composite deck railing

Composite vs Aluminum Railing

Designing your deck isn’t only about choosing the decking; you must also decide which railings you want to accompany it.

The style of your deck railing can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your deck. There are many different styles of deck railings to choose from, made from different materials and in different colors.

Not only will your choice of railing complement your home’s style and add to your outdoor space’s overall aesthetic appeal, it will also determine how long it’s likely to last and how much maintenance it will require over time.

As your new deck will be part of your life for many years to come, it’s important that you consider the following when choosing the railing:


1) Deck Rail Material: Choosing the Best Railing for Your Deck

When choosing a deck railing, the main choice of material is between composite and aluminum.

The primary differences are that aluminum is slightly more durable, while composites are more economical and provide a more traditional style.

The average material cost of aluminum railing is around $70 to $115 per linear foot, before installation. Composite, by comparison, costs around $40 to $75.

The good news is that both aluminum and composite deck railings stand up to the elements very well. As the more expensive option, aluminum is a physically harder material and therefore can offer better protection against scratches and dents. That said, the life span of each depends on how well they are maintained.

Keeping aluminum railings in pristine condition may require power washing twice annually and minor regular care in between.

In comparison, the maintenance required for composite railing is quite low. Using gentle soaps to occasionally scrub your railing with a magic eraser could be enough.



2) The right color for your deck railing

The second railing choice you have to make concerns the color and finish.

When deciding on the best railing for your deck, it’s important that it matches your tastes, home decor and your property’s surroundings.

Choosing railings that are similar in shade to your deck will give it a cohesive, monochromatic look. Conversely, choosing a contrasting railing color will make it stand out more.

You can also have your deck railing match your window frames for a striking contrast or keep your railings in the same color family as your home’s exterior for a seamless transition.

For the best home, deck and rail color combination, consider a scheme that consists of three colors: a dominant, secondary and accent color.

The key is to have just enough contrast with your home to ensure that your deck doesn’t stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Aluminum railings are typically available in fewer color options than composite. Most aluminum railings come in black, white or shades of brown.

Meanwhile, you can find a fairly wide range of color options for composite railing – nearly twice as many as the aluminum alternative. This usually allows you to find a better compliment to your deck’s surroundings.


3) Choose a style that balances views and privacy

The location of your deck and what surrounds it can also dictate the best railing choice for you.

If you have a great view from your property, you should maximize it with railings with thin vertical or horizontal balusters that visually blend into the background. This allows the view to be the focal point on your deck. 

Cables and glass can also be used to maximize any views you might have.

If, however, you don’t live in a particularly scenic place or your area is quite built-up, you could opt for railings with thicker posts and larger balusters to enhance the privacy of your outdoor space.


Choosing the Best Railing for Your Deck


Explore all your decking options with Decked Out Builders

At Decked Out Builders, we help local homeowners make their decking dreams a reality.

If you want to learn more about all your options, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can help you choose the most suitable materials and colors for your new deck!

Call us on (815) 900-5199 or fill out our contact form. We’re ready and waiting to answer your questions!


decked out builders about us

As a truly family-run, locally owned business, we take great pride in providing our clients with exceptional customer service and high-quality craftsmanship. Decked Out Builders is fully licensed and insured to handle any of your remodeling needs.


With over 50 years of combined experience we provide our clients with a comprehensive approach to contracting and specialize in custom decks, screened porches, and basement remodeling. 


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