Ok so you’ve chosen your deck design and decking materials but now what?  Well, it’s time to stylize your rails.

Stop here and spend some time examining your options.

Decks with no railing

Did you know that deck rails might be optional?  If your deck is low-to-the-ground you can often skip the rails altogether.  Local building codes and your personal circumstances will be the deciding factors.

Low Deck without Rails by Archadeck

Low Deck without Rails by Archadeck

When a deck is used by young children or elderly folks, railing — even if not dictated by local building codes — might be a real necessity.

Low Deck with Rails, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Low Deck with Rails, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

And no matter the height of your deck, a rail with a gate is a must-have feature for many parents and pet owners, especially if their backyard isn’t fenced.

Benches as deck rails

If your deck is low or grade-level and railing isn’t required by local ordinances, built-in perimeter benches can be used to define and polish-off the edges while providing extra seating too.  Benches as a rail substitute are particularly functional for small deck designs.

Low Deck without Railing and Corner Bench by Archadeck

Low Deck without Railing and Corner Bench by Archadeck

Partial deck railing

Partial deck railings are often needed for safety; however, they can be used simply for style too.  Safety-wise, even if your deck is just slightly raised, it’s best to install a handrail on one or both sides of the steps.  Deck step rails will clearly mark an entrance/exit from a deck to the backyard and/or provide a grasping surface to eliminate falls.

Deck with Partial Rails for Safety, by Archadeck

Deck with Partial Rails for Safety, by Archadeck

Platform Deck with Partial Rails for Style, by Archadeck

Platform Deck with Partial Rails for Style, by Archadeck

Low Deck with Step Handrail for Safety, by Archadeck

Low Deck with Step Handrail for Safety, by Archadeck

Next, let’s assume your deck does require railing.  Oh-boy-oh-boy.  More (and more!) options…

Deck and rails that match

Do you prefer a ‘uniform’ look?  If so, then choose deck rails and balusters that are an identical match in material and/or the color of your deck floor.  For an ever-so-subtle variation use only a different baluster.

Deck with Matching Rails and Balusters, by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Deck with Matching Rails and Balusters, by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Deck with Matching Rails and Metal Balusters, by Archadeck

Deck with Matching Rails and Metal Balusters, by Archadeck

Deck with contrasting rails with matching balusters

If you prefer to jazz things up a bit, you might consider a railing design that contrasts with your deck surface, providing a two-tone effect.  Go ahead.  Mix-and-match.

Deck with Contrasting Rails, by Archadeck

Deck with Contrasting Rails, by Archadeck

Deck with contrasting rails and contrasting balusters

For a truly one-of-a-kind custom look, consider choosing a design in which the deck, the rails and balusters are each built from a different material.  Here, you’ll have a dynamic, three-tone effect.

Two Tone Deck Floor, Two Tone Deck Rail and Metal Balusters, Project by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

Two Tone Deck Floor, Two Tone Deck Rail and Metal Balusters, Project by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

Customized, specialty deck railing

But wait.  There’s more.

How about metal, glass, cables or tubes?  What about solid kneewall railing, curved railing or a rail that does double duty as a privacy screen?  Zest and zing can be added with a decorative centerpiece, decorative post caps, or even a rail with a built-in drink ledge.  How about deck rails that are staggered in height?  Oh my.  The possibilities…

Deck with Solid Kneewall Rails Built with Wood and Galvanized Steel by Archadeck

Deck with Solid Kneewall Rails Built with Wood and Galvanized Steel by Archadeck

 

Curved Railing for Elevated Deck by Archadeck

Curved Railing for Elevated Deck by Archadeck

Tall Deck Rail for Privacy, by Archadeck

Tall Deck Rail for Privacy, by Archadeck

Key Takeaways

Beyond safety considerations, the type of deck rails you choose will have a huge (HUGE!) aesthetic impact on your project. They beautifully frame a deck or porch and set the stage for architectural style and curb appeal.

With today’s products, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to materials, colors, shape and size for railing.  Keep it uniform or mix-it-up for a flair that’s traditional, contemporary, eclectic, rustic or whatever look you want!

Don’t settle for humdrum.  Your deck or porch will absolutely ‘pop’ with the right rails to suit your lifestyle, personal taste and family budget.

Screened Porch with Decorative Inserts for Rails, by Archadeck

Screened Porch with Decorative Inserts for Rails, by Archadeck

Next Steps

To explore other railing ideas for your outdoor space visit our website, west-county.archadeck.com.  You’ll see photo galleries, an online inquiry form, a video and free download for Archadeck’s design guide and social media links to Pinterest, Google+ and Houzz pages too.

If you reside in the St. Louis Missouri region and are ready to speak with a contractor, please consider Archadeck.  Our offices are in St. Louis West County.  We’re locally owned and operated:  we live here and we work here.

Archadeck of West County and St. Charles County serves Greater St. Louis including all parts of St. Louis County, St. Charles, St. Charles County and some areas of Illinois too.

We’d love to answer your questions and meet with you, anytime – 636.227.0800.

Deck with Privacy Railing, Built in Bench with Drink Ledge, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Deck with Privacy Railing, Built in Bench with Drink Ledge, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Sources

Better Homes and Gardens, Backyard Design Ideas, Inspectobedia, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Beautiful Backyard Blog, Archadecks of Western NC, Columbus, Virginia Beach, Bucks-Mont PA, Central Iowa, West Rhode Island, Northern Virginia

Do you live outside of the St. Louis Missouri area? If so, visit archadeck.com or call 888-687-3325 to find an office in your hometown.