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Wood Deck Railing Refresh Ideas

7 Ways To Bring New Life To A Worn Wood Deck Railing

Do you have a cherished wood deck that's slowly losing its luster?

If so, you aren't alone. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to refresh an old wood deck, even if your time and budget are limited. Here are some of our deck experts favorite wood deck railing projects.

How to refresh a worn wooden ceck using balusters, post caps, pergolas & more
Wood Railing Transformed With Feeney CableRail Kits

7 Great Wood Deck Railing Refresh Ideas

#1: Add Simple Decorative Post Caps

What we love about this project:
  • Ultra fast
  • Makes a remarkable difference to your look
  • Tons of styles to choose from
A wood deck railing refreshed with sleek balusters and post caps

You know how the right hat can completely transform the look of an outfit? The same principle works for deck railings - a stylish post cap adds an incredible amount of personality to a generic wood deck railing.

Simple post caps are the quickest and easiest way to dress up a deck railing - bar none. Installation is as simple as can be: you can just set the post cap in place, or you can secure it with a screw or a thin line of silicone rubber sealant.

A stylish metal post cap on top of a wood deck railing

Plus, there's no end to the looks you can choose from. You can get sturdy metal post caps for a modern look. You can add a range of colors with vinyl post caps, or even get rustic wood post caps to match your wood railing.

Bonus tip: we'll run through lighting as a whole below, but you can also get post caps with lights built in so you get extra flair in both day and night.

A wood deck railing with metal balusters and post caps
Shop Post Caps

#2: Swap Out Worn Balusters For Sleek Metal Baluster

What we love about this project:
  • Huge impact on your look for the time invested
  • Lots of baluster options to choose from for a personalized look
  • Saves on yearly upkeep and maintenance

Too often, a stylish wood deck railing is diminished by twisted, splintering wood balusters. What if you could keep the rustic and enduring style of thicker wood posts and rails, but swap out those weathering balusters for something more modern?

Wood railing with round aluminum balusters

That's where metal balusters come in. You can give a wood deck railing an entirely new look by installing modern metal balusters between the existing posts and rails.

You can choose between square and round balusters in a variety of colors and finishes to dial in the perfect look for your deck. You can find simple baluster connectors to make installation easy.

And if you choose face-mount balusters (as shown below), you can even install them without removing your top rail! That cuts down on installation time and can make baluster replacement a quick, one-day project.

Wood railing with easy to install face mount balusters
Shop Balusters
A revamped wood deck with a gorgeous pergola and metal balusters

#3: Light It Up With Easy Deck Lighting

What we love about this project:
  • Extends the hours you can use your deck
  • Luxurious, attention-grabbing upgrade
  • Solar options for easier installation; Low voltage options for more control
A set of deck stairs lit up by warm, inviting deck lights

If you're looking for flash, there's no better way to upgrade your deck than with a lighting system. Deck lights add a level of pizzazz to make your deck stand out in the neighborhood. And there's nothing quite like the luxurious glow of soft outdoor lighting to make a deck feel cozy and inviting.

The other great part about lights? They literally add usable hours to your deck, allowing you to enjoy a late-night glass of wine in the Great Outdoors, or a cup of coffee in the quiet calm before sunrise.

Like regular post caps, lighted post caps give your deck character and flair even when the sun is out. There's a massive range of shapes, styles, and materials you can choose from (shameless plug here for our in-stock selection of lighted post caps, which is the largest in the country).

Deck stairs using lighted post caps for safety and style
A wood deck railing with a lighted post cap affixed on top

You can also choose post caps to fit your budget and your timeline. If you want the quickest and easiest installation, we recommend solar deck lights, which don't require any wiring.

A wood deck refreshed with metal balusters and metal post caps

If you choose low voltage post caps, you'll get a little more control over your lights. You can manually turn them on and off when you need them, and you can also attach them to dimmers and timers.

A bright wood deck with lighted post caps installed on each post

The wiring on modern low voltage lighting systems is remarkably easy. Most brands use plug-and-play fittings that are basically as easy as plugging Christmas lights into an extension cord. We recommend using simple wood trim to hide your wiring for a sleek, finished look:

A wood deck railing using wood trim to hide low voltage lighting wires
How to install wood trim to hide wides in your deck lighting setup
Shop Lighting

#4: Insert Classy, Modern Cable Rail Kits

What we love about this project:
  • Totally stylish look
  • Improves your deck view

If you're looking for a larger-scale revamp, transitioning your wood railing to cable railing is a game-changer.

