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Deck Railing Styles: An Overview

Finding the right railing for your deck can be a daunting, but ultimately worthwhile process. Installing railings on your deck is not only a necessary safety measure but also a great opportunity to spruce up the exterior of your house in a subtle and impactful way.

Thoroughly researching and comparing different products will ensure that you have found the right type of railing for your deck. Before you do that, learning about some of the most common deck railing styles will help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to purchase.

Common Materials Used

Treated Wood

The most common material used is treated wood. You get a lot of flexibility with wood railings because you can leave them as their natural wood color or paint them to complement the rest of your deck and exterior of your house.

On top of its versatility, wood is an incredibly affordable material and is readily available at most hardware stores and online retailers. S&L Spindles provides a wide variety of high-quality wood deck posts and spindles that will meet your needs at an affordable price point.


Aluminum is the most low-maintenance option out of all railing materials. They are easy to clean and maintain because all you have to do to keep it clean is wipe it down from time to time. Moreover, aluminum railings can last several years while still retaining its original color and shape.

You can also get aluminum posts in a variety of different styles so you’re not limited if you go this route.


Metal railings are a versatile and durable option for your deck. It can be an effective accent piece against your wood or composite deck. Metal can be smelted and shaped into some truly beautiful shapes and designs that will make your deck stand out as a focal point for the back of your house.

You should be prepared to spend significantly more on metal or aluminum railings compared to wood and other materials as it is easily the most expensive option.

Popular Styles of Railings


The craftsman style emphasizes symmetry and simplicity. The individual posts are slim, straight lines of whichever material you prefer. With its clean lines and distinctly basic construction, you can find all types of houses use this style on their decks. It is an extremely versatile railing style that seamlessly fits with traditional and even classic styles of homes.

If you live in a mid-century modern home, then you might this to be the fit for you as your house already has an emphasis on straight lines and straightforward architecture. The deck posts will complement the rest of your house because they too will be uncomplicated, allowing them to be a perfect extension of your home, rather than stand out in an awkward way.


Emphasized by their geometric nature, the Chippendale style is unique and will give your deck a lot of character. Also referred to as Chinese-Chippendale, the lines on these pieces of railing are a combination of straight lines and diagonal lines which create angled square and rectangle shapes.

There is an interesting element of symmetry with this style as the lines are cut in a way that either half of the deck post will look identical to the other half in most instances.

Most notably utilized at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia, the Chippendale style can be utilized in any type of home. Even though it is distinct and eye-catching, this style of railing can work well with any type of home.

Turned Baluster

Easily the most classic style of railing out there, the turned baluster style is made up of vertical posts that are curved and rounded to varying degrees along its entire length. This style is almost always made of wood.

Its elegant curves are aesthetically pleasing against a classical backdrop but can easily fit on the deck of a modern home as well. If you are looking for something like this for your latest deck project, S&L Spindles has you covered.

Safety Standards and Installation

If you opt to self-install your railing, it is important to keep in mind that not only are your spindles spaced equally apart, but also within a regulated maximum allowable distance, usually set out by your township. Spindle and deck post installation is fairly simple, but take a look at our installation guides if you run into any questions!

Helpful Resources

Browse through our most popular how-to guides and other resources.

How-tos - Deck & Railing Installation Guides

How-To Guides

We have many short Do It Yourself articles on all of our products. For example, if you are looking for advice on working with our spindles, click here.

Baluster & Spindles Calculator

Baluster Calculator

Easily determine the perfect space between railing spindles and figure out how many you'll need with our convenient baluster calculator.

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