Why Composite Railing Is Great And How To Choose A System

If you love the classic look of a wood deck railing, but want to avoid the regular staining, painting, and repairing that goes along with wood, a composite deck railing is exactly what you need.

But once you've decided to shop composite railings, how do you know which railing systems are best for your deck? At DecksDirect, we seek out the best-quality railing systems on the market and help connect customers to the system that best fits their needs. Check out our handy guide to learn the specific strengths of the most reliable composite railings on the market or give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 to talk to an experienced deck project planner..

A composite railing looking out over a scenic sunset

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Why Choose A Composite Deck Railing?

For years, decks have been designed around the classic, proven look of wood deck railing, and there's something innately comforting and relaxing about that familiar style. What's not relaxing? All the maintenance that comes with wood as it weathers, fades, warps, twists, and cracks, requiring regular painting or staining and replacing warped or cracked pieces.

Deck lighting casts a warm glow over Trex Select railing

Composite deck railing is the best of both worlds. It delivers the proven styling of wood railing that blends beautifully with any deck styling. But composite railing eliminates the high maintenance demands of wood by using an innovative combination of natural wood fibers and synthetic plastics that's designed to endure the outdoor elements without fading, staining, warping, cracking or splintering.

You can find composite deck railings to look as traditional or modern as you want. The tough, exterior capping can come in a wide range of colors, like painted wood railing that you never have to repaint. Plus, it's easy to swap in slim, metal balusters to improve your view, or to wire a gorgeous lighting setup through the composite parts.

Let's run through the best composite railing systems on the market so you can find the one that suits your vision.

The Best Composite Railing Systems For Your Deck

When it comes to composite deck railings, we trust two major brand names with long track records of creating durable and beautiful decks: Trex and TimberTech.

Each brand offers multiple composite railing options that you can customize to your specific look. Here are the high points of each system:

Trex Transcend Railing

Highlights:

  • The most color options
  • The trusted Trex brand name
  • Options: composite balusters, aluminum balusters, glass, mesh
Trex Transcend Railing designed to match Trex deck boards

When it comes to color options, Trex Transcend railing is king. The ever-popular composite railing line comes in a wide range of colors handpicked to complement Trex's Transcend decking line.

Six color options include classic white and black (see below), but also a trendy gray Gravel Path, plus three varying shades of brown to fit with just about any deck board you can imagine.

Sleek black Trex Transcend deck railing

You can even mix and match colors to create a beautiful contrast, like this railing which matches the top and bottom rail to the deck boards, while using white posts and black balusters to add character to the space:

Stoic Trex Transcend Railing overlooks a pool

Beyond color, you can also customize your top rail, using the traditional Crown rail shown above, or using a universal top rail and mounting the deck board of your choice as a functional cocktail rail.

Trex Composite Railing with a built-in drink rail

Trex has been a giant in the decking industry for decades, and they've used their expertise to expand their flagship Transcend railing line to include some unique and breathtaking options for infill, or what fills the space between your vertical posts and horizontal rails.

Trex Transcend can accommodate full glass panels for the most luxurious look possible:

A lake view seen through Trex Transcend Glass Railing

Or you can open up your deck view and add some rustic farmhouse styling with a combination of Trex Transcend composite railing and metal hog wire mesh panels from Wild Hog.

Trex Composite Railing with rustic Wild Hog wire panels
Shop Trex Transcend

TimberTech Classic Composite Railing

Highlights:

  • Incredibly customizable with 4 top rail profiles
  • More post size options from slimmer to wider
  • Options: composite balusters, aluminum balusters, glass panels, cable runs
TimberTech Composite Railing on a nice, new home

Where Trex Transcend offers the best versatility in color, TimberTech's Classic Composite Series wins the battle for shape and style versatility.

TimberTech's Classic Composite system features four different top rails with unique shapes and looks. Mixing and matching those four with TimberTech's baluster, glass, and cable options creates nearly endless possibilities for a railing that will set your deck apart from the neighborhood.

TimberTech Classic Composite railing with a drink rail

Here's a look at the four top rails you can choose from while building your TimberTech Classic Composite railing:

The timeless, traditional Premier Rail:

The Premier rail profile of TimberTech composite railing

The elegant, minimalist RadianceRail:

The Radiance rail profile of TimberTech composite railing

The modern, functional Drink Rail:

The Drink rail profile of TimberTech composite railing

The stately, classy Trademark Rail:

The Trademark rail profile of TimberTech composite railing

The customization doesn't stop with top rail shape. TimberTech offers three different post sleeve sizes so you can create a more substantial, classic look with 5-1/2-inch posts or a slimmed-down 4-¼-inch setup to save space.

