How to Choose a Metal Deck Railing System

How to Choose a Metal Deck Railing System

For new DIY deck builds or beautiful backyard deck renovations, the wide array of deck material options available can feel both exciting and intimidating. But once you have your deck frame securely constructed, and you've chosen the perfect deck board to match your outdoor space, now is the time to select the metal deck railing system that helps bring your outdoor deck space to life!

Metal deck railing systems are available in a plethora of designs, brands, profiles, and finishes to complement your home's outdoor aesthetic. Choose from aluminum deck railing brands such as AFCO Pro aluminum railing, Westbury aluminum railing, Century aluminum railing, and Trex Signature railing; or browse the strong style of steel deck railing such as the Fortress FE26 railing. From aluminum deck balusters to stainless steel cable railing infill; metal deck railing is an incredibly broad deck railing type where the customization is key.

Choosing the Right Metal Deck Railing System for You

Learn the steps you need to know on how to choose a metal deck railing system like the Westbury Tuscany aluminum railing line

Why Choose a Metal Deck Railing Line?

Aluminum deck railing and metal deck railing will hold up to even the toughest weather elements including rain, hail, snow, and ice, to even the most direct and harmful sunlight and UV rays. Metal deck railing systems are powder-coated and highly resistant to corrosion, rust, decay, insect issues, and more. Also, metal railing and aluminum railing can last for decades without fading in its beauty or its structural strength.

On top of its durability, metal deck railing systems are also low-maintenance and require very minimal effort to upkeep. No annual painting, staining, or treatment is necessary to keep your aluminum deck railing looking its very best. Simply wash with some gentle liquid detergent soap and water if your metal deck railing system is experiencing any loose dirt or grim.

Shop for the Perfect Metal Railing for Your Outdoor Space

In just a few simple steps, you can find the ideal deck railing setup for your family's outdoor lifestyle and backyard style and aesthetic.

Determine Your Budget

The initial step in choosing your ideal metal deck railing is to determine a reasonable budget for your outdoor living space. Begin by measuring the distances of your outdoor area where you will be installing a deck railing. This will be along the outer perimeter of your space as well as any exterior staircase railings or differences in deck surface levels.

Check out this quick video to ensure you get the perfect deck railing measurements in minutes.

Research Your Deck Railing Materials

While the majority of metal deck railing brands are easy-to-install, long-lasting, and gorgeous; there are some crucial factors to consider when choosing a railing line. Aluminum deck railing lines lightweight and eco-friendly. This will make DIY deck railing installations quicker as moving, holding, and trimming deck rails will be easier than even standard wood.

Steel deck railing lines, such as the Fortress FE26 railing line will be significantly stronger than aluminum deck rails. This allows steel deck rails to span longer distances without a post needed which will deliver a more clear, open view. Steel railings resemble older wrought-iron styles with thin top and bottom rails.

There's also the option of installing a cable deck railing line that would feature powder-coated aluminum deck posts and runs of stainless steel cable runs as the railing infill. This combines the lightweight quality of aluminum deck railing with the resilience of stainless steel while creating a gorgeous vista that homeowners can see through.

Read more about what to look for as you shop around for the best metal deck railing system to match with your home's style and aesthetic like this Century Aluminum railing deck update

Check Local Building Codes

When DIY building or designing something as fun as a deck, it can be easy to forget about building codes. However, ensuring that your deck railing is compliant is a crucial step. Confirm with your local building office any specific deck building and deck railing guidelines in place. These deck building rules can vary from state to state, region to region, and even county to county.

A helpful rule of thumb is that generally across the United States, deck railing must be at least 36 inches high from the decking surface to the top edge of the top deck rail. In some areas such as California and Washington, deck railings often must be 42 inches in height. Metal railings also must be between 42 to 42 inches in height if installed on a third-story location or higher. Be sure to confirm your specific laws before ordering and installing.

Decide Your Deck Post Mount

One of the first ways to narrow down your metal deck railing options is to determine how you would like your deck posts to be installed. There are two ways for metal deck railing posts to be mounted: surface mount or fascia mount.

Surface mount deck posts will be anchored to the deck frame and substructure via structural screws or lags through the pre-welded base plate at the bottom of the post. Quick to install, surface mount deck posts will keep the installation time low and offer more width options to complete your deck style.

Fascia mount deck posts are attached to the rim joists, or outer edges, of your deck rather than on the top of the deck. Fascia deck posts are generally thinner as they are offered to keep deck views clear and open. They are a great deck railing option for a smaller deck or balcony where every inch of deck space should be featured. Fascia deck posts are available for Westbury aluminum railings, Fortress FE26 railing, and Trex Signature aluminum railing.

All metal deck railing systems are offered with surface mount deck posts, however, fewer railing lines offer fascia mount deck posts. Decide which mounting style best fits your space and go from there!

Learn more about how to shop for a metal deck railing system and choose the perfect one to complete your home such as the Fortress AL13 Home railing line

Choose Your Deck Railing Design and Style

There are dozens of railing profile and style options when it comes to installing a deck railing. First off, consider how you and your family will use your deck. Are you looking for something that blends in with the beauty of nature around you? Something that will highlight your backyard views? Then lean more toward a sleek, thin deck railing which allows you to see beyond the railing rather than focus on it such as the Fortress AL13 Home aluminum deck railing.

Is your outdoor space going to be a popular hangout spot? Does the architectural style of your home require a bolder, more substantial deck railing design that begs to be admired? Select a metal deck railing line with thick deck posts and a stylish, notable top rail profile such as the Deckorators ALX Classic deck railing line.

Choose Your Deck Railing Color

Once you’ve determined how you’ll use your deck and the overall atmosphere of your outdoor living area; you'll want to explore your color and texture options to find a deck railing that complements your home, and your personal taste. Depending upon the architectural style of your home, you’ll need to decide if you want your deck railing to match or contrasts with your home's trim and siding.

For classical style homes such as Craftsman or Ranch, typically you'll choose a deck railing finish in the same color or tone as your home's trim. This will help your home and outdoor area feel cohesive. More modern or contemporary architectural home styles can often achieve high decorative points with a contrasting deck railing color to make the outdoor living space pop when compared to the other.

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