The material that you choose for your deck railing will determine how durable it is, how often it requires maintenance, and what it looks like. Here is a comparison of three common deck railing materials.
Wood is one of the most common choices for both decks and deck railing because of its time-tested advantages. Wood railing is strong, affordable, and can be painted or stained to compliment the appearance of any home.
Even though it is the traditional choice, wood deck railing has a few disadvantages that you should be aware of. As an organic material, wood is susceptible to rot, weathering, and attacks by termites and other pests. To defend against these problems, you will have to maintain wood railing more often than other materials. Depending on the type of stain you use, it is recommended that you restain your deck and wooden deck railing every one to five years.
Glass railing is an material if you want an unimpeded view of your yard while you sit on your deck. Most glass deck railing is sold as interchangeable solid panels. If a panel gets cracked, scratched, or broken, you can replace the panel much like you would replace a section of vinyl railing.
Solid glass panels make good windbreakers and prevent the hazard of children or pets slipping between railings, but they are not without downsides. On hot days, glass panels can trap heat and make the temperature on your deck less comfortable. Naturally, glass panels are transparent, so you may lose an element of privacy on your deck in comparison to using other opaque materials.
Vinyl is a deck railing material that requires very little maintenance. You will never have to stain your vinyl railing, and you can clean vinyl simply by spraying it off with a pressurized hose. If you are looking for the most affordable deck railing available, vinyl will be the material of choice. However, this affordability comes with a small downside: vinyl is thinner and weaker than other materials, so it is more likely to break if someone falls against it.
White is the most common color for vinyl deck railing, but like wood, you can paint it any color you like. Vinyl railing repairs are easy and simple, as you can simply replace the damaged section with a new section. You may find yourself replacing your vinyl railing more often than other materials, as constant exposure to the sun will eventually cause vinyl to peel, crack, and become discolored.
Keep these tips in mind when you are choosing railing for your next deck so you can find the material that is best suited for your needs.