Now you have established that you need to have deck railings, be it for the safety of children or local building regulations, you need to think about what it will look like. That comes down to the fittings such as handrails, handrail brackets, posts and the infill. Putting these together is like a jigsaw where the final picture is just what you do or don’t want to see as long as the railings are there. Having something you don’t want could be expensive to fix!
Start from the top – handrails!
As with all the parts of deck railings, handrails can be made of a variety of materials.
A classic look could come from a hardwood handrail such as oak, mahogany or teak. Wood does need treating but it can have a luster that lasts many years with oiling and sanding every so often.
Metal handrails can give a modern look. If you choose stainless steel this can be very low maintenance and hold the look you seek with a little polish now and again. What about a colored metal?
These can come in a variety of shapes according to your needs from a rounded top to a harder-edged angular style.
Handrail brackets are smaller fittings that like the brackets for the infills are part of the construction yet an important part of the aesthetic. You’d be surprised at how irritated people get over slight detailing!
Their shape should follow the style of the overall design – perhaps rounded when there’s a rounded handrail and angular as the style of the overall look commands.
How do you want to see the world through the deck railing? Do you want wooden bars as with a traditional design staircase? Do you want to see straight through it with glass? Almost invisible cable?
These design decisions are key, and something you really should have visualized when you decided on the deck railing. They can be limited by local building regulations too.
Infill brackets are important where the infill is glass, and you will also need special brackets for any cabling. These again are tiny details that can either make or break the design as a whole. You don’t want a chip on your shoulder about some $10 fittings on a thousand dollar setup do you?
Though the wrong handrail bracket could irritate you the major aesthetic comes from the posts, handrail and infill. No building regulation will permit a 10ft solid panel of glass on your deck railing, and even the hardest glass would flex in the weather at that length! You will need posts every few feet at least and to that extent these should be considered as carefully as the infill and handrails.
Posts like handrails can come in a variety of shapes and materials that you can find as you put the jigsaw together. They can be stainless steel, a colored metal, wood or coated metals. It just comes down to how it should look for you in the end.
From the smallest detail such as the handrail bracket and screws, to the infills, handrails and posts, you need to think ahead as to how you want the final piece to look. Once you have considered all of the above, then hit the ‘buy button’ and put it all together.
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