Last month we discussed many options for your deck railing, along with some basic building codes. There are so many and what you inevitably choose boils down to what you prefer and what you feel looks best on your deck along with safety for children.

Selecting deck materials is often a balance of preference, cost, and maintenance. The most common deck railing materials are wood, metal and composite. Mixed materials are often used.


Traditional and still the most widely used, wood allows for flexibility in design and color. It can be painted or stained to complement your home. Wood is usually the most inexpensive type of railing depending upon the type of wood chosen but requires regular maintenance such as cleaning, staining or painting and can have insect damage and wood rot. On the positive side, it can easily be combined with other materials for a customized design.


Metal railings can be made from aluminum, steel or iron. There are a variety of styles and options. Aluminum can be powder-coated in several colors and finishes, a durable finish which protects against corrosion and UV rays. Steel and iron can be painted in a series of coats, but require additional maintenance as they are more prone to rust. Metal railings are often used to create a more sleek, modern look. The balusters are often slimmer and less likely to block viewing into the yard beyond.


Composite railing materials have the advantage of little ongoing maintenance as they are typically scratch, insect and weather resistant. In the middle, cost-wise, a variety of style and color options are available to coordinate with your deck.

Steel or AluminumRailing gate on deck

Both of these types of railings can give your deck that elegant look.  Black steel rail panels have the look of wrought iron. (The reason that the term wrought iron is still used is that people are after the look of it, and don’t really care what it is made of.) With steel panels railings, you obtain the right elegant look without the weaknesses.

Aluminum railings are lightweight but sturdy. They will stay strong throughout the years. They can be painted if you prefer, but not necessary as there are so many different colors and styles of aluminum deck railing to choose from, you may be able to get the color you are looking for.

With several materials available for railings, it can be difficult to make a decision! Holly Spring Builders would love to help guide you through the design process of building or updating your deck that you will enjoy for years to come. Give us a call or text us today 919-346-0678.