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Shopping Checklist: TimberTech Classic Composite Railing

Everything You Need For A Complete TimberTech Classic Composite Deck Railing

If you've got a classic home with traditional architecture, you can upgrade your deck railing to a more modern, low-maintenance option without clashing against your existing traditional style: just choose TimberTech Classic Composite!

The beauty of TimberTech composite railing is that it translates the proven style of classic wood deck railing into a long-lasting, low-maintenance framework of wood-plastic composite parts. And TimberTech has a ton of customization options to get the exact look you want.

Below, check out our three-step process to pick your TimberTech Classic Composite railing setup and get every part and piece you'll need to install it. For even more personalized planning help, give us a call at 1-888-824-5316.

A substantial, stylish TimberTech railing with sleek black balusters

Table of Contents

Planning Your Deck Project

A classic TimberTech composite railing with the Premier Rail top rail

The first step in planning out your deck railing is to measure your deck space. It's helpful to draw out your deck's layout, measuring and labeling the lengths of each outside edge.

Most of your deck railing sections will fall into one of two categories: level sections for the edges of your deck or angled sections for stairs. Fortunately, TimberTech Classic Composite Railing uses the same rail kits for both sections - that makes shopping easy, and the only extra step is cutting stair railing sections at the right angle.

Below, we'll run through the three steps to planning your TimberTech railing, including checklists of everything you need to buy at each step to get every part you need in one single order.

As always, we staff a team of experienced deck project planners to help you plan for all of your deck's unique features. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 for totally personalized project planning!

Step 1: Choose Your Top Rail Shape

Shopping Checklist

A full section of TimberTech composite railing, including all the parts you need

The horizontal sections of any TimberTech Classic Composite Railing come in a rail pack that includes the top rail, bottom rail, plus all brackets and supports you'll need to attach them to posts. Create your shopping checklist by deciding which rail kit you want.

TimberTech Classic Composite Railing allows nearly unlimited customization by mixing and matching different top rail shapes with different "infill" (a decking term for what fills in between the larger posts and rails). The first step is choosing what top rail shape, or profile, you want.

A TimberTech railing with a flat top drink rail

The 4 Top Rail Options For TimberTech Composite Railing:

Premier Rail: Timeless and traditional

The shape of the TimberTech Premier Rail top rail

RadianceRail: Elegant and refined

The shape of the TimberTech RadianceRail top rail

Trademark Rail: Stately and character-rich

The shape of the TimberTech Trademark Rail top rail

Drink Rail: Modern and functional

The shape of the TimberTech Drink Rail top rail

Step 2: Choose Your Balusters (Or a Different Look)

Shopping Checklist

The second step is choosing between TimberTech's rich selection of infill looks. "Infill" is a decking term for the smaller accents that go between the thick posts and rails. In many cases, railing uses thin vertical balusters, though TimberTech also allows for some unique infill look options.

We'll focus specifically on Timbertech's balusters, which can be thin, modern aluminum balusters like these…

TimberTech railing with aluminum balusters

...or thicker, more substantial composite balusters like these:

TimberTech railing with composite balusters

For your shopping checklist, just choose the baluster pack you want. You'll get a kit of identical balusters with a range of choices in material, shape and color. For example, you can get sleek round metal balusters like these:

A pile of round aluminum balusters for TimberTech Classic Composite railing

... or more traditional square aluminum balusters like these.

A pile of square aluminum balusters for TimberTech Classic Composite railing

You can trend even more traditional with bright white composite balusters…

A pile of white composite balusters for TimberTech Classic Composite railing

...or create a timeless look with stylish black composite balusters.

A pile of black composite balusters for TimberTech Classic Composite railing

If you want to get even more unique, you can also use TimberTech Classic Composite Railing with either stainless steel cable runs or full glass panels - both ideal ways to highlight your deck's view.

For cable railing, you'll need to buy a handful of extra components: 1/8-inch Feeney cable to create each run, CableRail Hardware Kits to connect them, a CableRail Installation Accessory Kit and intermediate balusters for longer railing sections.

TimberTech composite railing with sleek, stylish cable runs

For glass railing, you'll need a glass channel kit to fit into your top and bottom rail, creating a channel to fit glass panels. You'll want to source your glass panels locally to get them cut to the exact right size for each section of your railing.

TimberTech composite railing with luxurious glass panels

For help planning either of these more complicated infill options, we'd suggest giving our team a call at 1-888-824-5316. We'll help you measure your deck and get the perfect amount of each component so you can complete your project in one fell swoop.

Step 3: Add Posts & Trim

TimberTech composite railing gets its sturdy, substantial look from its sizable posts. Those posts are actually hollow post sleeves, which slide over the top of traditional wood posts (or structural post inserts, which we'll get into later on).

