Tips on How to Choose the Ideal Railing For Your Deck

The level of comfort in your backyard is often related to deck design. Is the space large enough? Does the shape create good flow and invite you outside? Besides form issues there is also the structural support and safety elements that allow you to feel secure on the surface. Railing selection plays a big part of this and the right railing will help to maintain a great view, direct traffic and keep your patio private. Which railing style to install is undoubtedly an important choice.

Building Codes

First of all, it's important that any railing you install follows the local building code. If your deck is ground level (less than 24 inches off of the ground) you will not likely need a permit and so following codes is optional. But for any deck where a building permit is involved, it's necessary to meet the codes.

This may affect the spacing between pickets and posts, the height of the railing as well as the space between the top and bottom rail. Many manufactured deck railing systems - such as welded aluminum railing or composite products - are made to pass code and will indicate that on their packaging. If not, or if you are building a custom railing, be sure the specifications are up to code before you begin installation.

Designed For a Line of Sight

Although your railing is most often a safety feature, it doesn't need to block your view. Most often a railing that is 36 to 42 inches high will be just the right height to see over when seated. If you are designing a walkout deck (more than 5 feet off of the ground) you may want to consider tempered glass railing in order to leave the view open as much as possible. Tempered glass can be installed in wood framing, as well as aluminum, composite and vinyl framing.

Small, round pickets finished in black are also a good choice to maintain a decent view as they allow the eyes to see through comfortably. A combination of the color and the shape make this style of deck railing a good choice for maintaining a clean line of sight.

Protect Your Privacy

Homes in suburbia need to consider how to create and maintain privacy in their outdoor living space. Installing a privacy screen in place of railing is a good idea for most homes. Consider where you would like the privacy and where the neighbor's line of sight is. Anything 5 foot high and up will be sufficient for privacy and also acts as a handy wind break to provide more comfort on the deck.

Play with your privacy screen by adding decorative toppers or a scalloped beam along the top. This can make a rather stark area attractive, as well as helping to create a focal point on your patio. Use large posts to add depth to the screen - 4x4s are standard, but 5x5s or 6x6s look beautiful and grand on decks.

The deck railing that you choose will have a major impact on the overall feel of the space. You need to follow building code and maintain safety, but keeping the beauty of your landscape in view and adding privacy are also important considerations. Have a look at what is available and choose a railing that is practical, attractive and sturdy for the best finish on your deck design.

Posted by: diana
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