The most popular Deck Railing Designs

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Great RailingDeck railing designs can easily turn your plain, boring deck into a real centerpiece of architectural design. Many decks just have the very traditional wood balusters and railings. However, railings come in many different styles and materials. By adding a new railing design to your deck, you can improve the look of not just the deck itself but of your house and property.

Common Deck Railing Designs

While there are many styles to choose from, there are two most common designs: horizontal and vertical.

  • Horizontal – A horizontal design does not have traditional balusters. Instead, two to three rails run horizontal to the deck attached to the rail posts at regular intervals. The overall look is like a fence instead of a banister.
  • Vertical – With a vertical rail design, the balusters run up and down between the rails, similar to a banister on a balcony or set of stairs. This is usually the most common design although the style of balusters can be different.

Finding the right railing design for your deck can be a tough decision. The problem is there are so many options available. You can choose from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, cable, glass, or something really creative.

How you set up your deck rails is entirely up to you and depends on what aesthetics you desire. If you want a deck that is open, you can choose aluminum railings that are thin and allow more of the background to be visible. If you want a deck that offers more privacy, you can enclose it with a high railing with balusters close together. Whichever design you go with, there are always some basics to remember:

  1. Always think of safety first. It may look like a great design but if there is a chance someone is going to fall off, it isn’t functional. Rails that won’t hold the weight of an adult are a bad choice, no matter how good they may look.
  2. Does the design match the rest of your house? The last thing you want to do is try to combine two different architectural styles.
  3. Decide on the function of the deck. Do you want to preserve a great view or is it going to be a place to grill and hang out?
  4. Maintenance should be a factor when choosing a deck railing design. Before you build your deck, you need to think about what materials you want to use and how to keep it clean and in good condition.
  5. Affordability is always a factor. Some designs require expensive materials. Always keep a budget in mind when choosing the right design for your deck.

Designing the Balusters

Balusters can make all the difference between a standard deck and a unique one. Besides either vertical or horizontal, you can also create patterns with them to give more of an artistic look. Here are a few ideas:

  • You can alternate each section between the posts. One section could have vertical balusters and the next section could have etched glass or a special carving.
  • You could use latticework instead of balusters. This could allow plants to grow up the sides, giving your deck a very lush appearance.
  • Use a design from a different culture such as a Japanese garden. The style is very simple, clean, and it will give your deck a very different look from the neighbors.
  • When creating the design, remember that for proper support, attach rail posts to the deck frame, not the deck surface.

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