How to choose railing for your deck

Cable railing
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There are lots of options when it comes to railing for your deck! Factors like safety, privacy, aesthetics, and where you live all come into play when planning out your fence. This article will show you how to pick out your material, style, and assess the maintenance that you will have when owing the railing.

First, let’s pick out your railing material.

The most common materials are steel, aluminum, vinyl, and wood.


While steel and aluminum are similar options, steel will be the cheaper option- the main downside being that it can rust.  Therefore, if it gets scratched or damaged, the bare steel will be exposed to the elements and the steel will rust- usually within 12 hours.


You can scratch aluminum railing just as easily as steel, but it will not rust. Therefore, it will likely last longer than steel. However, it will be more expensive in the initial installation.


Vinyl will have a unique feel compared to other materials, because it is all plastic. It is typically lower in price compared to steel and aluminum, and it will last. They are also low maintenance-just wash it back to brand new again.


Wood railings are very customizable, which is a huge benefit of choosing this material. The downside to wood is it requires maintenance. It requires staining and sanding every 1-3 years. Because it has a lot of little parts, it will be more work than sanding and staining a open wood deck.

Next, lets choose your railing style.

There are some things to consider when choosing your fence style.

  1. How much privacy do you want?
  2. What is on the other side of the railing? Is it a beautiful view of the countryside, or is it your neighbors backyard? One we wouldn’t mind blocking with a railing, but the other not so much.
  3. What style is your home? A modern home would clash with a white vinyl railing; a sleek glass or cable railing might go better. More traditional homes would be complimented by a wood or vinyl railing.

Common styles are cable, glass, and picket railing.


Cable and glass railing gives off a modern, sleek feel. This type of railing requires the least amount of maintenance- the cables themselves are so small and slim that the only part that may require cleaning is the top and the posts. 


Glass will require more cleaning; the glass gets smudged, dirty, etc. They will typically need much cleaning as the windows on your house. How often you need to clean the glass will depend on your environment.


Picket railing is the most common type of railing. It is versatile, cost-effective, and a good option if you are going for wood, aluminum, or vinyl railing. One thing to keep in mind for picket- or any horizontal railing- is that it does create a ‘ladder’ of sorts, that may be possible for kids to climb. Studies have shown that it is very low risk for a child to climb over, but it is still something to keep in mind.

Hopefully, this guide has been a help in finding the right railing for you. If you have any questions at all on railing or decking, feel free to reach out to our estimators or look at our other content to learn mor

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