Whether you’re building a new deck or upgrading an existing deck, the deck railing is an important component. While its primary purpose is to provide safety, it should also provide aesthetic value. The deck railing, including the posts, panels or balusters, and hand railing, is perhaps the most visible component of your deck. It is the first thing guests see and it defines the style of your deck.
While basic wood deck railing with plain 2×2 wood balusters is the most common deck railing, it’s certainly not your only option. Today, there are more deck railing options than ever before to choose from, including:
- Wood deck railing is the most common choice, and for good reason. Wood deck railing works well, looks great, and is cost effective. Wood deck railing doesn’t have to be the standard linear design. Wood can be any size or shape you want and can be used to create custom patterns and designs.
- Composite deck railing can be used in the same designs as wood deck railings.
- Metal deck railings, including steel, power-coated aluminum, and wrought iron, are an inexpensive way to add style to your deck. Metal balusters, particularly wrought iron, create a beautiful contrast with wood or composite decking and are typically less obtrusive than wood balusters.
- Glass and cable deck railings are perfect if you have a spectacular view that you want to maximize. Glass panels are usually paired with an aluminum rail frame. Stainless steel cables are extended through wood or metal posts, creating a virtually invisible deck railing.
When selecting deck railing, you should select one that will complement your deck material as well as the style and color scheme of your home. Consider using curved railing to add visual interest. You can also use color to accent your deck design. For example, contrast a dark wood deck with white or light-colored deck railing.
Cost may also be a consideration when selecting deck railing. Prices range significantly from about $15 per linear foot for a basic pressure-treated wood rail to more than $100 per linear foot for a glass railing system.