Design & Planning

Deck Railing Ideas: Complete Your Outdoor Living Space

February 23, 2021

Deck Railing Ideas Series Overview

Your decking masterpiece is just that — a masterpiece — so it deserves a frame to match. We’ve collected the deck railing ideas you need to:

  • Kickstart your inspiration.
  • Guide you in your railing decision-making process.
  • Make it easy to choose the right railing.

Step 1: Learn About the Parts of a Deck Railing System

Deck railing ideas featuring composite railing and glass infill

When you imagine your ideal outdoor living space, you likely picture a trend-forward deck that combines low maintenance, high style, and serious safety. To hit all three dimensions, we recommend deck railing ideas focused on either a composite or aluminum railing (or mixing materials from each).

Before you start considering rail systems as a whole, it’s important to know the different parts that make up the system. Knowing the parts of a rail system lets you:

  • Make a more informed choice about the right rail for you.
  • Become familiar with which parts are customizable within a given railing system.

Ready for Deck Railing Systems 101? Get the insight you need on railing parts, from top rail to infill. Jump in — and don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz.

Step 2: Learn Best Practices for Deck Railing Height

Another important step in expanding your deck railing knowledge, especially if you’re thinking about DIY-ing part or all of the project? Deck railing height.

In the U.S., the International Residential Code (IRC) dictates the minimum required deck railing height. Because minimum deck railing height requirements can vary by state, it’s important to check all local municipal building codes before beginning your project.

What you might not know: Deck railing height isn’t only about the minimum distance from bottom to top rail.

Deck Railing Height for USA Decks

Other Deck Railing Height Factors:

  • Distance between balusters, or the upright posts that connect the top and bottom rails.
  • Distance from deck surface to bottom rail.
  • And more.

Step 3: Explore Deck Railing Ideas Based on What Matters to You

Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to really dive into the TimberTech® Railing portfolio. Select based your primary railing interest, then jump to the section tailored to your preferred pathway.

Note: Even though we’ve organized the path into these three categories, it’s important to note that all of our railing systems are beautifully designed, durable, and require almost no maintenance to keep them looking pristine.

Material

Choose from metal or composite railing systems — or mix and match material components of both — for the just-right railing for your space. Let us guide you through the different options.

Installation / Upkeep Ease

Want the option for a quick-and-easy installation? Thinking you’ll still have to stain a TimberTech deck rail? (Spoiler: you won’t). Learn the options to complete your project, hassle-free.

Accessibility

Get deck railing ideas to make your outdoor living space inviting and accessible. Learn how our ADA-compliant handrail can improve your outdoor living space, plus its compatibility.

Step 3a: Explore Railing Based on Material

We offer both composite and aluminum railing systems, as well as the opportunity to customize components of both, depending on the railing system you choose. That means that your deck railing ideas or needs aren’t limited by standardized systems only.

Before customization, though, you need to know your options.

The TimberTech railing portfolio can be divided into two major subcategories, named for the primary material of the system. Those categories are: Metal railing or composite.

Metal Railing

Learn what you need to know about choosing the right metal deck railing, plus how a metal railing by TimberTech comes with serious benefits, including:

Deck Railing Ideas featuring TimberTech Impression Rail in Black

Pictured: Impression Rail™

Metal Railing Benefits
  • An attractive wrought iron-inspired look thanks to powder-coated aluminum.
  • Clear sightlines via streamlined and timeless profiles.
  • Peace of mind thanks to an industry-leading 25-Year Limited Warranty.
  • And more.

Ready to explore your TimberTech metal railing options?

Composite Railing

Get familiar with composite railing by exploring our popular Classic Composite Series. Defined by a universal bottom rail that makes customizing your rail system easy, this railing collection offers several benefits.

Composite Railing Benefits
  • Offers streamlined application for level, stair, and angled applications thanks to a universal bracket.
  • Stays extremely durable and low-maintenance, plus offers unbeatable resistance to mold and mildew.
  • Boasts premium composite aesthetics that match most home exteriors.
  • And more.
Deck Railing Ideas Classic Composite Series Drink Rail

Pictured: Classic Composite Series – Drink Rail (White) with TimberTech PRO® Legacy Collection Pecan board as top rail

Choose from 5 top rails ranging from traditional to contemporary to capture your ideal style and transform your outdoor living space.

