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sticknstring

Deck Railing Options

25 posts in this topic

Awhile back I made a post in regards to what materials to use for building a deck. We've now got the posts and frame narrowed down but are still in the process on deciding what to use for railing balusters.

We're working on a budget and cedar 2x2's seem to be the way to go. However I really like the looks of the white iron spindles and sure wouldn't mind the low-maintenance factor either.

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I priced out a few metal ones and they're about 3 times the cost of cedar. Is the extra cost up front worth it in the long run? I appreciate any suggestions or input you might have.

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I used the white aluminum balusters from Menards. They are a hollow tube. They were longer than I wanted so I cut them with a chop saw to get the railing height I wanted. They were more $ than 2x2s but I don't remember if I had considered cedar or treated. I used the fast-ball attachment system, it worked well. The railings turned out looking very nice.

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Im doing a set of stairs on my house right now, using the Dekorators brand balusters, they should retail around 2.79 each. get the connectors for easy install for $10 a bag, bag covers 10 balusters. They are more, but the worst part of staining is doing all four sides of a 2x2. you'll make up the price difference in time spent staining. Plus they look alot better, and EVERYONE has the 2x2s. be original!

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I'd be looking at 250-300 ballusters... that's pretty expensive for connectors at $1/ea! I didn't see any white aluminum ones at Menards but I'll keep searching. Anyone else?

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I've had the dekorator brand (white) for about 7 years. Yes, they look nice and you don't have to stain...BUT, staining aroung them (top rail, bottom rail, etc) is a total pain because you get stail all over the ballusters. You can wipe it off, but don't let it sit too long or we'll have a messing getting it off. In hind sight, I think I'd look at other options today...like an all iron system.

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All iron are nice, but 4 times as much as wood, and 1-1/2 times as much as vinyl. if done right they do look amazing with little to no maintenance. Its nice to hear that product has lasted that long for you. i've sold them for about 3-4 years now and being they are aluminum (no rust) and powdercoated (durable paint0 i've always figured on them lasting longer than the wood itself.

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I'll check into the Deckorator's... at under $3, that's doable. Thanks for all the help.

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I'm with ripper on this one. What a pain in the but to stain around. I bought the Deckorators as well. I will be changing them in a couple years.

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i look at it this way, its less of a pain to go around them, than it is to stain 4 sides of a wood baluster. All Aluminum is the way to go, if you can afford it. Minnesota Vinyl & Aluminum Systems out of Shakopee has an excellent system and is one of the most competitively priced metal railing companies out there.

I've sold a few of their systems to customers, and on to my neighbor. Good stuff.

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croth - I noticed you recommended MV&AL on my last deck post as well. I'd be interested in some more information/pricing if you've got time. I appreciate it.

Also if anyone has pics of their railings with the Dekorator's I'd like to seem them. Thanks guys.

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head to double u double u double u dot mvas dot com.

look under aluminum railing, i always sold the classic railing, and the glass panel rail.

I used to sell them when i was at a lumberyard in St cloud, i've since moved, but i do belive a guy can buy directly from them, if not i can give you the contact information for the place i used to work at, you can purchase through them and have it shipped to your location. they even offer to help show you set up and everything, at least the salesman i dealt with did.

p.s. i dont work for them or have any intrest in them, just had a good experience.

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I hear you about the staining and trying to avoid the white balusters. I have that project on the list for this spring and am not looking forward to it. My rails and posts are all treated so they will have to be stained. I should have had the fore-thought to stain them 1st before they were installed!!!

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I used the black aluminum ones from menards. .95$ per piece. No connectors, just drill holes and insert.

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Got it.. thanks croth.

Those black balusters look nice as well Moe.

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When I first opened this thread I was going to suggest what Moe has done. At 95 cents a piece and no fasteners for me its an easy choice. Really I don't like most systems that require special fasteners for a product.

Depending on the base, clean up any stain with a wet rag or mineral spirits the follow up with a dry rag. In time the powder coat will somewhat caulk and absorb the stain so cleanup won't take all the stain off, for that reason I'd suggest a color other then white when possible.

I like the look of the balusters but don't like the white posts at all, they throw the balance off.

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I used the black balusters with treated lumber on my stairs last weekend. the connectors save more time than the drilling is worth IMO. Holes in the top of the bottom rail hold water and will rot the wood out faster. Im not a fan of the white, but the black looks sharp and matches anything. I added a few Maine Ornamental Black Metal Solar caps to the top and bottom post of my stairs for some added effect.

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I also used the black ballusters from Home Depot with the round ball connectors. Worked pretty slick. For the stairwell, the connector will conform to whichever slope or stair angle you run at. All you need to do is lock in the angle to your miter saw and cut the balluster to get it right. Getting the angle correct would be a little more difficult on the Menards type where you drill into the support beams.

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So when looking at price last summer for the iron/steel ballusters I thought - wow!! thats pricey.

So I experimented and bought some electrical conduit (steel). A 10-12 foot piece was only around $1.95. I scrubbed them, roughed them - put a high quality outdoor paint and used a sealant or laquir. Looks great; no issues. One thing, make sure you stain the cedar before you put in on the deck (rail). I would suggest staining and pre assemble the pieces before you put on the deck. Much easier.

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That's a good idea Duck. The aluminum spindles were actually on sale this past week and all said & done were about the same price as cedar 2x2's. Unfortunately, my fiance decided she wanted cedar so I'll be taking the Dekorators back tonight and painfully staining 2x2's over valuable weekend time. And I thought I wore the pants in the family frown

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Generally women fit better in the men's pants then men do in the womens.......

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I went to Fireball Fab in Hastings and got a sweet glass/alum railing system for my lake home. I can actually see the lake without feeling like I'm looking through prison bars. They also make them with welded ballusters or will just sell you the parts for about 1/2 the cost.

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My wife and I have been going back and forth on what to put on the railing on the balcony off the master bedroom. We priced out glass and got prices of $2,000-2,200. After dropping $1,200 on a glass door for the slate shower figure we may want to stay away from glass for a while!

The cedar top and bottom rail with black aluminum spindles may be what we decide to go with, very nice look. The balcony has four hardi-board sided pillars that tie into the tarret roof so all we need to do is go between them.

Glass is nice but would suspect it would get dirty quickly?

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Ive sold a few glass railings and had customers put the rain-x coating on the glass twice a year. That seemed to work pretty well. Water spots is the biggest problem, but if you have pets, or children you will have slobber marks and fingerprints.

If you only have a small amount of railing to do $2200 seems very high. I did 38' straight with another 32' stair run for my neighbor, white aluminum with temp safety glass for about that price (materials only) last fall. Id get other bids.

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