In Vancouver and around the world, deck railings vary greatly in style and cost. So what railing type is best for your greater Vancouver home? This article considers cost, durability, maintenance requirements, and building code restrictions of the most popular deck railings to help you decide.
Wooden Deck Railings
$30 – $60
Wooden deck railings are generally the least expensive type of railing to install. Ranging from $30 – $60 per linear foot, design options are endless. Wooden railings can have traditional posts, lattice, or panel designs. They can be composed of pressure treated wood, cedar, or a combination. With wooden deck railings, you have the option to paint or stain them varying colours, giving you more flexibility and control over some design elements. Wood railings are generally simple to install and work well for wooden decks but pose complications on vinyl decks.
The drawback of wooden railings is the amount of maintenance required. Almost yearly, wooden railings need sanding and refinishing to keep up their appearance. Each post can take up to 10 minutes to prep and seal with the right equipment, making maintenance annoyingly time consuming.
Aluminum Deck Railings
$40 – $90
Aluminum railings are the sweetheart of the decking industry. Highly durable, affordable, and very low maintenance, this type of railing has few drawbacks and makes a lot of sense for most people. Aluminum railings can be either mounted on the facia (side mounted) or on top of the deck (top mounted). This makes them ideal for tight spaces on balconies and for vinyl decks, where waterproofing is a concern. Standard aluminum railings are narrow picket and are available prefabricated, or custom built.
Prefabricated Aluminum Railings
Prefabricated aluminum railings are designed for the DIY-er and are available at hardware stores from $40 – $90 per linear foot. Prefab railings are used on decks with standard measurements and require some technical know-how to install — and, of course, time.
Custom Aluminum Railings
Custom aluminum railings are manufactured to order. Measurements are taken of the deck, stairs, and any nooks and crannies that require a railing. They’re produced in two to three weeks and powder coated in your preferred colour. Custom aluminum railings cost $60 – $150 per linear foot installed by a professional. Custom railings also give you the option to get creative with design. Twisted pickets, thickened pickets, a double top cap, or other design features will cost an additional $5 – 10 per linear foot.
Composite Deck Railings
For composite decks, composite deck railings are the obvious choice. Like their decking counterpart, composite railings provide supreme durability with minimal maintenance. This type of railing is composed of a pressure treated wood post, wrapped in a composite or PVC sleeve for protection and aesthetics. The composite lasts 25+ years without fading or warping and requires only periodic washing. Between posts, composite pickets, aluminum, cable or glass can be used. Many brands of composite railings, such as TimberTech’s Radiance Rail, can incorporate lighting into the railings — a delicate and stunning accent.
However, composite railings feel out of place when not on composite decks and can only be top mounted. Additionally, they are only available in limited colours, making design options minimal. Although, if you have a composite deck, railing colours will match and this option makes perfect sense as a polished, low-maintenance choice.
Glass Deck Railings
$66 – $200
To maximize your view of BC’s beautiful vistas, glass railings are second to none. Glass deck railings make decks feel larger. Most often coupled with an aluminum picture frame for sturdiness and building code requirements, glass/aluminum combination railings start around $66 per linear foot installed.
Panorama short post glass railings cost approximately $140 per linear foot. These railings have aluminum posts on either side of each glass panel, but no aluminum top cap on the railing. Short post glass railings decrease the obstruction of your view, while still providing optimal strength and peace of mind.
For a completely unobstructed view, postless tempered glass panel railings are available for around $180-$200 per linear foot installed. These side-mounted glass panels are a sleek option for million-dollar views found in West Vancouver, White Rock, and other coastal communities. With proper installation, they are 100% safe and will make a lasting impression on guests.
The drawback of glass railings – especially in homes with kids and pets – is that they tend to get smudged and require regular cleaning. If you can live with that, glass railings are a charming addition to any home. Some municipalities don’t allow topless glass railings, but aluminum framed glass railings are unanimously welcome.
Every deck (more than 18” off the ground) needs railings. Whether you’re building a new deck, refreshing your old one, or just in need of deck railings, consider what material will be the best fit for your use of the deck and for your budget.
Citywide Sundecks & Railings builds and renovates decks in Metro Vancouver, BC. We have expertise in all of the above railing types and can help you decide which is best for your needs and budget.
To get a FREE estimate on the cost of your deck railings, fill out the form below or call 604-786-3325 today.