Railing Ideas for Exterior Wood Decks

Updated February 21, 2017

The railing is the one part of deck that stands out the most, as it rises to eye level when you are sitting down and is usually what people lean against when they are spending time outside on the back deck. There are a number of railing materials and designs to choose from.

Wooden Railings

Building railings out of the same wood the rest of the deck is constructed from is a good way to keep the wooden deck looking consistent and all one style and tone. Solid wooden posts should be installed on the corners of the deck and every few feet to support the top wooden railing. This top rail should be at least as wide as the top of each of the wooden slats. Slats between the posts and the top rail can be built in a number of ways, ranging from vertically to horizontally and thick to thin. The thicker the slats, the more security. More space between each slat will allow more airflow, making the deck cooler. All the wood used for wooden deck railings should be sanded and weather sealed before being built onto the deck.

Iron Railings

For darker wood decks, iron deck rails can be installed along the edge of the deck in a variety of thicknesses and designs. Installing them requires metalworking skills and the ability to weld. The framework for these can be connected together before they are installed in a separate location. The railings can then be attached in sections along the edge of the deck with metal screws and bolts meant to hold their weight. All pieces of iron used for these railings should be treated with weatherproof paint that will protect the railings from rust and weathering over the decades you hope to have them on the deck.

Steel Deck Rails

For a more modern look, steel deck rails can be installed in sections along each portion of the wooden deck. Steel takes very precise metalworking skills and clean welding, as opposed to iron railings, which can have messy, bubbly welds and still look acceptable. Slats within the frame of the steel railing can either be welded on so that they are solid and can support weight or, inventively, created by aeroplane cable run through the frame of steel railings. The material is the most expensive part of the deck. It can look good for many years with little to no upkeep.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.