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Railing adds to deck’s look and safety
May 13, 2005

A well-planned and properly-built deck can extend your home’s summer living space, and building a rail on the deck can further add to the looks and function of the deck, while also providing safety.  

A deck rail may also be required under the local building code.

Take care when designing the rail, since it will be highly visible to your neighbours.

Solid deck railings offer privacy and safety and can be built from cedar or pine boards or from plywood. Using boards to create a herring-bone or other design can add character to the deck.

It’s a good idea to keep the bottom of a solid rail up a few inches from the deck surface to allow water to run off. This also allows for ventilation and prevents the bottom rail from rotting.

Fasteners, such as nails or screws, should be stainless steel to prevent rusting.

A good exterior wood finish should be applied to the wood to preserve its natural beauty. 

If the deck faces south or west, a finish that contains an ultraviolet ray inhibitor will last longer and prevent deterioration of the wood under the finish.

Some prefer to seal the boards on all sides before construction to retard deterioration. Make sure that the sealer is compatible and recommended by the manufacturer of the finish you will be using.

Pre-finished aluminum railings are also another option for decks and are designed for quick-and-easy assembly. All that is needed to assemble pre-finished aluminum railings is a rubber mallet, a drill, epoxy cement and stainless steel screws.

A variety of styles include two picket styles — curved and straight — as well as a tempered-glass panel that sets into the frame.

Colonial and classic posts may be available.  Corner and in-line posts, rail sections, wall and post clips and bottom rail supports come with the package.

The applied finish is a powder-coat plastic paint finish. With the finish, the railing is virtually maintenance-free and cannot rust.

Matching stair rails that adjust to the pitch complete the look.

If you are interested in this type of deck railing, check your yellow pages for various dealers in your area.