Compare Composite & Metal Railing Systems. Explore the benefits of each so you know which type is right for you — plus, learn how easy it can be to mix materials. COMPARE RAILING

Both Metal & Composite

Once you understand the two different categories into which the TimberTech railing portfolio is divided, you’re ready to get truly creative with your deck railing ideas and mix and match materials. Depending on your preferred railing system, you can customize:

Contemporary Rail TimberTech modern deck railing
  • Infill
  • Posts
  • Post sleeves
  • And more (like lighting)

The result? A railing that reflects your personal style just as much as your overall home design.

Read more to get custom deck railing ideas and get started on a railing that’s uniquely yours.

Step 3b: Explore Railing Based on Installation / Upkeep Ease

Classic Composite Series White Impression Rail Express

Remember, all TimberTech railings are engineered to stay enduringly beautiful, come rain, shine, or other weathering agents.

However, if you want to know which options are known for installation ease — or learn more about just why our railings save you time and expense compared to wood — these are your go-to resources.

Metal

If you want a quick-and-easy railing installation — plus the clean design and clear sightlines a metal railing offers — you need Impression Rail Express®.

Impression Rail Express: Tough Aluminum, Easy Install
  • A panelized railing system (pre-assembled balusters and a pre-drilled top rail).
  • No-weld technology.
  • Hidden brackets with adjustable panels.

Quick, durable, and an immediate boost to the overall design of your deck? Talk about making a strong first impression.

Composite

What you want: A classically beautiful composite railing that won’t require the upkeep you can expect with wood. Where to look: the RadianceRail Express® Smart Set.

RadianceRail Express® Smart Set: All Your Railing Material Components in One Simple Set

  • Includes top and bottom rails, post sleeves, post cap, post skirt, foot blocks, balusters, AND hardware.
  • Never needs to be stained, painted, or sanded.
  • Durable composite construction stays highly fade-, stain-, and moisture-resistant.
  • Stately top rail, post caps, and post skirts evoke traditional millwork.

Keep reading to see if this railing set is the missing piece in your decking masterpiece.

Both

It’s a common misconception: wood railing costs less upfront, so it must be the most value-friendly railing material — right? Wrong.

Wood might cost less upfront, but with a wood railing, the benefits quickly evaporate. Not so with an aluminum railing.

What's No Good About Wood

With aluminum, you don’t have to worry about the concerns that plague wood railings:

  • ($) Regularly staining the railing (which releases harmful chemicals called VOCs into the atmosphere).
  • ($$) Replacing part or all of the system once mold and mildew have had a chance to invade the structure and chow down.
Deck Railing Ideas Metal Railing featuring TimberTech Impression Rail in black

Pictured: Impression Rail (black)

If your deck railing ideas center on a solution that is supremely durable, sleek, and won’t have you breaking the bank — or your back — when it comes to upkeep, consider TimberTech aluminum railings instead.

No mess, no stain, no replacing cracked and faded balusters. Just incredibly beautiful railing to elevate your design.

Step 3c: Explore Railing Based on Accessibility

ADA Handrail with TimberTech Impression Rail Express in black

An ADA Handrail is an attractive, safety-enhancing accessory that can make your realized deck railing ideas more accessible.

Metal

Our ADA handrail system pairs beautifully with Impression Rail Express to create a single, unified system that doesn’t take away from your desired aesthetic or overall design.

An ADA-compliant handrail:
  • Gives you greater peace of mind by making your deck more accessible.
  • Offers ease of installationand can be put in just about anywhere you need it.

Enjoy safety and accessibility with an ADA-compliant railing from TimberTech.

Now that you have deck railing ideas inspiration, it’s time to claim your beauty- and safety-enhancing railing system. Partner with a TimberTech-registered contractor to bring the right rail to your outdoor living space.

Bring the Beauty of TimberTech to Your Backyard

Work with one of our registered contractors for a build that transforms your outdoor living space.

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