Deck Railings 101: low maintenance, please!

What better way to welcome summer than to find a porch swing to sit on?  Neighbors everywhere are planting perennials, spreading mulch and building decks.  It's time again to enjoy the outdoors without a jacket.  Aaahhh...

If a deck is on the honey-do list, beware.  Options for decking materials at your local lumberyard are endless!  Textures, colors and material types abound.  While I can’t advise you on the best boards for your project, (beware: there are three-hundred-and-one-options)… there are a few tips I can offer on deck railings.

Begin with the basics.  The parts and terminology for outdoor stair systems is nearly identical to indoor stair systems.  You’ll need to decide the style and color you prefer for each of the components involved in your particular project.  First, decide the style and type of:   

·       Railings -  you’ll either have post-to-post railings, as is shown in this photo, or over-the-post railings.  Over-the-post railings are the kind you liked as a teenager because they provided a single, long, railing… perfect for sliding down in a hurry. 

·       Newel Posts - The railing will be supported by newel posts which occur at a regular rate around the perimeter of your deck.  The frequency with which they repeat is dependent upon your local building codes. 

·       Balusters - In between the newel posts, will be balusters.  Regardless of where you reside, these will need to be no more than four inches apart. 

·       Gates, Columns, etc. - Will you need a gate at the top of the stairs to prevent little ones or pets from wandering?  Do you have columns that will need wrapping?

AFCO Aluminum Railing Products are relatively new to our product lineup.  We like them because they are easy to install and are made (in the U.S.) of extruded aluminum which makes maintenance a snap.  These products are available in seven powder coated colors, in both smooth and textured finishes.  There are multiple handrail designs, including the flat top design shown above and the more traditional bread loaf shape.  If you have columns or are in need of deck post wrap, AFCO has options available for that as well.  If you can’t decide on just one color or finish, mix it up to include whatever combination works best with the exterior scheme of your home!