All About Deck Railings - Econo Decks - Decks and Fence Services - Featured Image

All About Deck Railings

A deck railing is a barrier system formed of posts, balusters and rails. It’s installed on the edges of a deck for the purpose of safety. But, a deck railing can be so much more! It can add beauty and ambience to your deck. It’s visual and physical impact can accentuate your home. With many materials and systems to choose from, you can let your creativity go wild!

  • Your first step when constructing a railing is to choose a building material.
    • Wood is the most common material used. Try pressure treated wood, cedar or redwood. You can paint or stain your railing in a wide range of colours but you will need to refinish a wood railing every three to five years. While that may sound like an occasional inconvenience, refinishing requires sanding and re-staining each of those tiny spindles!


    • Composite railings are strong and durable, come in many choices of colour and texture and require little to no maintenance. No need for refinishing! Your railing won’t split, bow or warp. The major drawback of composite is that is more expensive than wood.


    • Vinyl deck railings offer beauty, durability and low maintenance. Vinyl is an eco-friendly option that does not need to be sealed or stained and will not discolour, crack, fade or splinter. Though vinyl is stronger than wood and fire resistant, there are limited colour choices and vinyl doesn’t always work well with the style of older homes.


    • Aluminum pipe railings are distinctive, durable, lightweight, versatile, easy to install, low maintenance and long lasting. They won’t rot, corrode or stain under any weather conditions. Aluminum is a good option for decks in extreme climates. However, aluminum pipe railings are mostly seen on apartments and therefore can seem a bit commercial looking.


    • Glass railings are a great choice if you have a property with a view or you live in a windy location. They add a clean polished look bringing elegance to your deck. You can choose between clear, pinhead, raindrop, frosted or tinted glass. Add etched designs or lighting. However, glass is expensive, you require a specialized deck contractor, your railing may require frequent cleaning and glass can increase the temperature on the deck surface.
    • Cable railings provide unobstructed views, modern design, are easy to install, low maintenance and customizable. However, they are more expensive than wood, not child-friendly and may not meet code in some areas.





    • Steel railings are a heavy-duty option that is great for replicating the look of wrought iron. They are strong and durable, easy to install and available in panels. However, steel railings are heavy to work with and come with the possibility of rust.


    • Mix it up.  Be daring and use more than one material. Try a wooden handrail, baserail and posts with aluminum or vinyl balusters. Mix cable with wood or aluminum pipe. How about powder-coated steel posts and large glass panels. There are many options!


  • After deciding on a material (or materials) for your railing, the fun begins. Use your creativity to design a railing that is uniquely yours! Add lattice screens. Make your railing a planter or a bench. Try a criss-cross or sunburst design. Attach a bar to your railing, complete with barstools. Make your balusters thick, thin, or bowed. Add interesting or unique post caps. Incorporate lighting. There are so many options!


  • Once you have chosen a material and have a railing design, consider hiring a deck professional. He will know the local codes and regulations, have experience with a variety of railing materials, provide many design ideas, and can help you construct the railing of your dreams.

Though railings are a required element of a deck, if done correctly, they can be the focal point. With many materials, colours and styles to choose from, have fun and build a beautiful, sturdy, long lasting railing for your deck.

For all your railing needs and questions choose the Calgary based deck experts, Econo Decks. From simple upgrades to complete renovation to new builds, Econo Decks is committed to providing the best quality work for their customers. Call Econo Decks at 403-768-0151 or email us at or