Deck Railings: Selecting the Right One Deck Railings: Selecting the Right One

If you are building a deck or perhaps updating a current one, selecting the right deck railing for your deck can be a challenge. There are many choices you can make.


Deck railings usually are made of wood that is routed to have a curve to the edges and are very plain. This is a traditional deck railing. Most people choose pressure treated lumber to make this type of railing as it withstands weather very well with little upkeep. Usually with this type of railing plain spindles that are either round or square may be used and spaced to code for your area. This type of railing may be left to weather or you may stain or paint it. This is also the least expensive of the choices if built from pressure treated wood.

If you choose to use another type of wood such as redwood or cedar, your cost will be a bit more substantial but the look is different as is the upkeep. Cedar resists rot and insects. Redwood is hard and has the added benefit of color without stain. Either of these makes a good deck railing and is readily available at your local home repair center.

Wrought Iron

On the highest end of the price spectrum is wrought iron deck rails and spindles. These are usually put together to form one piece and can be installed either by you or a professional. Different styles and heights are available also. This type of railing looks better on a modern or contemporary home. If you get a good quality wrought iron there is little upkeep of this type of railing.

There are now wrought iron panels available at home centers that can be used with either wrought iron rails or wooden rails. These panels are very graphic and may depict things like nature scenes, deer, log cabins, fish jumping and any number of deck suitable themes. These are placed at intervals on a deck along with wood or wrought iron spindles and then a wood or wrought iron railing.


If you really don't want to spend time repairing, staining and coating your deck rails then the vinyl alternative is the choice for you. Vinyl deck components are available in many styles and are usually white but can be painted to match your homes outdoor color theme. These vinyl rails look exactly like wood and are hard to detect. They are weather resistant and unless you paint them, just a hosing down will keep them looking like new season after season. Most home centers stock this type of product now and many sizes can be ordered if you need extra long pieces or taller railings.


A new addition to the deck railing is the clear sides or sheets of plexiglass type material. These are also called 'non obstructed' railings because they don't block your view. These are used especially around pools or if you have a spectacular view from your deck that you don't want obstructed by a railing. You will feel like there is no barrier at all.

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