Composite Railings, Styles, and Sizes – Making Your Choices

When it comes to putting the finishing touches on your deck, you’re going to find yourself beset by a number of options. One of the biggest decisions you’re going to have to make is what you’re going to do about your rails. Composite railings are an option that many homeowners have begun to consider, simply because of the low maintenance this material is known to guarantee. But size and style are no less important and can have a big impact on how pleased you are with the finished project. The wise homeowner discusses these options at length with their contractor, but it helps to come into the conversation with some background information.

MaterialsYou have a few choices when it comes to the materials at your disposal. The first option your contractor will recommend is probably going to be a pressure treated 4×4 type of wood for the rails. There’s nothing wrong with going in this direction, if you prefer your entire deck be consistent. But many homeowners care nothing for this consistency and in fact loathe the idea of a monolithic standard. These homeowners can turn to composite railings for a change of pace. You’ll open up some new styles and you’ll have much less to worry about in terms of maintenance, which is a big selling point. Vinyl and even metal are also available options.

SizeYou’ll have less room to work with when it comes to size considerations. Most homeowners will find themselves restricted by building codes which require their rails to be 36″ high. Make sure you check your local codes to know what kinds of restrictions you’re working with. Nothing is worse than putting in a nice set of composite railings only to have a county inspector come by and tell you that they need to be higher. Seems obvious that your backyard construction should only need to meet your own specifications, but that’s not the way the law works. Still, you do have the option to go higher if you want and most manufacturers will have plenty of choices that will fit into your local codes.

StyleAfter you’ve chosen your basic materials-be it composite railings, metal, or wood-and you’ve figured out an appropriate height, you can begin thinking about some style touches. These are the little additions and accessories that can make your deck something special. Lights, privacy screens, lattice panels, and interesting post caps can all be used to make your deck look like something out of an architectural magazine. Play around with your options and don’t stop customizing until you’re happy.