Now that you have your deck, it’s time for one of its most important features, the railing! Railings are great for a number of reasons. While they may seem like common knowledge, what is a deck railing? Our Grand Rapids expert deck builders have the answers for you.
Simply put, a railing is a fence that goes around the perimeter of your deck. Their primary purpose is to protect children and intoxicated adults from falling off your deck. Your railing may extend down the length of stairs into your yard in which case it provides support to those stepping up or down.
Yes, in addition to all the benefits listed above, a your deck to make it look complete. Decks without a railing or other perimeter barrier often look like they’re missing something. This is especially true the bigger your deck is.
It’s important to note the design of your deck will partially determine what kind of railing you should get. If you have a straight rectangular deck then you’ll need a straight railing. Some people have a curved or wavy deck and they’ll need a railing that follows that shape.
Over time railings have evolved leaps and bounds from what they were originally. The most popular these days are wood, composite, metal, and glass.
Wood is one of the most common railing materials because they’re classic, less expensive, and can be painted which isn’t necessarily true for other options. However, it is more vulnerable to damage and various weather conditions than alternate options like composite.
Composite, a mix of new/recycled plastic and wood fibers, decks are rapidly gaining popularity. They don’t need maintenance as often as wooden railings because they’re able to resist weather damage and rotting. The drawback is they tend to be one of the more expensive options, and may not look as aesthetically pleasing as other options.
Some of the most common metal railings are stainless steel, aluminum, and wrought iron. A lot of people choose metal because it’s durable, low maintenance (besides treating for rust), and doesn’t obstruct the view as much as wood or composite…
One negative is metal effectively conducts heat so it’ll likely be hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. All three types of metal railings are also susceptible to rust. Steel and iron can weaken during the winter especially in areas with frequent snow/storms. While aluminum is the weakest of the three, it actually becomes stronger in extremely cold temperatures.
If you want to enjoy the view looking out from your deck, then a glass railing is likely the best fit for you. The good news is glass doesn’t rust and most people generally feel it looks fancier than other options due to a more modern design. Glass railings tend to be solid panels of glass with a metal frame; whereas, alternate options are more open.