If you’re looking for deck railing ideas, there is a lot to consider before choosing that perfect railing system. Color and style choices are only the beginning. You should also familiarize yourself with all the essential pieces of a deck rail as well as local regulations that may stipulate what kinds of rails you can use. To get you started on decks and railings, here are a few tips that will help!

1. Matching Decks and Railings

One of the first considerations you’ll need to make is the color of your railings. Do you want the color to match your deck or are you looking for a two-tone design? You’ll also need to consider your home’s color, too. If there is a certain specific color that you have in mind, then do some shopping and make sure you can get all the pieces and parts before you order. Suppliers differ in their selections, so make sure to keep this in mind if color is the most important concern. Check out Trex’s decking and railing duos to get an idea on how you can match decks and railings.

2. Base Deck Ideas on Your Home’s Style

When it comes to railing and deck ideas, you wouldn’t want to use old-fashioned railing on a very contemporary home, nor would you want to use something like ultra-modern glass railing on a home in, say, the Victorian style. Use your home’s overall theme as a guide to help you narrow down railing style choices.

3. Learn the Pieces and Parts of Deck Railing

Deck railing isn’t just uprights and horizontal pieces. As you’re shopping around for new rails, you’ll minimize a lot of confusion if you know the terminology — and, you won’t inadvertently forget to purchase a vital piece, like post sleeve caps. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Post and Post Sleeve: The post is the main upright support that holds the railings in place. A post sleeve is designed to fit over top of the post as a decorative skin in the color of your choosing.
  • Post Sleeve Base Moldings and Post Sleeve Caps: These components give your railing a finished look. The base molding fits at the bottom of the rail post to hide rough edges and the sleeve cap is a decorative finial for the top of the post.
  • Rails: Rails are the horizontal component of your deck. On a typical deck railing system, you’ll have two rails between each pair of posts, one on top and one on the bottom to hold balusters in place.
  • Balusters: Balusters are the uprights that fit between deck rails. You’ll find balusters in a wide variety of styles, and while most people think of them as a decorative element, they’re also part of what makes your deck safe by preventing falls.

4. Know Your Regulations

One thing that you should consider before you delve too deep into deck railing ideas is local regulations. In Massachusetts, building code requires that decks over 30 inches in height have a railing. Those railings must be at least 36 inches in height and balusters are required to be vertical, with a maximum of 4 inches between each baluster. Keep these regulations in mind, as well as any regulations that your local municipality or homeowner’s insurance company may require, to make sure that your deck is up to code.

These are the four most important things you’ll need to think about as you look at deck railing ideas. Make sure that your new rail fits regulations, matches your home’s existing colors and style and make sure that whatever rail system you choose, you can get all the pieces in the colors and style you want.

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