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Chris Breen

Chris Breen, Principal Owner of Legacy Decks and Outdoor Living and has been serving families in Upstate South Carolina since 2005.

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White Deck Railing on Covered Porch

Exploring Deck Railing Options: A Comprehensive Guide

Deck railings are an essential safety feature for any deck. However, they also are a vital part of the deck’s design. Crucial but often overlooked, the railing you choose can make or break the look of your deck.

There are many options for materials and designs for deck railings that can give your deck a one-of-a-kind look. In this article, you will learn about:

  • The components of deck railings
  • Some of the choices you have to make for materials and design
  • Examples of different styles of deck railings

The Parts Of A Deck Railing

Curved Deck Railing
  1. Top Rail: The horizontal handrail that runs along the top of the railing. While it serves a decorative function, it provides safety and stability when people hold onto it.
  2. Bottom Rail: The horizontal handrail that runs along the bottom of the balusters. It provides structural support to the railing system and the balusters.
  3. Infill: The material that fills the space between the top and bottom rails. Balusters, spindles, glass panels, cable railings, and lattice can serve as infills.
  4. Post: The vertical support that attaches the railings to the deck. They provide stability and ensure the railing remains securely in place.
  5. Post Cap: A decorative element that attaches to the top of the post. They also protect the post from moisture by prohibiting water from seeping into the wood or other materials, thus extending the life of the posts.
  6. Post Skirt/Base Trim: A decorative element that attaches to the bottom of the post. They provide a finished look to the bottom of the posts and hide any hardware connecting the post to the deck, creating a cleaner and more polished look.

Deck Railing Materials

You have three main options for deck railing materials: Composite, aluminum, and wood.

White Deck Railing

Composite

Beautiful, majestic, and absolutely stunning are home some describe composite deck railings. Composite materials give off an air of sophistication while also maintaining a natural look and feel. Composite deck railings are also very durable, so you won’t have to worry about it rotting or decaying over time.

Aluminum

Lightweight yet strong and sturdy, aluminum gives a sleek look to any deck. Because aluminum deck railing components are powder-coated, they are also resistant to rust, so you can rest assured that they will last for decades. Aluminum railings are an extremely durable choice and a perfect choice for those who want a railing that will stand the test of time.

Black Deck Railing

Wood

We all love the classic look of wood. However, wood is vulnerable to rot and decay. Even with proper care, your railings will not last as long as composite or aluminum railings, eventually losing their original beauty. Wood railings also lead to extra costs down the line, as you’ll have to replace them, stain them, or seal them more often. As an important safety element, it’s essential that your railing is up to the task. We don’t use wood railings at Legacy Decks because keeping them in good condition is too challenging.

Customizing Your Deck Railings (TimberTech)

Suppose you want to customize your own deck railings. One simple way to do that is by following these three steps: 1. Choose a top rail 2. Choose an infill 3. Choose colors. Here’s how to do this with TimberTech railings.

1. Choose A Top Rail

The top rail is one of the most important parts of a deck railing. It can serve solely a functional purpose, like safety or to hold drinks; it can serve primarily a decorative function to cover the balusters; or a combination of the two. Here are some of the different styles you can choose from:

  • Drink Rails: This type of top rail features a wider, flat surface, making them a convenient place for people to place their drinks or snacks. They are great for socializing and entertaining.
  • Contemporary Top Rails: The appearance of this style is similar to a drink rail because it features a wider surface. However, they often include angled or curved edges.
  • Cap Rails: Top rails are sometimes called cap rails. This style covers the balusters to provide a clean look. They can be flat or curved.

Examples Of TimberTech Top Rails:

Deck Rail
Impression Rail Express
Drink Rail - Black
Deck Rail
Classic Composite Series
Premier Rail - White
Deck Rail
RadianceRail Express - Black
Deck Rail
Classic Composite Series
Contemporary Rail - Classic Black
Deck Rail
Impression Rail Express
Modern - White
Deck Rail
Classic Composite Series
RadianceRail - Matte White

2. Choose An Infill

The infill is the material that fills the space between the top and bottom rails.

Depending on the top rail you select, the types of infills you can choose will vary. Some top rails can be paired with all types of infills, while others have more limited options.

For example, TimberTech’s Classic Composite Series can be paired with any infill, while RadianceRail Express can only be paired with aluminum or composite balusters.

Here’s an example of each type of infill:

Aluminum Balusters

White Deck Railing

Composite Balusters

White Deck Railing

Glass Panels

Deck Rail with Glass Panels

Steel Cables

Deck Rail with Cable Railing

3. Choose Colors And Finishing Touches

Last but not least, you’ll have to choose the colors for the rails and posts. If you selected composite baluster infills, you also have the option to choose a color for the balusters.

In most cases, aluminum balusters come in black, white, and bronze. Glass panels and steel cables also come in only one color.

The post sleeves, lighting, caps, and skirts are the finishing touches. You can choose between different designs and colors to create a railing that’s uniquely yours. 

TimberTech Deck Railing Ideas & Styles

Now, it’s time to look at some examples of finished deck railings. Steal some of these deck railing ideas for your own deck!

Modern Deck Railing Ideas

For a modern aesthetic, we recommend options that blend clean lines with minimalistic designs or a blending of contemporary and modern design elements.

Elevated deck with curves and outdoor furniture

Traditional Deck Railing Ideas

For a traditional feel, we emphasize timeless elegance and detailed craftsmanship in our designs.

White deck railing with black balusters

Transitional Deck Railing Ideas

For those preferring a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, we offer transitional deck railing designs.
Raised covered deck with steps and railing

What Kind of Deck Railing Design Can Legacy Decks Build for You?

We hope you enjoyed reading through our deck railing guide and it provided you with a foundation that will give you a sense of what kind of deck railing system you would like Legacy Decks to build for your deck project! We wish you all the best in your journey to creating the perfect outdoor living space.

Ready to take the next step? If you want Legacy Decks to transform your deck railings, get your Consultation to get started!