Composite and vinyl decks offer durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic benefits like non-fading colors. More and more homeowners and remodelers are taking notice. As the popularity of this product category continues to grow, manufacturers have taken their systems one step further by offering railings to match and complement their decks.
"Before, contractors would have to install a cedar wood railing with our composite decking, and that would eventually split, splinter, and lose color. Plus it would have to be maintained," says Angela Ross, product specialist for TimberTech, which recently introduced an ornamental railing system in three colors to match its composite decking lines. "It doesn't make sense to have a maintenance-free deck and then have to maintain your railing."
In addition, a deck's appearance may be marred by a mismatched railing. "Consumers are demanding more attractive-looking rail systems with lower maintenance," says Paul Bizzarri, TimberTech's marketing director. "The continued low-maintenance aspect of [composite] railing systems matches that of [composite] decking systems."
Plus, says Bizzarri, "it is a benefit to the consumer to be able to buy from one source and have one-material decks."
In addition to TimberTech, many other manufacturers also are offering new railing systems to match their low-maintenance decking lines, including CertainTeed, which offers Boardwalk Composite Railings to complement the company's Boardwalk decking system. Kroy Building Products offers contoured vinyl railing systems in small and large profiles, and Trex has matching composite railings with a chamfered hand rail. LP offers Crystal White Composite Railing for its Crystal White composite decking, Weyerhaeuser recently unveiled matching railings for its ChoiceDek composite decking, and L.B. Plastics' new SheerView Glass Railing System combines tempered glass with a high-impact metal-reinforced PVC frame from the maker's Sheerline 4500 Series railing system.
A la carte options
Some companies are selling railing systems as a low-maintenance alternative for wood decks, as well. Georgia-Pacific now markets and distributes Premium Vinyl Railing, which is made of extruded vinyl with a wood-like texture, to coordinate with its natural redwood, cedar, cypress, and pressure-treated lumber decks.
"The product is ideal for contractors and homeowners because it has the look of real wood without the maintenance," says Clayton Taylor, communications manager for Georgia-Pacific.
Matching decking and railing systems allow remodelers to offer their customers a complete decking package.