Railing Basics - Railing Materials

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An Example of Aluminum Deck Railing Aluminum Railing


Lightweight and durable, aluminum railing resists rust and corrosion—making it virtually maintenance-free for the life of the product. Aluminum is available in several colors and baluster shapes. DecksDirect offers aluminum railing systems from Afco, Deckorators, Fortress, Solutions, Trex, and Westbury.

Pros: clean look, ease of install, can be used between any newel posts
Cons: modern look doesn’t mesh with all architecture






An Example of Cable Railing Cable Railing


Constructed of 316 stainless steel, cables are available in 3/16” and 1/4” diameters but are most commonly used in 1/8” diameter. Nineteen thin cables are wound together to producee one durable and attractive cable. DecksDirect carries Feeney CableRail and TimberTech CableRail products and can quote completely custom Feeney DesignRail projects.

Pros: unobstructed views, modern design, easy to install, low maintenance, customizable
Cons: more expensive than wood, not child-friendly, may not meet code in certain areas





An Example of Composite Railing Cap-Stock Composite Railing


A wood-alternative material, that contains plastic, recycled material and wood fibers. Cap-stock is the result of co-extruding composite material with an exterior shell, typically made of PVC. The inner substance provides durability; the outer coating is an attractive finish available in several colors. Find options from DecKorators (CXT), TimberTech (RadianceRail & RadianceRail Express), and Trex (Transcend).

Pros: durable finish, can’t rust, can look similar to wood, high color retention, resists stains & fading
Cons: bulky, can appear heavy, looks similar to wood, moderately strong, labor-intensive install





An example of glass railing Glass Railing


Allowing clear, unobstructed views, glass railings are tempered for safety. Some manufacturers add etched designs, lighting options and a choice of color tints. For minimal upkeep, glass can be treated to reduce water spotting. DecksDirect offers glass balusters and compatible rails from DecKorators (CXT & Aluminum), Fortress, and Solutions.

Pros: Unobstructed views, modern design
Cons: may require frequent cleaning, can be costly to ship, can increase temperature on deck surface





An example of Steel Railing Steel Railing


Steel railing is a heavy-duty option that is great for replicating the look of wrought iron. DecksDirect offers the complete Fortress FE26 Railing System, which features pre-welded panels that are amazingly strong and durable, without the hassle of separate parts and pieces.

Pros: strength, ease of install, panelized versions available, adjustable stairs panels
Cons: possibility of rust, heavy to work with






An example of Vinyl Railing Vinyl Railing


For low-cost, low-maintenance, no-frills railing, vinyl is an obvious choice. Lightweight and easy to install, its non-porous surface won’t require painting or staining, though from a distance it can resemble painted wood. At this time, DecksDirect does not offer vinyl railings.

Pros: price friendly, low maintenance, lightweight
Cons: limited color options, can appear cheap, can become brittle in cold weather






An example of wood railing Wood Railing


Traditional wood railings are still a popular choice, and the reasons are obvious: the stately, professional look is classic, elegant and economic. However, the very features that make wood so attractive also lead to time-consuming maintenance. Wood railings tend to damage more easily and require significantly more time to stain or paint on an annual basis. At this time, DecksDirect does not offer wood railings, though there are a number of aluminum and steel options that can be installed between wood newel posts.

Pros: natural look, inexpensive, can be painted or stained to match decking
Cons: high maintenance, susceptible to decay, warping and bowing, obstructed views

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3900 50th Ave N #100 Minneapolis, MN 55429
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