Deck Railing Cost Comparison & Railing Product Types
- What is Deck Railing?
- Railing Cost - how much does handrail cost per foot?
- Types of Railing - what are the different types of handrail?
- Cheapest Rail - what is best priced railing
- Cost Comparison - what is the difference in price between types of handrail?
- Best Value - What type of railing has the best value?
- Aluminum Rail Costs - How much does aluminum railing cost, compared to Composite, Vertical Cable and Horizontal Cable?
- Let's see if we can help better understand the cost and value of deck railing systems!
Deck Railing Explained
- Manufactured exterior railing is an exterior rated structural barrier that stands at least 36-inches tall (42 inches is required by code in some areas) and is installed around the perimeter of exterior decks, patios, porches, gazebos, walkways, walls, ledges, edges, and really anywhere it is wanted or needed.
- Exterior railing can be used for the interior areas as well, and comes in several infill options. Most manufactured rail systems employ posts, which must be properly attached before rail infill can be installed between. For specific information about railing collections please see the links below
- Railing has a large range in price and varies depending on the type of railing.
- Aluminum systems with all aluminum components and vertical baluster infill have a range of about $50-$70 per lineal foot.
- Cable systems typically cost $80-$100 for vertical cable, and above for horizontal cable and glass.
- Price depends largely upon options such as post size, stocking profiles, stocking colors, best usage of materials.
- The type of railing has the largest impact on price.
- Each type of railing has a general range in price and tend to fall in order from least expensive to most expensive: Wood, Iron, Vinyl, Aluminum, Vertical Cable, Composite Rail, (Horizontal Cable and Glass are often comparable in price depending on scope)
- Is there a big difference in price? Yes, there can be a large difference in price between types of railing products and even manufactures. The large array of product materials, quality of manufacturing, thickness of metal, availability of products, and other factors all contribute to a diverse price range.
What is the Cheapest type of Railing?
Traditionally, cedar wood was primarily used for railing. Cedar has a beautiul look about it; however, yearly staining is costly in both time and resources. Cedar needs regular staining to keep from rot and decomposition which can dramatically cut the lifespan of the rail. In addition, 2021 saw record cedar prices, with the expectation they would only become more dramatic.
Treated Wood has also seen record prices, but is still the cheapest railing to purchase. Unfortunately, treated is not well suited for railing as it has a tendency to warp, twist, splinter, and crack. when not installed correctly treated will pull fasteners out of postion and should never be used with baluster connectors.
Wood railing may be the least expensive to purchase, but will cost the most in maintenance. Throughout the life of a deck, say 20 years, wood railing will either need be replaced completely, or will require maintenance yearly if not bi-annually. For this reason wood railing is of the most expensive types of railing.
So what is the real difference between products?
- Well, some deck railing systems have a better value than others.
- Treated may be the least expensive, but it's value is not very high.
- Vinyl products can be high in quality, but inexpensive ones can become brittle, and vinyl many not be the best against high winds.
- Iron is incredibly strong, but it is not steel and will rust if not properly taken care of. Aluminum is the best suited metal for railing as it has lower cost than steel, and will not rust like iron.
- Cable systems as well as glass systems use aluminum posts and rails to accomplish their "look".
- Composite railing has a much bulkier feel to it, and is more often used for traditional or classic rail profiles.
What has the Best Value?
- Metal railings such as Iron and Aluminum are in a range somewhere between ($40-$70/foot) and are the best valued products for entry level railing.
- Of course Aluminum out preforms Iron and even though it is more expensive, because it will not rust, it is the best valued railing.
- Not all railings are of the same quality though. Westbury Tuscany is a much higher quality railing system than any other thin-guage aluminum rail systems.
How much does Aluminum Railing Cost
- The Price for Aluminum Railing Systems or Collections like Tuscany C10 Railing Series range from $50/lnft to $70/lnft (not including labor)
- Aluminum Railing price does depend on use of material or (how much material is waste) Post size: 2”, 3”, or 4”, Collection, Gauge of Aluminum, and Shipping Costs.
- Currently, the lowest priced all-aluminum railing system is Outlook by Keylink.
- Aluminum Railing is a Great Choice, that keeps value through durability.
- Iron is strong but can rust, Aluminum will not.
- Wether you choose iron or aluminum railing. Touching up railing with paint is easy and effective, anyone can do it.
- There are several collections of All-Aluminum railing; with a range in top rail profile, color selection, and price. Aluminum Railing collections usually have a “face-mount" or "base mount" post option. This means the post is installed on the top of the deck and requires adequate blocking of the frame under the post locations.
- Westbury’s Tuscany C-10 is undoubtedly the most popular aluminum railing systems, but other lines such as DekPro Prestige, and AL13 Home are beautiful looking systems, with a slightly different approach. See all the types of railing on the railing page below
All Railing Collections
Compare Aluminum Rail Kits View all
Composite Railing Costs
Composite Systems are similar to Aluminum Systems, in that they will include all necessary parts. Perhaps the biggest difference in Composite is the post option. Most composite rail systems provide a Post Sleeve which is placed over a nominal 4x4 (3.5”x3.5”) wooden post or Structural Newel Post. Rails are usually sold without Balusters for more mix-and-match options. Composite Railing like TimberTech RadianceRail Express can cost $90/lnft to $200/lnft (for material) again depending on the situation, application, and wasted materials, and type of infill, cable or baluster.
Cable railing systems are probably the coolest systems of railing. The minimalistic view, with a modern look is quite awesome. However, cable can be quite expensive. Some options like Westbury C80 VertiCable is a vertical cable railing system, and one of the better-priced cable options costing around $80-$100/lnft (material only). DesignRail by Feeney (which is a fully customizable railing of several top rail profiles, and color options) runs from $110/lnft to $150/lnft (material only,) and is considered the elite cable railing system. DesignRail Kits, on the other hand, is a collection by Feeney available in Black only, with series 150 Rail, a Horizontal Cable Railing at a lower cost than DesignRail. The huge advantage in this system are Kit Posts; which are pre-drilled to make the installation process as simple as can be.