Expert Advice

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Railing for Your Deck

July 28, 2023
Custom Deck Solutions

As one of the most visible elements of a deck, railing serves an important aesthetic and structural role – adding support, safety and style. Here are five expert tips for creating the perfect perimeter for your outdoor space.

1. Aim high and low

When choosing deck railing, look for high-performance and low-maintenance materials, so that you’ll be able to spend more time relaxing on your deck rather than maintaining it. Although a classic option, wood railing requires frequent staining and sealing. Plus, wood is prone to rot and decay. Aluminum and composite offer durable, attractive, and versatile options that are easy to work with and maintain.

2. Showcase your style

Selecting railing color and style should be fun, but it also can be overwhelming considering the myriad of options available. To simplify things, use one of the following approaches to achieve a successful decking and railing pairing:

  • Coordinate - You can never go wrong by selecting railing in the same shade as your decking, such as dark brown railing for a dark brown deck. This creates a cozy, well-coordinated look.
  • Contrast - If you have trouble finding a perfect match for your decking – or if you’re open to trying something different – consider railing in a contrasting color, such as black or white. Both are classic options that complement virtually any outdoor setting.
  • Customize - For homeowners seeking a custom look, let the creative juices flow. Mix colors and materials, such as combining dark aluminum railing and balusters with white composite posts, to create a dramatic, distinctive design.

For those who prefer to eliminate any guesswork from the process, we offer a handy Decking & Railing Duos tool on our website, which features designer-curated railing pairings for the brand’s most popular decking colors.

3. Optimize views and privacy

If you’re lucky enough to have a view beyond your deck, optimize it with aluminum railing that offers maximum strength with a minimalistic style. Designed to offer all the benefits of other horizontal baluster railing designs without the hassle of maintenance, Trex Signature® Rod Rail blends into the background, allowing your view to be the focal point. If scenic views are not the focus, opt for railing options that feature thicker posts and larger balusters to help enhance the privacy of your outdoor space.

4. Factor in function

One of the most popular trends right now – especially among homeowners who like to entertain outdoors - is “cocktail railing.” This design approach uses a deck board as a top rail to create a flat surface ledge at just the right height for holding drinks and plates. By using boards that match the decking, you can achieve a look that perfectly complements your home’s deck, while making great use of space.

5. Light it up

Add to the beauty of your railing and lengthen the time you can spend enjoying your deck with discrete outdoor lighting that can be integrated on railing posts and caps. Not only will lighting set the mood, it also will add safety and security. Consider LED dimmer options or our Solar Post Cap Light to maximize energy efficiency.


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