Manufactured Deck Railings Look Good, But Do They Last?comments (16) July 6th, 2010 in Blogs
by Scott Gibson
Cable Rail: Less is more
• Unobtrusive. Won’t block scenic views.
• Flexible. Can be built with a variety of wood or metal post and rail components as well as tensioning hardware.
• Cables can run horizontally or vertically.
• Glass panels can be used in some aluminum-rail systems.
• More expensive than some other options.
• Horizontal railings barred in some areas because they pose a “climbing hazard.”
• Not compatible with all architectural styles.
Metal: Old-world look with a friendly price
• Quick installation.
• High strength and long unsupported spans.
• Material highly adaptable to custom shapes.
• Very low maintenance.
• Appearance may not be appropriate with some architectural styles.
• Railings made from ferrous metals can rust if finish is damaged.
Vinyl: A very long-lasting paint job
• Durable; very low maintenance.
• Longer unsupported rail spans than wood-plastic composites.
• Has the appearance of painted wood.
• Railing comes in kits that can be assembled quickly.
• It’s still plastic, which won’t appeal to all homeowners.
• Limited color selection.
• Some consider the manufacturing process environmentally hazardous.
Composites: A new life for wood chips and plastic bags
• Appears more woodlike than other low-maintenance options, so railings blend nicely with wood-composite decking.
• Feels more like wood than plastic railings.
• Wider color selection than vinyl.
• Unlike wood, won’t split, crack, or warp.
• Trex railings can't be ordered in curved sections, but can be bent using heat to create curves.
• Relatively expensive.
• Because wood composites contain organic material, they can support the growth of mold.
• With the exception of the PVC-coated variety, dark colors can fade in sunlight. Effect varies by brand.
• Requires support blocks under bottom rail to prevent sagging.
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Deck Railings Grow Up
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