You can choose black or white for your rails, posts, and post caps. But the best way to customize your railing is to choose from TimberTech's balusters, glass panels, or modern cable runs.

TimberTech's traditional composite balusters (think wood 2x2s, but slimmer and made out of low-maintenance material) come in white and black options for a really traditional look:

TimberTech Composite Railing With Composite Balusters

You can instead choose modern aluminum balusters. These metal balusters offer a slightly more contemporary look with a polished black finish, and you can choose between round or square balusters.

TimberTech Premier Railing with metal balusters

If you're really looking to go spectacular, skip the balusters and instead use TimberTech Classic Composite rails housing full glass panels to really open up a view of a lake or ocean:

TimberTech Glass Deck Railing

TimberTech is especially unique in offering a cable railing system using composite posts and rails. TimberTech teamed up with cable rail giant Feeney to create a timeless-looking system that blends traditional composite railing with ultra-modern stainless steel cable runs.

A TimberTech cable railing in front of a beautiful lake
Shop TimberTech Classic Composite

Trex Select Railing

Highlights:

  • Simple, elegant look
  • Lots of bang for your buck
  • Looks great with a drink rail
  • Classic white posts and rails with black metal balusters
Trex Select Railing opens up a view

Compared to the more complicated, customizable systems above, Trex Select takes a completely different path. Trex Select composite railing is a simplified, elegant system built on the classic contrast of white rails and black balusters.

Drilling down to one proven style allows Trex Select to deliver an amazing look at a high-value price point. And just like Trex Transcend, the trusted Trex brand name means you know you're getting a railing system that will weather the outdoor elements with ease for years to come.

Trex Select Railing with a drink rail

The other clear highlight of the Trex Select system is how amazing it looks with a Trex deck board used as a drink rail. The simplified Select system really highlights the deck board of your choice, which can match your deck surface for complete and polished deck look.

You can add some more color to your Trex Select railing with one of six post sleeve cover options - but the best way to personalize is to choose from Trex's huge range of deck boards for that functional-and-stylish drink rail.

A Trex Select drink rail with a cup of coffee

Shop Trex Select

TimberTech RadianceRail Express

Highlights:

  • Slimmed-down look with narrower posts and rails
  • Great value price point
  • Three color options for posts, rails, and balusters
TimberTech RadianceRail Express in brown

Another high-value composite railing option is TimberTech's RadianceRail Express line. The whole system is slimmed down from the trim top rail (shown below) to the narrow 4-1/4-inch post sleeves, which are among the narrowest in the composite railing space.

The TimberTech RadianceRail top rail profile

That pays off in two ways: the RadianceRail Express system achieves a stylish, minimalist look while also keeping costs low.

The top rail profile of a TimberTech RadianceRail

Even at that high-value price-point, TimberTech RadianceRail comes in three color options: black, white, and a brown shade called Kona - and you can mix and match different-colored rails, posts, and balusters if you wish.

TimberTech RadianceRail express on a large deck with a nice lawn
Shop RadianceRail Express

TimberTech Evolutions Rail - Builder Style

Highlights:

  • Tried & true wood 2x4 look translated to composite material
  • Stylish dark colors: black and brown
  • Options: square composite balusters, round aluminum balusters
A TimberTech Evolutions Rail Setup by a lake

If you really love the squared-off look of a classic wood railing, TimberTech's Evolutions Rail is a beautiful low-maintenance upgrade.

When it comes to decks, shapes matter. Decks are typically squares or rectangles, as are deck boards, and the spacing between boards creates long, straight lines and visually-appealing right angles. Many deck railings offer some contrast in shape with rounded-off profiles - but there's something really appealing about the consistency of squares, rectangles, and right angles across your deck.

That's effectively what makes TimberTech Evolutions Rail special. Imagine a totally traditional deck railing made of wood 2x4s and 4x4 wood posts. Now replace all the wood elements with composite material that looks better longer and never needs to be painted. That's TimberTech Evolutions Rail.

The classic wood look of TimberTech composite Evolutions Rail Builder

The sleek balusters are metal, which adds a slightly more modern feel. And TimberTech Evolutions comes in two darker colors (Classic Black and Traditional Walnut) for a classic color scheme.

Plus, the contemporary top rail looks great and doubles as a functional drink rail:

TimberTech Evolutions Rail Builder Style Top Rail Profile
Shop TimberTech Evolutions
Trex composite railing creates an amazing deck with classic styling


Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in our Deck Framing Guide and learn deck parts and terminology in the DecksDirect Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide: the quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a showstopping cable rail setup.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new project, a deck update, or a style refresh, give our deck project planners a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our experienced team will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for an awesome deck completely personalized to your needs!