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In our October blog post series,  “Your Backyard Is A Blank Canvas” we reviewed various pergola, deck and screened porch designs.  Then in last week’s post, “How To Choose The Best Stair Design” we explained six possibilities for building the stairs for these structures.

Then once you select the type, layout and building site of your new outdoor space, it’s time for the finishing touches. So today let’s talk about choosing rails.

Elegant White Vinyl Rails with Gray Decking, by Archadeck

Elegant White Vinyl Rails with Gray Decking, by Archadeck

And what’s the best way to choose?  Well, it begins by narrowing down your rail options among a host of materials and styles. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do you sometimes wonder about deck safety?  Well, you probably should.  It’s a real issue.

According to NADRA (North American Deck and Rail Association) the number of failed and fallen decks has increased.  Why?  The reason is simple.

Deck Repair and Replacement Work Site in St. Louis Mo, photo by Archadeck

Deck Replacement Work Site in St. Louis Mo, photo by Archadeck

As decks across the U.S. have aged, proper maintenance and periodic inspections have sometimes been neglected or completely ignored. When those decks are packed-with-people during parties, prom photo-shoots or graduation events, a collapse can occur and cause serious injuries.

Or maybe the deck wasn’t built properly the first time.

A simple, seven-point inspection plan will help you spot trouble.  Use this acronym – BE SAFER (Boards, Every Connection, Structure, Attachment, Footings, Exists, Rails) for a DIY deck-check. Read the rest of this entry »

Just like the interior of your home, you have choices when it comes to each-and-every component of your outdoor space.

And it’s those collection of elements which will ultimately determine the overall style, maintenance needs and bottom-line costs of an outdoor living project.

Screened Porch with Knee Wall Railing by Archadeck

Screened Porch with Knee Wall Railing by Archadeck

Railing is no exception.  Rails will properly ‘frame’ your outdoor space, reflecting aesthetics while providing plenty of character. Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

For many purists, the ONLY decking choice for real wood is cedar.  From shabby-chic to an authentic-rustic style, all-natural cedar decking provides outstanding visual and structural appeal.

Cedar Deck and Covered Porch by Archadeck

Cedar Deck, Railing and Balusters with Gable Roof by Archadeck

Appreciated by homeowners and carpenters alike,  cedar packs a 1-2-3 punch.

It is rich in color, has a natural beauty and is chemical and preservative-free to withstand insect infestation, rot and decay.

When compared to other building materials, cedar is more costly than pressure treated lumber but less pricey than synthetics or hardwoods.

For many St. Louis homeowners, cedar is often the ‘sweet-spot,’ budget-wise.

In terms of maintenance, cedar needs TLC but the process is straight-forward.

As a natural softwood, cedar requires annual power washing and a finishing coat every few years to protect the surface from damage.  To spiff-up its natural color, apply a cedar-toned stain; otherwise, it will weather to a nice, soft and silvery gray patina.

So you’ve decided on cedar… so what comes next?  Rails.

Cedar Deck with Fortress Railing by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Fortress Railing by Archadeck

If you love a uniform appearance why not choose, not only cedar decking but, cedar rails and balusters too? (above)

And for added privacy, include a cedar wall where needed. (below)

Looking for a variation?

Change-up the balusters and pair cedar rails with sleek metal pickets, cable, tube or glass infill.

Would you prefer low maintenance railing?  If so, combine traditional cedar decking with composite or vinyl rails.  White is fashionable, crisp, clean, bright.  Black is contemporary, bold, masculine.

Do you love elegance?  Then wrought iron rails will do the trick.

As you can see, there is no shortage of possibilities when it comes to color, size and style!

Cedar Deck with Decorative Rails by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Decorative Rails by Archadeck

Key Takeaways:

Cedar is aesthetically pleasing.

It’s versatile and complements most any type of home and décor.

Unlike brick, cement and synthetic decking, cedar is natural, sustainable and biodegradable.

With proper maintenance and care, this decking material is durable and long-lasting, offering a high return-on-investment when it comes time to sell your home.

And it’s simple to gussy-up your cedar deck with decorative rails, interesting décor and landscaping to stay current with trends that reflect your design preference.

Next steps for designing and building an outdoor space? Read the rest of this entry »

In our previous post, “Deck Design Ideas:  Block The View” we discussed ways to add privacy to your outdoor space and minimize the impact of an unwanted view.

In this instance, deck railings often become ‘the star of the show’.

Deck with Glass Balusters by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Deck with Glass Balusters by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

But today, let’s talk about a different objective.

There are ways for a beautiful VIEW to be front-and-center with rails that gracefully fade into the background.

Either way, a great deck design will capture or interrupt a view, add a feeling of spaciousness or coziness and blur the lines between inside and outside.

So if you want a deck design that maintains and maximizes a scenic view, consider these options. Read the rest of this entry »

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Archadeck (636) 227-0800

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