The Essential Guide to Deck Railings

Over and over again, we hear from customers that one of the reasons they chose or bought their home was the front porch or back deck. Outdoor living space can add dimension to your home or your life, creating new spaces for your family and friends to gather, share meals, and make new memories. 

However, a lot goes into choosing the right deck railing for your home, your family, and your budget. There are a few choices that you will need to make to ensure that you choose the right railing for your space. Here, we’ve compiled all the essentials so that choosing the correct railing for your home is easy. 

Fencing Direct makes the entire process of choosing and installing a deck railing simple and straightforward. We carry a range of high-quality, tried-and-true porch railing products, deliver them straight to your doorstep, and provide you with the tools to install your railing quickly and comfortably yourself. This cuts out the time and expenses that come with an installation crew, and allows you to construct your fence to fit the exact needs, design, and vision of your family. 

Below, we cover the many reasons that you should consider buying or replacing your deck railing, the choices you have when choosing deck railings and how to make the best choice for you and your family, and how to install a fence once you’ve chosen the one for you. By the end, you’ll be ready to pick out your fencing from Fencing Direct. 

Why buy a deck railing?

There are so many reasons to install a deck railing on your porch or back deck. Not only are deck railings as ubiquitous as white picket fences and walkways on American homes, but they add character to your home, increase safety, and enhance the security of your home. 

One of the easiest things you can do to add to the visual attraction of your home is to add a porch or deck railing. Railings instantly add to the curb appeal of a home, and create a backdrop for seasonal decorations, like Christmas garlands or twinkly lights. They create strong, solid lines in the visual landscape of your home, and create defined spaces for gathering, playing, and eating. 

Deck railings can also make a home look more “polished.” Even if your home’s yard or landscaping hasn’t been completed, a deck railing will create strong lines that will make your home appear more finished. Railings create another “level” to the visuals of a home, changing entirely the dimensionality of your home’s appearance. Railings can also make an older home look new, or give a new home a classic finished look. 

Railings can be a doable weekend project that takes your home from dull to stunning in just a couple of days. Deck or porch railings create a defined, new outdoor living space. Railings immediately make a space feel inviting and safe, and encourage guests to spend time on your deck or porch. Railings make your porch or deck feel like another room in your home, encouraging more frequent use. When you think of it this way, installing a deck or porch railing is almost like increasing the square footage of your home while also increasing its value. 

Beyond simply adding character or polish to a home, porch railings are an important safety feature for any home or porch. Porch railings increase safety and security for anyone who spends time in your outdoor living space, preventing falls and keeping your garden or yard safe. 

Railings are extremely important to the safety of elderly members of your family or for older visitors. Railing provides support for guests to safely navigate up the stairs and to your front door without accidents. It’s important to install railings proactively rather than reactively (after someone has already been hurt). Railings are not only important for individuals who have difficulty climbing stairs, but are also important during icy weather, when everyone needs a hand getting up slippery steps. 

Railings also keep pets safe by creating safe boundaries for them to respect. It is much easier to teach your pets to “stay” when there is a clear boundary delineating the spaces they are allowed to go. This allows pets to spend time outside without the worry of them running out of the yard or towards another dog.

Porch railings also heighten the security around your home. Adding or replacing porch railings is an easy step you can take to stop “porch pirates.” Railings prevent and impede thieves from casually taking packages, making it more awkward and unlikely for them to step onto your porch. Railings also visually block the sight of packages from the street, making your mail less of an attraction to passersby. 

Porch or deck railings also add an additional barrier between your living space and the public. You can still engage with passersby or dog walkers in the neighborhood if you wish, but you also have the option of creating a more private space on your deck to spend time with your family. 

How to pick your deck railing materials

There are a number of things you should consider when choosing your deck railing materials. There are a number of materials, designs, and colors to choose from when choosing the beck deck or porch railing for your home. 

First, you should consult your local building or homeowner’s association codes to ensure that your porch or deck complies with regulations. Some codes determine how tall your railings should be, how high your porch can climb to before you are mandated to add railings, or even how far apart the railings can be from one another. Fencing Direct carries a variety of porch railings that are both easy to install and are code compliant for both commercial and residential properties. 

Fencing Direct carries two types of deck railing that you can choose from. Both aluminum and vinyl railings have different benefits and advantages. 

For years, wrought iron was the classic choice for railings on one’s home. However, wrought iron is extremely expensive, requires skilled craftsmen, and is very heavy. Aluminum has emerged as a clear alternative to wrought iron. It is lighter, more cost-effective, lasts for years and years, and doesn’t rust. 

Fencing Direct carries aluminum railings that are coated in white or black powder, making cleaning the railings a walk in the park. With just a quick spray, dirt and cobwebs are removed. The maintenance of aluminum railings is quick and easy, and even with very little maintenance, aluminum railings remain in tip-top shape. Rivet covers, provided with Fencing Direct’s aluminum railings, ensure a clean, finished look for railings. You also have the option of including a gate, with hinges and a latch for added safety and security. 

Vinyl porch or deck railings have many of the same advantages as aluminum railings. They are sturdy, reliable, and cost-effective. They last for years without any maintenance like sanding or painting. If faced with impact, like a falling tree, they will bend without breaking. They also resist fading, maintaining their color and quality for years. 

Vinyl porch railings are smooth to the touch, which means there is never any worry about splinters catching on sweaters, shirts, or hands. Wooden balusters, on the other hand, require constant sanding and painting to ensure that they remain beautiful and safe for users. 

If you are replacing a deck or porch that has rotted, fell into disrepair, or didn’t meet code, it may be time to replace the entire structure. This could be the ideal moment to choose either vinyl or aluminum porch or deck railings. High-quality railings can greatly increase the value of your property. 

Beyond material, you may want to consider the design and color of your deck or porch railing. Fencing Direct carries a range of styles, heights, and colors, so that you can find the railing that matches your home's style and color. A black railing can “pop” against your home, creating strong black lines and a modern edge, while white railings invoke a classic home look and create clean, subtle lines. Both vinyl and aluminum are easy to clean, so you never have to take cleanliness into consideration. 

Installing deck railing

Installing deck railing yourself may sound intimidating, but it’s actually not so hard at all. Fencing Direct provides you with all of the necessary instructions for constructing your new porch or deck railings in no time at all. With the help of Fencing Direct, installing your porch or deck railings is a weekend project. 

Our Fence Builder software assists homeowners in planning out their porch or deck railing dreams and designing your porch, all from your computer screen. By laying the groundwork for your perfect porch railing before buying materials, you can confidently and quickly complete your installation, ensuring that you have all the parts you need.

Additionally, Fencing Direct provides in-depth videos that provide you with all the guidance and skills you need to do the job yourself. Both our aluminum and vinyl railings are easy to install and are in fact designed to be as easy to install as possible. We want to make the process as painless and rewarding as possible, so that when your neighbor walks by and asks you when you had your railing replaced, you can tell them that you did it yourself, yesterday.