Sunday, March 28, 2010

Railings part 2

Last week we looked at Deckorators balusters and accessories, we forgot to review Deckorators new aluminum kit railing product Aluminum Railing System  This kit rail system has a maximum span of 6' and comes pre-drilled for all the different Deckorators balusters. It also has a snap on top cap rail with no exposed fasteners. There is also post sleeves to cover 4x4 rail support posts. The top and bottom rails are basically a aluminum 2x4. The Aluminum rail system comes in black and white colors.

It will be interested in seeing what the price is of this system. If it is more affordable or about the same as the basic vinyl railings on the market it will be a good option on wood decks, the railings are the biggest labor in staining a deck.  Judging by the pictures they show it with (composite decks) it will be about the same cost as a composite kit rail system.

So back to this weeks reveiw of different deck railing ideas, we are going to do a basic overview of the main deck and porch railings we see here in Michigan. Treated pine is still the main choice for decks and railing in the metro detroit area deck and porch market.

Wood deck and porch rails

We generally build all of our treated wood deck railings with a 2x4 top and bottom rail and the metal balusters, Sometimes we add a deck board as a top cap which gives the top of the rail a continous look.

 Or we will run the rail post above the top rail and add a post cap to the rail posts as you see here in the picture on the right which is a cedar deck. Notice the rail pocket hole attachment method we use on all the cedar decks we build here in Michigan.

Here is the same basic treated pine railing with a deck board top cap, but with  2x2 wood balusters. This is on a handicap ramp we built in Macomb County Michigan.  On angle of the railings on the ramp,  it is harder to use the metal balusters,  so we went with the standard wood 2x2s.  In one variation or another this is the most common wood railing

The Pictures below are from the web

Here is a interesting railing,  I believe from Deckorators with stained glass inserts and mix of vertical and horizontal balusters. Also tiffany post caps

Here is a wood rail posts and a top cap rail used with cable rails

                                           Here is some baluster patterns.


                                                                               New England style

                           Glass balusters
Thank You for reading our blog, next week we will again be looking at different railing ideas

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Railing and baluster ideas ( Deckorators)

Hello, For the next few posts we are going to talk about different railing and baluster products and ideas.

For alot of our railing projects we use Deckorators balusters. Usually the classic 26" balusters, here in the picture you can see the 3/4 round baluster used with a composite 2x4 railing.

The connection to the top and bottom rail is done with either a standard baluster connector, or a designer baluster connector. You can also drill out the top and bottom rails to receive the 3/4 round baluster.

Standard baluster connector

                                                                 Designer baluster connector

The Deckorators classic 3/4 round 26" balusters run about $1.60 per baluster, in comparison a treated 2x2x32 runs about $1.00 per baluster and a cedar 2x2x32 is about a $1.35

So for a typical 400 sq ft treated wood deck with railings the added costs would only be about $175
 and on a cedar deck it would only add about $50. On composite deck railing you actually save money
 over composite 2x2s

The labor time to install is a little more than just nailing on pre-cut 2x2s . We probably average a couple more hours per deck using the metal balsuters and connectors. We have a jig for the layout of the balsters and the jig holds the connectors in place to screw down to the rails. We start by finding the center point of each railing section - between rail post. We then layout the centers of the baluster at 4.5" or sometimes 4 1/4" on center depending on the distance between the posts, and we usually stay about 2" away from the ends of a rail section.
Here you can see the pre-drilling and attachment method used in composite and hardwoods

Finished cedar wood rails with the metal balusters

Treated Wood railings with metal balusters

Keep in mind that the big benifit of the metal balutsers is that they do not require painting or staining like a wood baluster. One of the worst parts of staining a deck is staining the balusters
Deckorators are  - powder coated aluminum with a lifetime warranty

Deckorators has many other differents styles of metal balusters.
My personal favorite is

                                                                 The  Estate (square)
Which is a little larger looking and I think it gives  richer look. I personally think the estate baluster are easier to install also. In the picture you see a 2x4 composite railing with Estate balusters in a bronze color with diamond pattern basket layout. 
                The Colonial 

                                                                                     The Architectural

Scenic  (glass)                                                                           

Deckorators has a some different accessories that are nice options.

Fleur de lis centerpiece with baskets on each side

Here some of their baluster accesories

Deckorators also has a nice line of post caps, post covers, and post skirts

Here is a link to Deckorators website

We are going to keep reviewing different deck railing options in our next blog posts

Thank You for reading

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hottest Outdoor Living Trends for 2010

Here is a artical on the hottest outdoor living trends in 2010



Arbors – 87.2%

Ornamental water features such as fountains or splash pools – 86.7%

Pergolas – 83.4%

Decks – 83.0%

Fencing (includes gates) – 82.9%

Porches – 76.4%

Steps – 74.6%

Utility shed (tool shed, garden shed etc.) – 64.8%

Gazebos – 58.6%

Pavilions – 58.0%

Art (sculpture etc.) – 58.0%

Columns – 43.7%

Awnings, including retractable – 42.8%

ADA-accessible structures (ramps, bars, accessible shelving etc.) – 21.4%
I would like to add one more - small greenhouses or backyard greenhouses.

Thank You
For Reading