A cedar wood deck railing with Feeney cable runs between the posts

Brands like Feeney have taken complex cable fittings and simplified them down into straightforward kits that can turn any set of wood posts into a classy, modern cable railing setup.

The cable adds a modern, industrial look to the traditional character of the wood. The result is a timeless deck railing that will never go out of style.

And the best bonus is the view. Stainless steel cable is polished and twisted so that instead of reflecting the light like most metals, it actually absorbs the light. The organic gray color of the stainless steel virtually disappears into the natural setting beyond, giving your deck a maximized view.

Getting all the right parts and fittings for cable railing can be tricky, which is why we love helping customers get exactly what they need to complete their project in one order. Check out what one customer did to their wood railing with our help:

Before

A wood deck railing before the owner refreshed the setup with cable

After

A wood deck railing after the owner replaced wood balusters with modern cable runs

Check out those stylin' metal post caps, too!

Wood deck railing that has had wood balusters replaced by cable to accent the lake view
Shop Cable Kits

#5: Add Character With Wild Hog Mesh Panels

What we love about this project:
  • Distinctive mesh look stands out from the neighborhood
  • Super versatile - Wild Hog looks great in modern high rises or rustic farmhouses
  • Sturdy and view-enhancing
A rustic wood railing setup with decorative Wild Hog wire panels installed

Another slightly larger wood deck revamp is to replace traditional balusters with super distinctive Wild Hog mesh panels.

Wild Hog panels are designed to be totally versatile. You can install them between wood posts and rails in almost any style or setting. From modern high rises to rustic cabins, mesh panels are shockingly at home in any locale.

If you've already got wood posts and rails, the easiest way to add Wild Hog panels is probably using Hog Tracks, a simple kit of channels that attach to your posts and rails and hold the Wild Hog panel firmly in place.

The other thing that's great about Wild Hog panels is how unobtrusive they are to your view. Similar to cable, Wild Hog's earthy colors blend into the background for a safe, sturdy railing you almost can't see from far away.

Wood railing gains new life with Wild Hog mesh panels and Hog Tracks installed between the posts and rails
Shop Wild Hog Panels

#6: Dress It Up With A Stunning Pergola

What we love about this project:
  • Quick & easy to install
  • Visually stunning, even from far away
  • Creates shade and the opportunity for lighting or special features like hammocks
A beautiful wood railing next to a classic pergola with dogs enjoying the space

Maybe you want to spruce up your wood deck (pun intended) without messing with your existing railing. If so, a pergola is the solution you're looking for. Pergolas are a stunning feature that scream luxury - not just to guests on your deck, but even to friends and neighbors who drive or walk by.

Because pergolas are often made of wood, they're a great match for wood decks. You can match the wood tones already present in your space, stain everything a new color, or draw out an eye-catching contrast.

We love LINX pergolas because they're easy to customize. Just choose a ready-made pergola kit with all the steel pergola connections you need for a standard pergola. Then choose the wood beams of your choice, or add STIX Timber that's strong, lightweight, and looks great with LINX connections.

An outdoor kitchen with stylish wood accents including a hog wire railing and a LINX pergola

One more great thing about pergolas: they give you the perfect framework to add other luxury features to your deck, like pergola lighting, a sun-shade, or a built-in hammock.

Shop Pergolas

#7: Upgrade To Low-Maintenance Composite Deck Railing

What we love about this project:
  • Classic wood look without the maintenance
  • A huge range of colors and styles to choose from
  • Can incorporate your existing wood posts
A Trex composite railing can be a great replacement for weathered wood railing, giving the same classic look with lower maintenance

If you're looking for an even more drastic overhaul of your wood deck style, consider replacing your wood deck railing with a modern option that will cut your yearly maintenance almost to zero.

Enter composite railing. Think the classic style and look of painted wood railing - but you never have to paint it. Composite railing is awesome. You can pick from a huge range of stylish colors with a smooth finish that doesn't crack, splinter, or warp the way wood does.

If you want the most color options, check out Trex Transcend composite railing . If you want a choice of four different top rail shapes, try TimberTech Classic Composite . If you really want a unique look, you can customize either system with a range of different looks from round balusters to mesh panels to cable to luxe full glass panels.

A TimberTech composite railing offers the look of painted wood, but never needs painting or re-painting and doesn't rot, crack, or splinter

You can save time and money by reusing your existing wood posts within your composite railing system, too. Just slide a post sleeve over the top of your posts and save the trouble of mounting new ones!

Shop Composite Railing

More Deck Project Resources