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Deck Building in Toronto

The Finishing Touch: A Guide to Selecting Deck Railings for Style and Functionality

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June 7, 2024

Your deck is complete – the perfect spot for summer barbecues, afternoon lounging, and enjoying the fresh air. But there’s one crucial element missing: the deck railing. While it may seem like a mere afterthought, deck railings play a vital role in both the safety and aesthetics of your outdoor space.

Here at Proper Construction, we understand that choosing the right deck railings can be overwhelming. This guide will walk you through the different types of deck railings available, helping you find the perfect balance between style and functionality for your dream deck.

Safety First: Building Code Requirements

Before diving into aesthetics, let’s address the most important aspect: safety. Deck railings are essential for preventing falls and ensuring safety, especially for children and people with mobility limitations. Local building codes will dictate specific requirements for deck railings, including:

  • Height: Most codes require railings to be at least 36 inches tall from the top of the deck surface.
  • Baluster Spacing: Balusters, the vertical posts that make up the railing infill, should be spaced no more than 4 inches apart to prevent small children from slipping through.
  • Handrail: The top rail of the railing should be graspable and comfortable to hold, typically between 1.5 and 2 inches in diameter.

Popular Deck Railing Types: Balancing Safety and Style

Now that we’ve covered the safety essentials, let’s explore the exciting world of deck railing styles! Each type offers unique benefits and aesthetics:

1. Wood Railings:

A timeless classic, wood railings offer a natural beauty that complements various deck materials. They can be stained or painted to match your existing décor and come in various styles, from simple balusters to ornate designs. However, wood requires regular maintenance, including periodic staining or sealing, to withstand the elements.

2. Composite Railings:

Similar in appearance to wood, composite railings offer a low-maintenance alternative. Made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic, they are resistant to rotting, warping, and insect damage. Composite railings come in a wide range of colors and styles, allowing you to achieve the desired wood-like look without the upkeep.

3. Cable Railings:

A modern and minimalist option, cable railings create a sleek and unobstructed view. They utilize horizontal cables secured between posts, offering a clean aesthetic that complements contemporary designs. Cable railings are ideal for decks with scenic views as they minimize visual barriers. However, they might not be suitable for homes with young children due to the potential for climbing.

4. Glass Railings:

Taking the concept of unobstructed views a step further, glass railings offer a truly transparent barrier. Tempered safety glass ensures maximum strength and safety, while creating a seamless connection between your deck and the surrounding landscape. Glass railings are a great choice for maximizing light penetration and creating a feeling of spaciousness. However, they require regular cleaning to maintain their visual appeal and might not be the most budget-friendly option.

5. Aluminum Railings:

Durable and low-maintenance, aluminum railings are a popular choice for homeowners seeking a classic, yet functional option. They come in various styles and colors, including powder-coated finishes for a modern look. Aluminum railings are resistant to rust and require minimal upkeep, making them ideal for areas with harsh weather conditions.

6. Wrought Iron Railings:

Adding a touch of elegance and sophistication, wrought iron railings offer a timeless and ornate aesthetic. They are incredibly strong and durable, making them a great choice for traditional or architectural styles. However, wrought iron requires regular maintenance to prevent rust, and its weight might require additional support during installation.

Choosing the Right Railing for Your Deck

With so many options available, selecting the perfect deck railing might seem daunting. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Style of Your Deck: Choose railings that complement the overall aesthetic of your deck and home. Consider the material and design elements of your deck boards, furniture, and surrounding architecture.
  • Budget: Deck railings range in price depending on the material and complexity of the design. Decide on a budget and choose a railing that fits comfortably within your range.
  • Maintenance: Some materials, like composite and aluminum, require minimal upkeep, while others like wood and wrought iron need regular maintenance. Consider your time commitment and choose a railing that aligns with your maintenance preferences.
  • Local Building Codes: Ensure your chosen railing meets all local building code requirements for height, spacing, and handrail specifications.

Proper Construction: Ensuring Safety and Beauty

At Proper Construction, we believe safety and beauty go hand-in-hand. Our experienced deck builders can help you choose the perfect railings for your needs and ensure they are installed correctly according to code. We use high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship to ensure they are installed correctly according to code. We use high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship to create a railing system that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound and safe for your entire family.

Contact Proper Construction Today!

Ready to elevate your deck and create a safe and stylish outdoor oasis? Our team of deck-building professionals is here to guide you through the entire process, from choosing the perfect railings to final installation.
Contact Proper Construction today for a free consultation!