Best Deck Railing Material

Choosing the best deck railing material for your home will depend on four essential factors:


1. Your Lifestyle – How much time are you willing and able to dedicate on deck maintenance and repair?


2. Your Location – What types of weather conditions can you expect throughout the year? Are you located in an area that sees more rain, harsh winds, or heavy snowfall?


3. Your Area’s Building Codes – Depending on the state and county you live in your area may require certain permits and compliance codes. Consulting with a professional remodeler is a smart way to ensure you avoid any compliance issues and will make your deck as safe and durable as it is stylish.


4. Your Budget – How much are you willing to invest in your deck? Do you prefer to hire a professional builder to complete the project or do you prefer to build it yourself?


There are many types of deck railings available that offer different pros and cons, depending on your answers to the questions listed above. To help you get a better understanding of which railing material is right for your outdoor deck, here is a comprehensive breakdown to help inform your final decision:

Types of Deck Railings

Wood Deck Railings
Wood Brown

There’s really nothing more stunning than the look and feel of a natural wooden deck. Perhaps the most traditional option, wooden decks and railings are usually on the lower price point, depending on the type of wood, but they do require professional sealant to stay polished. You may also decide to paint your wood deck railings, depending on the rest of your outdoor decor or personal style.


The only real issue with this option is, as with all wooden materials, they require annual upkeep to maintain its natural beauty. And if you live in an area that experiences heavy snow, hard rain, or hot UV rays, your wood deck railings may require a little more TLC (e.g. repairs, inspections, etc.) than you’re prepared to offer.


Pros of Wood Deck Railings:

  • Lower cost
  • Easily customizable
  • Available in different varieties (redwood, cedar, pine, etc.)


Cons of Wood Deck Railings:

  • High maintenance
  • Susceptible to weather conditions
  • Ongoing Repairs

Composite Deck Railing
Fencing Brown

If ongoing maintenance, repairs, and inspections sound like more work and less play during the warmer months of the year, you may consider the option of composite deck railings. The best part about these types of deck railings is they look like natural wood but require less care. This option is also beneficial to homeowners in Minnesota and other parts of the country that experience extreme weather conditions that could cause water damage and loosen boards or screws to wood decking, creating a safety hazard for your loved ones.


Pros of Composite Deck Railings:

  • Maintenance free
  • Looks like real wood
  • Water resistant


Cons of Composite Deck Railings:

  • Higher price point
  • Leaves signs of scratch marks over time
  • Sometimes slippery, depending on the brand

Wire Deck Railings

Wire, or cable deck railings, is a popular way to customize your outdoor living space. This type of deck railing provides the safety you need without obstructing the gorgeous views of your area. As with composite materials, wire deck railings require less maintenance, as they are commonly made of aluminum or stainless-steel materials. 


Pros of Wire Deck Railings:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to Install
  • Durable


Cons of Wire Deck Railings:

  • Discolor over time
  • Require some maintenance (tightening of cables)

Glass Deck Railings

Similar to wire deck railings, glass railings allow you to showcase your entire outdoor area while keeping you safe. This option is on the slightly higher price scale and does require some additional upkeep to keep your glass clear and streak free! Unlike traditional deck handrails, where items can easily roll off the side of the deck and break, or your children can put their hands through, glass railings enclose your entire deck area, improving its safety. And because of their thickness (must be at least ¼ inches), these types of railings are considered more durable against outdoor weather conditions.


Pros of Glass Deck Railings:

  • Durable
  • Doesn’t obstruct view
  • Secures deck inhabitants and furniture


Cons of Glass Deck Railings:

  • Expensive
  • High maintenance

Aluminum Deck Railings

  • As with glass deck railings, aluminum materials come at a higher price point and are extremely durable and weather resistant! With this type of railing, you won’t need to worry about decay, splinters, water damage, or other common issues related to deck maintenance and repair. The only complaint about aluminum deck railings we hear is that they offer a more industrial look and feel. Nevertheless, if a low-maintenance, water-resistant, and durable deck railing is what you’re after, this is a great choice!


    Pros of Aluminum Deck Railings:

    • Strong and Durable
    • Waterproof
    • Maintenance free


    Cons of Aluminum Deck Railings:

    • Higher Price
    • Unable to customize

Plan Your Remodel with Gonyea Transformations

Our team of architects, builders, and designers can help you create an outdoor deck area as part of a larger remodel project that combines functionality and style with your goals and budget. We ensure every project is held to our very high standards, and we work closely with you from start to finish and beyond to ensure your goals and needs are met in every stage of the renovation process.


Contact us today to start planning!