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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

Guidelines for Choosing the Best Materials for Your Porch Railing

Posted by Kyle Boatwright on 7/6/18 9:27 AM

wooden railing

When building their homes, many American homeowners put a lot of thought into the type of porch they want, but sometimes they don't think much about their porch railings. Of course, the primary function of a railing is to protect individuals and pets from falling off of the elevated porch. Besides providing security, porch railings are also beautiful, adding curb appeal to a home. Before buying just any type of railing material, it's important to consider your maintenance needs and the style of your house. Here are some basic guidelines for choosing the best materials for your porch railing, along with a few considerations and warnings.

Vinyl Railing

Vinyl porch railing offers aesthetic appeal, is affordable, comes in many finishes and styles and doesn't rot or rust. On the other hand, it entails some upkeep, although it's relatively easy to maintain. Another drawback is that it doesn't offer the wide choice of colors that aluminum railing does. This is because aluminum railing is usually constructed with a powder coating that can easily be made into whatever color you prefer.

Wooden Railing

Wooden railings are generally seen inside homes. However, they are also commonly used as railings for outdoor porches. Although they're attractive, they need more maintenance than other types of railing materials. Furthermore, you'll need to be sure your wooden railing is properly sealed so that it can handle challenging outdoor elements.

The Many Advantages of Aluminum Railing

There are several benefits of aluminum porch railing.

  • Durability is a big advantage as aluminum doesn't corrode or rust as other types of railing materials. It's able to endure inclement weather, such as snow, ice, rain and harsh UV rays.
  • Low maintenance is another reason why so many Americans prefer aluminum railing. Unlike wood, it doesn't twist, warp, shrink or splinter.
  • While it's more expensive than wood, aluminum is more affordable than steel or wrought iron. What's more, it doesn't involve the maintenance costs linked with wood railing. Also, it lasts longer than wood, so you don't have to worry about replacing your railing as often.
  • Safety is a significant perk. Aluminum railing is exceptionally safe as it meets every ADA code requirement for safety and accessibility. Even though it's somewhat lightweight, it remains safe and strong for many years.
  • Easy installation is why so many people choose aluminum railing as it's easier to install than many other railing materials. Our aluminum railings come in kits that have almost everything you'll need. All you need are a few basic tools, such as a drill, rubber hammer, tape measure and a level. This makes installation simple for anyone with average DIY (do-it-yourself) skills.
  • Cosmetic appeal is an advantage. You can find aluminum railings in a wide variety of styles and colors that can match your home. Aluminum is just as stylish and elegant as steel or wrought iron, while being lighter and less expensive.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Probably your most critical consideration when choosing porch railing materials is the architectural style of your house. You'll want your railing to be compatible with the rest of your home, including your yard.
  • Be sure any railing you're considering is proportionate in size to the other details of your house.
  • If your aluminum porch railings are installed in a standard environment that's not prone to humidity, such as close to a pool, lake or ocean, they'll only need to be cleaned at least once a year. But if you do have a pool or live near water, then you'll need to clean your railings at least every six months.
  • When selecting a color for your porch railing, determine if you want your railing to contrast with its surroundings or blend in with them.
  • You'll need to consider your roofing and siding materials, along with any surrounding plants, trees, and grass.

For all your architectural products, you can depend on Worthington Millwork. Please visit our online store and check out our huge selection of high-quality American made architectural products.

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Topics: Balustrade System, Porch Railing

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