A hollow post sleeve made of wood-plastic composite material

To finish out your post look, make sure to add a decorative post skirt at the bottom and a post cap at the top.

A composite post skirt

Post skirts are simple, one-piece rings that slide over the top of your post cap. Post caps are decorative accents, and in typical TimberTech fashion, they come in a huge range of styles. You can check out the classic TimberTech Island style below, in both black and white - but we'll also run through some lighted options later on in this guide.

A composite post cap in the TimberTech Island style
A sleek black composite post cap for TimberTech railing

If you're replacing a wood railing with TimberTech composite, simply slide the post sleeves over your existing wood posts. If you don't have posts (or need to replace the worn ones you do have), you can use a structural post like the one below, which easily mounts to your deck surface and provides structural support for your railing, covered by the post sleeve for a finished look.

A handy structural post to support a composite railing system

You can mount the structural post to wood, pressure-treated, composite or PVC decking using GRK Pheinox™ RSS™ Rugged Screws that are at least 4 inches long. You'll also need at least 4 inches of blocking attached to your deck framing under each post.

Use Pheinox RSS Rugged Stainless Steel Structural Screws to mount deck railing posts onto wood, pressure-treated, composite, or PVC decking

How To Get An Angled Section

  • Same Rail Kit as a regular railing section

Unlike many railing systems, TimberTech doesn't require any special bracketry to attach a railing to a post at an odd angle. The same brackets and supports that come with any standard rail kit will work for angled connections!

Other Notes

A TimberTech composite deck railing on a set of deck stairs

Here are a few special situations that might apply to your deck, and how to tailor your shopping list to include them.

How To Measure Your Deck For TimberTech Railing Sections

TimberTech Classic Composite Railing comes in 6-foot or 8-foot rail kits. The 6-foot kits are "true" dimensions, meaning the rails you buy are a full six feet long. When installed between posts, they'll create a railing section that's actually slightly longer than six feet.

TimberTech's 8-foot rail kits use "on-center" dimensions. That means the rails themselves are slightly shorter than eight feet, and when installed between two posts, they'll create a railing section that is a full 8 feet long "on-center," measuring from the center of one post to the center of the next post. Using on-center measurements allows the longer railing sections to ship more easily, saving you shipping costs on your project.

Typically, you'll have to cut down your rails to fit your space. That's easy to do - we'll run through it below:

How To Cut A Railing Section To A Smaller Size

It's easy to cut through TimberTech's composite material to perfectly fit your railing sections to your deck's unique dimensions. Just use a thin kerf saw blade and cut slowly to keep your rails from chipping.

Can I Cut Down One Railing Section Into Two Smaller Sections?

If you need two smaller railing sections, you can save on materials by buying one longer rail section and cutting it into two smaller pieces you can use in two different places on your deck. Use the same thin kerf sawblade that we mentioned above.

A few things to keep in mind if you plan to cut a longer section down into two shorter sections:

You'll need an extra set of brackets. Each rail kit only comes with enough brackets and hardware to fit a single rail section. So if you're cutting one rail kit into two, you'll need to buy an extra set of rail brackets and hardware.

Allow for some lost length during cutting. Make sure you buy a rail long enough to fit both your sections, plus a little extra. As you cut the rail apart, you'll have to make sure the baluster holes are spaced properly from your posts - that means it's inevitable that some of the rail will have to be cut and thrown away. For example, you won't be able to buy a 6-foot section to cover two 3-foot sections - we'd recommend buying at least one extra foot. For example, buy a 6-foot rail section to cut down into two 2-1/2-foot rail sections.

Optional Upgrades: Deck Lighting

As you're planning your new TimberTech deck railing, don't forget to consider lighting. Lighting up your deck is a surefire way to turn your space into an unforgettable outdoor oasis, and it'll also allow you to spend more time outdoors on your deck, increasing the return on your investment in a new railing.

Even if you don't want to add lighting immediately, you can always plan to upgrade your railing with lights down the road. Here are a few ways you can plan to add lighting to your TimberTech Classic Composite Railing.

A classic, traditional deck railing lit up at night by a lake

Lighted Post Caps

Instead of the traditional post caps we showed above, you can choose lighted post caps that will illuminate the boundaries of your deck in a warm, inviting light.

TimberTech offers a low voltage version of its Island Post Cap, with the same classic style, but adorned with downward-facing lights. You can even choose to use lighted post caps on the corners of your deck and unlit post caps in between, getting a consistent look across your railing.

A lighted island post cap from TimberTech
Shop Post Cap Lights

Other Railing Lights

You can also mount lights to your railing posts. TimberTech's Accent Rail Light is a great choice, smoothly mounting to your post sleeve and casting light downwards to create safe footpaths for you and your guests.

A post-mounted railing light from TimberTech
Shop Rail Lights

More Deck Project Resources