In our last two articles, we discussed deck railing and deck stairs — their function, architecture and style possibilities.

So in this week’s post, let’s drill down to the nitty-gritty details and write specifically about the railing balusters — the infill pieces between the rail posts that are mounted from top-to-bottom and side-by-side.

Gray Decking, White Rails, Black Metal Balusters, St. Louis Mo Project by Archadeck

Gray Decking, White Rails, Black Metal Balusters, St. Louis Mo, Project by Archadeck

The primary purpose and consideration for choosing a baluster is always safety.

Local safety and buildings codes — which vary by city and sometimes by neighborhood — will dictate the spacing between each picket, their exact height from the deck’s surface and other installation requirements.

So if you’re tackling deck construction on your own, know your codes!

If, however, you’re using an experienced local deck contractor, no worries.  They’ll be knowledgeable about the permit process and ordinances from town-to-town.

Elevated, Two Story Deck Designed For Safety and Style, by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Elevated, Two Story Deck Designed For Safety and Style, by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

The secondary purpose for choosing a baluster is architectural impact. Rails and balusters dramatically influence the entire look and feel of your outdoor space.  So give them some thought.

And what are the style options?  Boy-oh-boy, today’s consumers are given A LOT of baluster choices — wood to wrought iron, aluminum to steel, and tempered glass to cable or tubing.  Whether simple or lavish, balusters provide infinite possibilities when it comes to your rail design.

Sometimes called pickets, panels or spindles, you can select a baluster by deciding your preferences for color, material and ornamentation.

Colors — Match, Coordinate or Contrast?

When it comes to appearance, what’s most pleasing to you?  Do you prefer to duplicate your deck’s surface with a matching baluster for an identical look?  Or what about materials that are a bit different yet provide color coordination?

Wood Deck, Wood Rails, Wood Balusters and Planters by Archadeck

Wood Deck, Wood Rails, Wood Balusters and Planters by Archadeck

TimberTech Low Maintenance Decking with Color Coordinating Rails and Balusters, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck of West County

TimberTech Low Maintenance Decking with Color Coordinating Rails and Balusters, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck of West County

On the other hand, do you wish to have a total color contrast?  And if you favor a contrast, how stark a contrast do you want to strike?

Wood Deck With Contrasting White Rails and Balusters by Archadeck

Wood Deck With Contrasting White Rails and Balusters by Archadeck

TimberTech Decking with Contrasting Black Rails and Balusters by Archadeck

TimberTech Decking with Contrasting Black Rails and Balusters by Archadeck

Materials — Setting The Tone

Beyond your deck’s color scheme, the material you choose for your baluster is an obvious and easy expression of your personal taste — elegant or eclectic; classic or contemporary; traditional or trendy.

For instance, a wooden deck with wooden, vinyl or even wrought iron rails/balusters lends itself to a traditional character.

Traditional Deck with White Vinyl Rails, Balusters, Skirting and Pergola by Archadeck

Traditional Deck with White Vinyl Rails, Balusters, Skirting and Pergola by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Fortress Iron Rails by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Fortress Iron Rails by Archadeck

Whereas metal pickets, cable inserts or glass panels give an otherwise conventional deck a contemporary design element.

Modern Low Maintenance Decking with Black Rails and Sleek Balusters by Archadeck

Modern Low Maintenance Decking with Black Rails and Sleek Balusters by Archadeck

Deck Rails with Glass Balusters by Archadeck

Deck Rails with Glass Balusters by Archadeck

Yep.  It’s ALL in the details.

Ornamentation — Embellishments for Complete Customization

‘Basket’, ‘collar’ and ‘centerpiece’ are terms used to describe deck balusters and their ornamentation.  Baskets add slim but elegant spheres, collars add small decorative squares (or rounded pieces) and centerpieces are larger decorations with distinctly unique patterns.

Composite Wood Deck and Rails, Metal Pickets with Baskets and Centerpiece, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Composite Wood Deck and Rails, Metal Pickets with Baskets and Centerpiece, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Want a few more bells and whistles?  Consider a deck privacy rail with spindles, a custom balustrade design or even baluster lights.

Deck Privacy Rail with Small Decorative Balusters, by Archadeck

Deck Privacy Rail with Small Decorative Balusters, by Archadeck

Backyard Gazebo with Classic Chippendale Baluster Design by Archadeck

Backyard Gazebo with Classic Chippendale Baluster Design by Archadeck

Want to learn more about Archadeck Outdoor Living?

Not familiar with Archadeck?  If you live in St. Louis, check out our About Us page here on the blog and the national website too.

For more information and inspiration about decks and other outdoor living spaces, visit our website, west-county.archadeck.com to find picture galleries and an easy-to-use online inquiry form — How Can We Help?.

For daily/weekly updates, please join us on Pinterest, Google+ and Houzz.

If you’d like help in the planning process, be sure to grab our Design Guide which is a free download to anyone, just enter your email address.  No strings attached!

And then, when you’re ready to talk to a St. Louis deck builder, please consider Archadeck.  We’re locally owned and operated with offices in St. Louis West County – Ellisville, Missouri.  Call anytime – 636-227-0800.

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

Other Sources

HGTV, Decks Direct Baluster Guide, Deckorators, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Archadecks in Chicago IL, Central Connecticut, Nova Scotia, Kansas City KS, Columbus OH, Central Georgia