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Do you want to elevate your home’s curb appeal without re-doing the entire exterior? Updating your deck railing system is a great way to revamp your outdoor space. High-end railings provide easier maintenance, enhanced safety, and attractive appearances.

At Pacific Outdoor Living, we aim to transform each client’s outdated yard into a luxurious outdoor living space. Continue reading to learn about the different high-end railing options for your deck!

high end deck railing options

What Is a Deck Railing, and Why Is It Important?

The deck railing is the fence that lines the perimeter of your deck. Aside from style, deck railings provide safety precautions for elevated deck platforms.

Building codes also require installing railings on different elevated surfaces or deck stairs. You need them to keep your house legal. Attempting to sell a home that’s not up-to-code will create unnecessary complications and delays for you. Luckily, you have plenty of rail ideas to choose between!

Deck Railing Ideas and Styles

When selecting the deck rail, some homeowners opt for a high-end modern look while others 

prefer the standard natural look. You can achieve either of these styles based on the materials you choose. All deck railings offer different pros and cons, so continue reading to learn which might be optimal for your needs.

High-End: Steel Systems

Steel railings are the most durable and expensive. The system might use entirely steel parts or a mix of wood and other materials with the metal balusters or wrought iron railing. Balusters refer to the vertical columns that support the handrails.

Many modern homeowners prefer stainless steel railings for the sleek design, durability, easy cleaning, minimal upkeep, corrosion resistance, and clean finish. If you’re not a fan of how metal railings look, you can also paint the steel system to match your preferences.

High-End: Aluminum Alternatives

Many DIY homeowners choose aluminum for its affordability and installation ease. Aluminum balusters and rails offer a similar finish to steel, though they’re lighter, cheaper, and less corrosion-resistant. If you’re concerned about corrosion, you can paint on extra protective layers to increase durability.

Aluminum railings also come in various colors to match your home’s style. Unlike a wood or vinyl deck surface, an aluminum railing requires zero maintenance and lasts a long time, even when not pressure-treated. We recommend choosing an aluminum railing if you desire a metal railing but not its price tag.

High-End: Glass Panels

A glass railing isn’t a handrail made of glass but instead, a series of glass balusters and panels inserted between the support beams of a structural system. Typically, you’ll see a wrought iron railing and spaced-out support beams with windows between the spaces.

Glass panel railings are popular among homeowners who want to increase the visibility on their deck so they can enjoy their landscape views.

While glass doesn’t necessarily require maintenance, it does need frequent smudge, fingerprint, and dirt cleaning. The panels weigh more than metal deck railing systems, so they take extra time and experience to install. Glass is also the most fragile and could cause expenses down the line if your home frequently suffers bad storms.

High-End: Cable Railing Systems

A horizontal cable railing system uses high-tension wires between the top rail and bottom rail, creating a visually attractive barrier. You can add cables to any existing system, including a(n):

  • Aluminum railing
  • Composite railing
  • Stainless steel system
  • Natural wood curved railing
  • Vinyl railing

Most people opt for stainless steel cables since they withstand corrosion well. Note that cable railings must have specified tension levels to meet code requirements.

Also something very important to keep in mind if you have small children, or are frequently visited by friends and family with small children – kids can try to climb a horizontal cable railing system. This can obviously lead to serious injury. For this reason, we don’t recommend a horizontal cable railing system if small children will be unsupervised on the deck. 

High-End: Cap-stock Composite Railings

Composite decking uses recycled plastic and wood materials, making it environmentally friendly, durable, and light. Composite rails come in many designs that mimic your existing deck floor, including wooden post styles, metal, and vinyl. Unfortunately, the flat surface on composite products tends to lose color faster than other railing options.

Standard: Wood Railing Systems

A wood railing is a traditional choice, offering affordability and indoor durability. Unfortunately, wood doesn’t last well outdoors in the PNW due to the extremely wet climate. For outdoor applications, we typically recommend selecting a more weather-proof option that won’t rot when it gets wet.

Standard: Vinyl Railings

Vinyl is cheap, versatile, and easy to clean. You can purchase a system in many colors, though you must pressure-wash regularly to restore its original shine. Unfortunately, vinyl is also the least durable option on this list.

Are Vinyl and Wood Deck Railing Systems Outdated?

Vinyl and wood aren’t outdated, though they are neither durable nor luxurious. These traditional railing and deck board materials may not elevate your home’s appearance or increase its property value. We recommend selecting one of the “high-end” options above for a modern facelift.

How To Pick the Right Railing System For Your Needs

With so many choices, picking the right material for your new deck railing is challenging. We recommend considering the following factors when weighing out options:

  • Your budget: Some choices might cost less up front, though any future maintenance or repair costs add up fast with less durable materials.
  • Safety requirements: Families with young children or extra tall decks will prefer safer systems.
  • Your preferred style: Each material offers a different aesthetic, so choose one that matches your home and taste.
  • Visibility needs: Consider how much of your exterior landscape you’d like to see from your deck.
  • Durability and maintenance preferences: Some rail systems require extra work in the future, while others won’t need anything.
  • Installation difficulty and timelines: The more heavy and fragile a material is, the harder and longer it might take to install.
  • Building codes: Your new railing must meet municipal building codes.
  • Environmental elements: Homeowners in the PNW should pick materials that can withstand extreme rainfall.

Explore Modern Railing Solutions With Our Team at Pacific Outdoor Living Today!

At Pacific Outdoor Living, we install elegant decking and railing solutions in and around Monroe, Washington, so we know the specific climate requirements for Pacific Northwest homes. We can recommend durable and low-maintenance options for your house that feature a modern twist. Call us today at (360) 863-2058 to set up a consultation with our Pacific Outdoor Living team!

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