Choosing the right materials for your custom deck is key to long-term enjoyment, which includes adding the best deck railings to achieve your overall desired look. JPS Builders has over two decades of craftsmanship experience and an excellent reputation as a top custom deck builder in Bellingham and the Whatcom area. Ultimately, we uphold that high-quality workmanship and great communication are integral to building successful and beautiful decks for residents and business owners. We understand that choosing the best material for any project is the first step towards transforming your living space into your ultimate vision. Whether you have a custom deck in mind, or want to update a current deck, we can help you to figure out which deck railing material is perfect for the final touch.

Top five deck railing materials to consider:

1. Cedar Railing

No one can dispute that Cedar wood is an attractive, traditional, and popular choice of material for a deck railing. This type of decking is usually preferred by those who enjoy the beauty and feel of real wood, as well as Cedar’s lightweight, cooler, and softer properties. Cedar railings are often built with traditional 2×2 pickets, or can be customized with other types of rods, such as metal balusters, or even hog-wire is quite common. Keep in mind that while Cedar is striking and natural looking, regular upkeep and maintenance is necessary to prevent issues such as rotting (although Cedar decks are more prone and work-intensive than Cedar railings). Without periodic washing and staining, Cedar is subject to effects from weather and the elements, lessening its integrity. Living in the Northwest means plenty of moisture, so remember that Cedar railings will require some attention for overall functionality and aesthetic value.

2. Metal Railing

For hundreds of years, iron was the go-to metal most used in architectural structures. While this metal is strong, dependable, and often used in protecting homes and businesses, there are more options to consider for metal railings in this day and age. Aluminum is a good choice for a railing material, since it is lightweight, very durable and requires little maintenance versus others. Specifically powder coated aluminum railings can be customized and will last for years, even decades, without needing repainting or touch-ups. Often paired with vertical pickets and horizontal rods, metal type railings can look very sleek and professional. JPS Builders is very familiar working with the trusted Trex Company’s variety of Signature Railings, giving you many options to explore when picking the right metal railing to complement your beautiful deck.

3. Composite Railing

With Composite, the possibilities are practically limitless when it comes to style and design of railings for your deck. Composite is well known for its appealing blend of recyclable materials and wood fibers, with the primary goal of reducing landfill waste and remaining ecologically friendly. Not only is Composite popular for being extremely low maintenance (no annual staining necessary and is easy to clean), it will also not warp, splinter, fade, rot, or have termites! There are so many colors and textures available with this particular material, which means Composite railings can be more of a personal touch to any type of deck. They also tend to go well with Composite or metal balusters, or hog-wire, if you prefer. Overall, if you are someone who deeply cares about the impact on the environment and is drawn to a designer craftsman-like appearance, this is the kind of deck railing for you.

4. Stainless Steel Cable Railing

Another material with appeal and elegance is the Stainless Steel Cable Railing. Known to be quite strong and weather resistant, whether in the frame or interior parts of the railing, this choice is long lasting and picturesque for any deck. The relatively thin cable lines preserve your gorgeous view, allowing eyes to go past the deck with minimal obstruction. Stainless steel can be paired with another material, such as powder coated aluminum, or wood, which is a warm nod to a traditional look. JPS Builders utilizes Stainless Steel Cable Railing systems from CrystaLite, the company that offers strong, sleek cables specially designed for the greatest performance. While they involve little maintenance and prove to be rust resistant, stainless steel cables are not necessarily rust proof. During regular cleaning, you should avoid abrasive cleaners such as steel brushes or wool, as they can lead to rusting issues earlier. Basically, if you have an eye for the modern look and a scenic view to showcase, Stainless Steel Cable Railings are a top-choice sophisticated option for deck railings.

5. Glass Railing

To be clear, if you want the view from your deck to really shine, glass railings are the transparent choice for you (puns intended). There are benefits to having the look of large windows surrounding your deck, aside from preserving the gorgeous Northwest scenery. Glass can block wind and elements, allowing guests to feel protected while being entertained on your beautiful deck. Glass railings, paired with a thin frame (whether wood, metal, or Composite) can also give the illusion of total openness while still enclosing your safe space. The latest, costlier trend of Infinity Glass Railings includes eliminating the frame or upper railing altogether to provide the most uninterrupted horizon for viewers on any deck. Having said that, like any glass structure, this means frequent cleaning of fingerprints and streaks. Glass is also known to fog and get dirty easier, as well as confuse animals and individuals if they are not paying attention. In addition, glass may also chip if hit or bumped, so this type of material requires special attention to detail to maintain its luxury and purpose. However, one cannot deny that style and smoothness comes with choosing glass railings for your type of decking.

In Conclusion

When it comes to deciding on deck railing materials, there are many great options and customization is highly welcomed. No matter the type of deck, you can mix and match with railings based on preference and overall goal for your outdoor experience. Why not offset a unique deck with a simple railing, or vice-versa? Mix traditional Cedar with the modern Stainless Steel Cabling? Or choose low maintenance Composite railings to match your Composite deck? Ultimately, the choice is yours!

No doubt traditional wood is classic and the least expensive, whereas high-end stainless steel cables and glass panels are pricier. Remember that maintenance and upkeep for both deck and railings should be factors in choosing the proper materials for your lifestyle and home. 

JPS Builders are the custom deck specialists here to help when building your custom deck and the railings that adorn your outdoor living space. Do not hesitate to call us with any questions!