If you have a deck, you need a railing. Not only is the look of a railing something that can enhance your deck, it is also necessary to the safety and integrity of the deck. If your railing has deteriorated due to age and weather conditions, or needs repair, it might be time for an upgrade.
The primary function of a railing is safety. It is to prevent children, adults, pets, and objects from falling off the deck, being injured or damage. It is therefore imperative that the railing is constructed of high grade materials, and conforms to the guidelines for height, width, safety, and strength. If your home has young children or pets, you can add solid panels to your railing to prevent things from falling through.
There are many things to consider, before you upgrade your deck’s railing:
- Your budget
- The maintenance required
- Does it complement your home and deck?
- Safety requirements
You will also need to narrow down the type of material you want to use. There are various options.
Wood – the classic option, and the most common material used for deck railings, it is also the most versatile. Costs of a wood railing can vary greatly, depending on the type of wood, and finish you choose. Whichever type of wood you choose, the railings will need to be painted or sealed over on a regular basis, so as not to lose the finish. Wood can be used together with metal or glass to add a point of interest, or strengthen the railing.
Glass – this is not regular glass, but safety glass, which allows an unobstructed view of your surroundings, while still providing a secure barrier. Solid glass panels can be used to deflect noise and wind. Glass can be lower maintenance than wood, and a good option to consider.
Metal – if neither wood nor glass appeals to you, contemplate aluminum. The metal is budget friendly, and available in a range of color and style options. Maintenance is nothing more than a periodic cleaning with your water hose to remove dirt and grime.
If you have had a deck for longer than a year or so, chances are it needs some sort of upgrade or repair. Decks are exposed to the weather all year around, and the railings are no exception. Before you install a railing, the following factors have to be considered, including how old the deck is, its size and shape, and of course, the material used. And if the actual deck isn’t in good shape, then that’s the first thing you need to repair or upgrade. Your new railing will need a solid foundation, and no amount of cosmetic changes can hide a deck that is falling apart or dirty. When you have your upgraded deck and railing, set aside time for an annual cleaning and re-staining, and your deck and railing will last for years to come.