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Design & Planning
Tips for Choosing the Right Deck Railing
July 06 2017
Railing Design & Planning

Railings are a required safety feature on many decks, and the welcome feeling of security they provide is an important contributor to your family’s relaxed enjoyment of your outdoor space. Don’t think of railings as being merely functional, however; they also represent an exciting opportunity for extending and complementing the overall design of your deck. The railing system you choose will be your deck’s most visible feature so it’s vital to be careful and thoughtful when making your selection. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the ideal railing for your backyard deck project.

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Choose the Right (and Legal) Railing Height

Height is one of the most important aspects when it comes to your deck railing. While your local building codes will have the final word on railing height, railings typically range between 36 to 42 inches tall. Any shorter in height, and it could be unsafe. Any higher, and it could potentially mar your view. Therefore, keep it within that sweet spot for the best (and safest) results.

Select the Best Material, Color, and Style

When it comes to choosing the right railing for your deck, you want to ensure that you’re using materials that are pleasant in appearance, stylistically appropriate, require little to no maintenance, and are built to last. All of TimberTech’s railing products are backed by a 25-Year Limited Warranty, and are available in a range of colors and styles so you can ensure that your finished deck features a seamless, unified design. 

Ask the Experts

While you have a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing a railing system for your deck, some aspects of your railing are likely to be non-negotiable due to safety concerns and the building codes that enforce them. If in doubt, contact a certified, licensed contractor, and pick their brains. They’re going to want to help you so as to gain your trust, and win your business. Your free consultation is their job interview, so tell them what you like, what you want, what you can afford, and then they can tell you how they can help you get there. Certified contractors can be an invaluable resource for you at all stages of your project, especially when it comes to what is—and is not—allowed under your local building codes. Need to find a contractor now? Search our list of certified TimberTech contractors to get the help you need.

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Be Code Dependent

A word about building codes. They vary depending on where you live, and can be more restrictive in some places than others, but are primarily concerned with protecting you and your home. For example, most townships require the balusters on a deck railing to be spaced no more than 4 inches apart, but this was not always the case. It was only after widespread reports of small children slipping between the balusters or getting their heads stuck between them that cities were moved to adjust the codes for safety’s sake. Your certified contractor will be well-acquainted with all the relevant codes regarding railings, and that’s a good thing for everyone involved.

See Your Railing (Virtually) Before You Buy

If you’re still in the design phase of your deck and not sure which railing system is right for you, use our handy Deck Designer and see how various deck railing systems will look with your deck design to find the one that works best with your unique sense of style.