In this article from Carefree Decks and Patio Covers, we’re going to explain why a deck railing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Sometimes customers get so caught up in picking out the perfect decking that they forget about the railing! However, in most areas, railings are required by municipal building codes. Also, just think about what guests will notice first. The railing almost always draws the eye long before the decking does.
The railing is a great way to add style and character to your home and compliment your decking. So, don’t treat it is an afterthought, instead make it the main event and you will have your guests going wow the moment they first lay eyes on it. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Most railings are built in essentially the same manner. They are typically comprised of rail posts, top and bottom rails, brackets, crush blocks, and infill. Let’s talk about what each of these components does for your railing.
The rail posts serve to anchor the railing firmly to the decking. They often have post caps and base moldings to add a more finished look to the final product. The top and bottom rails, along with rail posts serve as the framework for the rest of the railing. These can be purely cosmetic in nature (outside of their original function as part of the framework) as with sculpted top rails. Or you can use flat-topped rails to have a handy place to set down your drink or even decorate your space with a few potted plants or other fun accessories.
Brackets are used to attach the top and bottom rails to the rail posts. It is important to choose bracket materials, like stainless steel, that won’t rust or corrode over time. Some styles even offer a sharp, clean look with hidden brackets and still others take advantage of the brackets and use them to create bold color contrast with the rest of the railing.
Crush blocks serve to support the infill in between the rail posts to help prevent the railing from sagging over time. And, last but not least, the infill is the bulk of the railing. It fills in the space between the top and bottom rails and rail posts. Choose your infill wisely as this is the largest, most obvious portion of your railing and will have the biggest impact on your home’s aesthetic.
A fun way to jazz up your style and add a bit of a different look to your deck railing is to add rail lighting. Not only does it add a nice accent, but it also extends the usability of your deck or porch until the sun goes down. You can use rail lighting to highlight or draw attention to certain parts of your porch or use it evenly to light up your space and party all evening long.
You can choose post cap lights that add a subtle glow by encircling the post cap with a clear ring that has a LED light inside. Or you can opt for post sleeve lights. These are little circular lights that gently direct light downward to illuminate and reflect from the floor. These are particularly great when your purpose is to spotlight features. Another great option is to add lights to the stairs. That’s an excellent way not only to add pizzazz but also to improve safety.
Choose Your Colors!
Now it’s time for the fun part. There are literally hundreds of looks that you can create with your deck railing simply by choosing different styles and colors. Combining accent colors gives you, even more, options for jazzing up your space. Just remember to make sure that it works with the rest of your home also. You don’t want to spend time and money installing a super awesome deck that ends up detracting from the overall look of your home because it doesn’t fit.
So here are a few tips for choosing the perfect colors for your railings. A safe way to ensure that it works with your home is to match the color of the railing to the trim on your house. If you’re good at choosing complementing colors, you may want to get crazy and pick something that is complementary to your house color instead.
Also, think about your home’s style. A lot of the more modern home styles work well with darker railing colors while older farmhouse, colonial or Cape Cod style homes look fantastic with a classic white railing. Of course, it’s up to you how traditional or crazy you want to go–just be sure it works because you’ll be looking at it for a while!
Another thing to keep in mind is how prominent you want the railing to be. For example, on a back porch with a fantastic view, you may want to choose thin infill for your railing in darker, more muted colors so that the railing doesn’t detract from the view. On the flip side, if your backyard space isn’t that exciting, you may want to use a railing in highly contrasting colors to add some pizzazz and draw attention away from whatever otherwise dull view your guests would have. It’s all about personalizing your space in the right way.
In sum, now that you understand why a deck railing shouldn’t be an afterthought it’s time to decide what you want to do with it. We hope that these tips have been helpful, but reading a couple of articles will never be a great substitute for real, professional advice. So, don’t be afraid to call us here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers. A member of our friendly staff will be happy to help you choose the perfect materials, style, and colors for your new outdoor installation.
Our 23 years of experience serving customers in the metro Denver area has given us a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what works, what doesn’t and what our clients are looking for. We’re sure that once we get done helping you design and install your new deck and railing, you’ll be eager to start throwing parties and invite everyone you know to come and see your new masterpiece!