There are so many options when it comes to building a new deck, it can be difficult to navigate all the choices. One of these choices is deck railing. Among all the different styles, it’s important to be aware of which options are most price effective. That’s why we made a quick summary of each basic material and it’s relative cost when compared to others.
Much like fences, there are a few main types of materials to consider when choosing deck railing. The most popular are wood, composite and aluminum. Cable railing is a fourth type unique to decks, and not as common. People have different reasons for preferring each of these, and they all have their unique pros and cons.
First up we have wooden railing. This is the most affordable option, the most customizable and the most traditional. Downsides include higher maintenance and shorter lifespan.
Next up the price list, we have aluminum railing. This option is growing in popularity due to its low-maintenance needs and long lasting durability. It also has a very modern, sleek look. However, it does cost more than wood rails, and can be more difficult to customize. If damage does occur to the railing, it can also be difficult/more expensive to repair than wood.
Nearing the top of the price list, we have composite railing. This can be described as a “happy medium” between aluminum and wood. It is highly durable and has a long lifespan, but is also more custom than aluminum, with more options available and easier material to work with. These types of systems usually get installed onto wooden, pressure-treated posts that are covered by composite post-sleeves.
If you are going all-out for a unique and modern look, cable railing is typically the most expensive option available for deck railing. Typically made with steel posts, this railing system uses horizontal steel cables under tension to form sleek, low-profile railings. These types are almost always the most expensive option, as the materials are pricier and the installation can be laborious.
Hopefully this quick introduction to deck railings can help you discover what works best for your home and your budget!
-Written by Jeremiah Oropeza, Crew Lead, PHM