The boards underfoot seem to get all the attention when homeowners and their deck designers consider outdoor living options. But as representatives from Trex noted in a recent meeting with REMODELING editors, the railing is just as important.
“The railing is what people see from the street, so they really want to be able to customize it,” says Trex senior product manager Mike Onderko. To that end, Trex has focused on improving its railing offerings.
The Transcend railing remains the brand’s flagship line, boasting 1,200 design options when users consider skirts, caps, and post sleeves in seven colors, and numerous balustrade options ranging from traditional to contemporary.
Homeowners could scoff at having so many options. “If they’re intimidated by it, they’ll go to a big-box store and buy the cheapest white railing they can find,” Onderko says. To prevent that, Trex is also launching a railing configurator as part of its online deck visualizer.
Safety and code compliance are also important. Azek recently introduced Azek Rail Metal Balusters designed to attach to the railing more securely. An extruded screw chase allows for direct attachment to the railing. This creates a stronger connection and eliminates visible plastic connectors.
Also recently achieving code compliance is the Clubhouse Elite Railing System from Deceuninck. “Builders, contractors, and homeowners alike seek third-party verification of the durability and stability of decking and railing products before they purchase or install,” says Deceuninck North America president Filip Geeraert. Clubhouse Elite offers a low-maintenance PVC railing in low-gloss white, black, or walnut finishes.
Another easy-care solution new to the market is the Foundations speed rail system from AERT’s ChoiceDek brand. “Carpenters for years have used classic 2x4 wood railing systems,” says Brent Gwatney, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ChoiceDek. “Now we’re offering homeowners and building pros the same simplicity in a more durable composite railing.”
The Foundations railing comes in prepackaged kits. A 6-foot section of deck railing requires one speed rail kit, one baluster kit, and two post sleeves, post caps, and post collars, which are packaged individually.