Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
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.

f4d4a90b-f2da-430e-aa7f-9634278ec30c100_

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Picture1004.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

f4d4a90b-f2da-430e-aa7f-9634278ec30c100_

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • We live in some sort of Bizarro world now - Sarah Palin calling Trump sinfully stupid.     Here's another one from Ann Coulter, who literally wrote a book "In Trump We Trust"    
    • You do realize that if the taxes were done that way, the cities would get $2.53 billion richer, and rural areas would get $2.53 billion poorer. The 7 county metro pays substantially more taxes (nearly 2/3 of the states total) than the other 80 counties in Minnesota combined, but only receives roughly half of the state expenditures.   Sorry to break it to you, but rural America is not fiscally solvent. Those citiots you speak of are bankrolling the entire country. It's easy to see on this chart: more urban states are to the left (givers) and more rural states are to the right (takers).  
    • I tried to purchase the screws yetti uses from Fastenal who is their vendor for the screws. They are only sold in large reels designed for a self loading screwgun. I finally called Casey at Glacial lake docks where I purchased my yetti and he sent me out the amount I needed. They work great to add additional fir strips. The plastic used to tie them together comes right off as you screw them in. Hope that helps. 
    • Sorry...was wrong on the specs.   Manufacturer is Core Ice.  It was 1450# for a 12' and 1250# for a 8'.  
    • I believe you want to use a zinc coated or galvanized steel according to the charts.  I'm sure someone will come along to correct me
    • In the back room there is a company that is using bonded foam panels (similar to garage door panels, but really clean looking), and had weights of 1250# for a 12' and 1450# for a 16'.  Aluminum trailer frames that could convert to a skid frame.  Can't recall the name.  I'm sure they were spendy, but I can see a concept like that going somewhere for the hardcore fishing crowd.   Yetti, Firebrand, Big Bite, and Glacier all had really nice display models.      Lots of campers (disguised as fish houses) out there at prices that make me want to jump into the business.  I was in two different manufacturers houses with prices well over $30k that had wire nuts for connections.  That is going to be a fun adventure for someone 2-3 years down the road when they find out their manufacturer saved $15 on their wiring.           
    • Thank you for all the help!  Ended up going with the Marcum VS485C.  After some research, there were a few other Marcums that were on the list (825 & 625), the Aqua Vu HD, and the Pan Cam.  The mini cams from all manufactures weren't what I was looking for, but they are cool and do have their place.     After seeing everything in person, I think the Aqua Vu HD had the best camera/screen.  The Marcums were a little bit behind, but the 825, 625, 485, and Pan Cam had similar real life clarity.  The 485 won out because of the $300 price point vs the others at $450-700, and was almost identical for resolution, other than the HD.
      I honestly think these cameras are all about 5+ years behind in technology in comparison to the broader camera/tv screen market.  Running off a 7-9ah battery is probably one of the limiting factors.  Another may be the cold.  The main reason (IMO) is that the manufacturers are hoping they can incrementally rape us by trickling out technology each year, similar to the computer manufacturers of the 90s/early 2000's.  For the price of a middle of the road underwater camera, I can buy a Chinese made 50" TV (these all have Chinese made 5-8" screens) and a GoPro or Sony Action Cam (which is 10x's the picture quality).       
    • Any newcomers in the wheelhouse business at the Ice show in St. Paul?
    • Im sure it's hard to see through your Liberal tears.  
  • Our Sponsors