Designing Aluminum Porch Railing for Custom Wood Stairs Designing Aluminum Porch Railing for Custom Wood Stairs

What You'll Need
AutoCAD software program for your computer (ideal)
Printer
Drafting paper
Measuring tape
Carpenter's square
Aluminum porch railing support poles
Aluminum pole bases
Aluminum porch railing balusters
Glass or fiberglass panels
Aluminum top rails

When designing your railing for custom wood stairs, consider aluminum as the material you will use. It is lightweight, strong, and resists stains, moisture and weather well. Follow these tips and suggestions when designing your aluminum porch railing to complement your custom wood stairs, and ensure the safety and comfort of your family and visitors.

Step 1: Measure Carefully to Ensure the Best Fit

Measure the entire area where you want your aluminum porch railings to go, including stair rails. Allow sufficient spacing at the top of stairs. Design your aluminum porch railing with 1 support pole every 12 inches (minimum) to 15 inches at most.

Step 2: Consult Design Books, Magazines and Online Design Websites

Look at a wide variety of photos in design books, magazines and online design websites. Also check out photos of finished projects on websites of porch railing suppliers. You can get many ideas of what will suit your outdoor decor, and save yourself from expensive errors in choosing your style of aluminum porch railing.

Step 3: Choose the Exterior Finish of Your Porch Railings

With aluminum porch railings, a wide range of finishes are available. For a contemporary home with lots of steel and glass, choose a brushed silvery aluminum finish. For a home with white framed vinyl windows, choose a white powder-coated aluminum railing. For a more traditional home or a historic home, select a black powder-coated finish that mimics the elegance of wrought iron without the maintenance. Copper-glazed finishes, anodized to prevent tarnishing, would also suit a home finished in rich red brick.

Step 4: Choose the Shape of Your Balusters

For a traditional or historic home, choose an ornamental baluster with a curved or twisted vertical stem. Another style is the wide, flat baluster with a cutout border and perforations. For a contemporary home, choose sleek thick cylindrical balusters or crisp square profile balusters. You could also choose to forego balusters altogether, and use tempered glass or fiberglass panels between the support posts instead. If you select this design, place the support posts 18 to 24 inches apart. This will help maximize the view through the panels when guests are seated on your porch or deck. At a chalet-type cottage, choose slim black rods as your baluster style.

Step 5: Choose Your Corner Post Tops

Corner post tops come in a wide range of styles from acorns to pagodas. The simpler the architectural style of your building, the more basic your corner post tops should be. Choose a more ornate style for a porch attached to a Victorian, Georgian or Queen Anne home.

Step 6: Select the Top Rails

Choose top rails that fit well with the style of the posts and balusters. Contemporary top rails should have a simple rectangular profile. Traditional handrails have a curved top and base indentation, much like crown molding inside the home. Make sure that porch railings for the stairs are solid and easy to grasp for complete security on the staircase.

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