With all the consumer choices out there it’s difficult to come up with a railing system that fits your needs. The most economical are pre-constructed rail sections that are sold at big box stores. I, personally, find them flimsy and the few times we have used them we ended up rebuilding them, so we no longer offer them. Custom built simple rails with a top and a bottom rail are very common with 2x2 balusters spaced no more than 4" apart. We never recommend spacing the posts more than 8" and they can be built from pine or cedar. Composite systems come in quite a few varieties. We like Timbertech product because it’s one of the few rail systems that must be screwed together as opposed to fitting together in pre routed holes. It makes for a tighter rail system and a more dependable one. Finally, aluminum rails are sleek and contemporary. The prices vary greatly depending on the gauge of aluminum used on the rail along with how the base flange of the post is fastened. We like Westbury product because the base flange, where the most amount of stress is applied to the rail system, is welded to the post and not fit into a socket where it can come loose over time. Tough paint is a must if you want it to look good through its lifetime.
Short story is don’t skimp on the rails, particularly if you have an elevated deck. You will find yourself replacing it before long and be sure your contractor is qualified to install them. Poor installations will not only void the warranty but make for a dangerous situation as the rails can come loose.
And last...if you have additional questions, please contact OnDeck 24/7 at 866-278-2841
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