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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

Aluminum Railings vs. Steel Railings for Your Deck

Posted by Worthington Millwork on 12/26/19 5:00 AM

Aluminum railing 3Planning to switch out your old deck railings for new ones but torn between aluminum and steel? Well, you're not alone. This is a puzzle most homeowners are often unable to solve, and we don't blame them as both metals pack closely related perks. Even though we don't have a cut and dried answer, we'll help you determine the best between the two by comparing the two materials.

Battle of the Metals; Aluminum Railings vs. Steel Railings

Before we venture into the main features, it's vital to note that each material has both benefits and drawbacks. Below is a clearer picture of what each brings to the table in terms of;

1. Durability

Both aluminum and steel railings are renowned for their exemplary durability. However, steel is susceptible to corrosion. Hence, it requires continuous maintenance and tends to give in to the test of time fast than steel.  Aluminum, on the other hand, is not only powder-coated but is also a non-ferrous metal. Hence, it is rust and corrosion resistant and stands up to harsh weather conditions such as winter incredibly well.

Winner: Aluminum

2. Maintenance

As noted above, steel is susceptible to rusting hence requires continuous maintenance. It calls for regular polishing and repainting. American-made Aluminum railings, on the other hand, are durable, and even though they might require a good cleaning every once in a while, do not need repainting or polishing for survival.

Winner: Aluminum

3. Aesthetics

If aesthetics are the only thing that matter to you, then you might have a hard time deciding as both metals boast a unique visual appeal. For instance, steel boasts a rustic aesthetic that you might find appealing and also blends in seamlessly with most materials.

Aluminum, on the other hand, is relatively soft and easier to cut than steel. This means that it's easily customizable and hence available on a broader array of designs and patterns. Also, American-made aluminum railings are often powder-coated.

This means they are available in an unlimited selection of colors. Therefore, if you're going for uniqueness, then aluminum is a much better option as you have countless choices. However, if you're going for an aged aesthetic, then steel is a better option, but it comes with the high costs of maintenance.

Winner: Both. Depends on the kind of aesthetic appeal you're trying to achieve.

4. Cost

We all want to cut on costs, and while the price of the two metals varies from one manufacturer to another, aluminum railings are usually more affordable. Even though you might find that the difference in prices of the two metals is only slight, when you consider the long-term maintenance costs associated with steel railings, aluminum is more pocket-friendly.

Winner: Aluminum

5. Installation

Aluminum is one-third of steel's weight. This means that its railings are lighter than those of steel. Hence its transportation, handling, and installation is practically a walk in the park, and depending on your handy skills; you can even install it yourself.

Steel, on the other hand, is quite heavy. It requires some heavy lifting to transport and install. Thus it should be installed by professionals, making the total cost of steel railings even higher.

Winner: Aluminum

Overall Winner: Aluminum

Even though it all comes down to what you prefer, there's so much to love about aluminum railings. From their ease of installation, excellent durability, ease of maintenance, cost-effectiveness to great aesthetics, aluminum presents a much better option.

What's even better is that we provide a wide range of American-made aluminum railings for any architectural setting. Whether you're looking to revamp your deck or breathe life to your home's stairs, we have everything that you need to make this a reality. Check us out or contact us today for more information.

Topics: Aluminum Railing, Porch Railing, decorative railing, aluminum railings

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