Should I go with Composite or Vinyl Deck Railings?

Planning Your Deck Project

When planning for your deck project many homeowners decide to select low maintenance materials, like composite deck over pressure treated. When choosing railings many homeowners have a harder time deciding which type of low maintenance materials is best for them.

Two of the most common options we deal with are composite and vinyl railings.  What are the differences between composite and vinyl railings?  While they are similar in some ways, there are a lot of ways that the two options are different. 

Composite Railings

Composite railings (like the Classic Composite Series by Timbertech) are a solid hybrid style railing that is usually formed with plastics and wood fibers to make a solid railing that looks and feels more like too up close.  They can be more scratch resistant than some vinyl options and can often come in colors that can closely match your decking.

Vinyl Railings

Vinyl railings (like the RDI Titan Pro Rail) are usually a preformed PVC that is hollow inside but supported with a steel or aluminum frame. This makes their strength not an issue.  Vinyl railings are generally more cost effective than the composite options, but some people consider vinyl to be less aesthetically pleasing compared to the composite options. So, it really comes down to your budget and personal preference.

While they make look similar from a distance composite railing have more natural look and feel to them.

Composite railings also generally offer more options for design, from lighting, to infill (balusters, cable rails, glass) options, to colors. 

Composite and Vinyl Railing Durability

While both Composite and Vinyl rail options are more expensive than wood railings, they may be cheaper in the long run due to maintain and life span. And unlike wood you will not have to worry about them splitting, decomposing, rotting, peeling, or falling prey to animals.  Most composite and vinyl railing manufacture offer long warranties on the life and finish of the project.  

A new or recovered deck has lots of features and will look great for a long time allowing you to enjoy your outdoor living space. Being prepared as the project gets started will allow you to enjoy the process more, and hopefully thinking about some of these items before you get started will help you be more prepared. Our team is happy to discuss which options work best for your budget and lifestyle.

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Allison Guido

Almar's CEO has over 20 years of experience in the remodeling industry. She is constantly learning and looking for ways to improve our homeowners' remodeling process and experience. Her mission is to break the Contractor Stereo Type and provide a great product at a good price for our homeowners.