollow composite railings are lightweight and typically slipped over wood posts for even more durability and strength. Solid composite railings do not require wood posts because they do resemble wood on their own. According to FamilyHandyman.com, “since the material is solid, it’s more resistant to dings and nicks,” but special care must be taken when installing, so the solid composites don’t sag.
Similar to these composite railings, plastic and vinyl railings are made from durable plastics, and are slipped over wood for even more durability. This lightweight option has a smoother surface than the above composite railing, allowing it to be easier to wipe down and less prone to stains and mold. It will also keep a crisp white color for those interested in white railing options, as mentioned by FamilyHandyman.com.
Metal railings can be a great compliment to more modern, contemporary, and industrial homes or a great accent piece for traditional style homes. There are different metal deck railings available, such as stainless steel, wrought iron, and powder-coated aluminum. All three materials are very durable and long lasting, but the level maintenance is higher with stainless steel and wrought iron than that of powder-coated aluminum.
Stainless Steel: These deck railings require weatherproofing to “maintain their polished appearance” and are not as widely used outdoors, according to DoItYourself.com. Harsh weather conditions could encourage rusting, if prohibitive measures are not taken.
Wrought Iron: It’s commonly used to create ornate and decorative railings. However, like stainless steel, wrought iron can be prone to rusting in harsh weather conditions. Wrought iron railings can be painted any color that suits your preferences, making it extremely customizable. However, painted iron will need to be touched up and will require frequent upkeep.
Powder-Coated Aluminum: This inexpensive option is incredibly long lasting and weather resistant, making it a great option for our Minnesotan and South Dakotan winters. Unlike its fellow metal railings listed above, this aluminum option won’t rust, making it a truly maintenance-free railing option. Unlike its metal cousins, its powder coating can come in a variety of colors to perfectly complement your space, without the upkeep associated with painted materials.
Glass deck railings add a different level of sophistication to railings. Sara Thomson of Medium.com describes how tempered glass panels replace traditional pickets, spindles, or balusters, and glass railings typically use aluminum posts and rail frames for durability, creating a sleek and modern appeal. Like any glass, there will be maintenance involved in keeping them clean and sparkling, but if you have a deck with a view, this is a great option to showcase it.
Cable deck railing creates a minimalistic and modern flair to any deck. According to Sara Thompson of Medium.com, “the cable infill is practically maintenance free and strong enough to withstand harshest weather” due to it being made from Marine Grade stainless steel. Depending on individual taste and style, cable railings can be installed vertically, like traditional balusters or spindles, or they can be installed horizontally, offering a more modern, unconventional look. Both options allow wind to pass through, unlike glass, while still showcasing a wonderful view.
Still unsure which direction to go? There are many different types of deck railing available to you, but what is best for you and your home? The UglyDeck.com team is here to help you with all your deck-building needs. Whether you’re looking to do it yourself or looking for help with installation, we can help pick out customizable maintenance-free decks and the best outdoor deck railing to compliment your home, needs, and style.
Visit our UglyDeck showroom to see these durable, maintenance-free railings in person and get help building your deck in time for summer. Contact us today with any questions or for help in customizing your outdoor space to get it ready for those summer barbecues ahead!