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8 Deck Railing Materials and 12 Designs to Consider

White railing porch with ceiling fans



Deciding on the deck railing materials and design that will work best for your deck takes careful time and consideration. Although they serve as barrier systems, deck railings add beauty and visual impact, accentuating your home.


Read about the material options below to see which one would work best for your deck.



8 Types of Deck Railing Materials:



1. Cable

Cable railings are a great choice if you’re looking for unobstructed views and a modern design. Easy-to-install, customizable, and low-maintenance, cable railings can be durable and weather-resistant.


It’s necessary to note that cable railings aren’t kid friendly and could potentially not meet code in certain areas.



2. Wood

Wood is one of the most popular deck railing materials that is used. Consider choosing this option if you want a seamless choice that matches your wooden decking.


It’s easy to install, cost-effective, and pressure treated wood like cedar or redwood are reliable. Painting and staining the wood are options, but will require refinishing. However, if you choose to utilize durable hardwood, your decking can last as long as 25 years.

Wood will require more routine maintenance and upkeep in order to stay in ideal condition than other decking materials. Prepare to have it stained, painted, or sealed every year or two.



3. Composite

Composite deck railings have the look of wood, but are easier to maintain.


They’re made from a combination of durable plastic and wood fiber. Because of this, it doesn’t splinter, bow or warp like traditional wood railings can.

These railings require little to no upkeep and you won’t need to refinish it but the colours can lighten over time.



4. Vinyl

Vinyl is an excellent eco-friendly deck railing option that is incredibly durable and is available in numerous different styles.


Unlike wood, vinyl does not require maintenance. It doesn’t crack, fade, or splinter, meaning that you will not need to seal or stain it. Vinyl is also a stronger material than wood and is fire-resistant.

Keep in mind that there are limited colour options and vinyl deck railing may not work for older styles of homes.



5. Glass

Glass railings can be a very stylish choice of deck material, especially if you live somewhere with a view or wind.



Glass railing overlooking backyard


Elegant and polished, there are multiple glass options for this deck railing choice. Frosted, clear, tinted, raindrop, and pinhead are all potential styles that can be customized further with etched designs.

This material will require a deck contractor, regular cleaning, and it can increase the temperature of the deck.



6. Steel

Incredibly durable, steel deck railings can withstand a variety of conditions, are simple to install, and can replicate the look of wrought iron. However, steel is very heavy to work with and has the possibility of rusting.



7. Aluminum Pipe

Very lightweight, versatile, durable, and long-lasting, aluminum pipe deck railings are a reliable choice of material.


These distinctive railings won’t be worn down by extreme weather conditions and aren’t subject to corroding, rotting or staining. Aluminum pipe railings are commonly seen with apartments and can look a bit commercial in appearance, so they may not fit your design preferences.



8. Mix It Up

It is possible to be daring and use more than one material for your deck railings.


Mix it up, and try a wooden baserail, handrail, and posts with vinyl balusters or integrate aluminum pipe and cable. There countless combinations that are available, so don’t be afraid to try them.

Now that we’ve established deck railing materials, there are different styles to consider as well.



10 Deck Railing Styles



1. Traditional Posts and Balusters

Traditional white posts and balusters are an uncomplicated, classic design choice.



2. Cedar and Steel

Clean and contemporary, cedar and stainless steel cable railings compliment each other well and serves as a natural focal point against a dark-toned home.



3. Geometric

Bespoke wooden slats arranged in a unique design act as a distinct design for a signature deck railing design.



4. Built-In Seating and Planter

A multi-functional option that can be made from composite or wood, this design incorporates a simple railing with a connecting bench and planter.


This option can be elevated with additional design elements such as plants or flowers in the planter, and outdoor cushions on the connected bench.



5. Curved

A curved wooden railing offers a classic look to any deck design that is soft and inviting.



6. Horizontal

Horizontal porch railings are a great choice if you enjoy midcentury modern design.


A cedar railing with horizontal lines can create a dramatic statement against a white home.



7. Contemporary

Cable railings that lead up a wooden stairway to a covered deck provide a modern mix of materials.



Cable railing on deck


The metal will not need to be maintained frequently, and it provides a pleasant contrast against the wood deck and stairs.



8. Elegance

Railings that are a combination of painted and stained wood with pointed end caps are dramatic and elegant.



9. Minimalist Railing

Linear and simplistic, a minimalist rail acts as its own statement piece that doesn’t need too many materials or extra flair.


Perfect for a modern deck, a black steel railing compliments this style well.



10. Warm Wood

Wooden decks with matching railings are a simple choice that provide warmth and a rustic look reminiscent of a cozy cabin retreat.



11. Cut-Out Design

Subtle, built-in charm for your deck railing can be found by adding small, cut-out designs.


Tree or star silhouettes integrated into a painted wooden railing mirror beachy costal designs, and you can choose other symbols like pineapples or fleur-de-lis for equally unique, eye-catching results.



12. Go Bold or Go Home

When in doubt, the bolder the better.


An oversized horizontal porch railing that’s been painted a complementary, eye-catching colour that will stand out against your home can be an excellent design choice. Pearly white paint can punctuate a house with flair.




After you select the right railing materials for your deck, there are so many different designs that you can choose from.


Look to the examples above for inspiration in your deck re-design and watch your space completely transform with the perfect railing choice.




Paul Hickman at 9:00 AM
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