When thinking about upgrading or building your dream outdoor deck with a beautiful handrail you might have a lot of ideas in mind. Maybe you want the modern look with stainless steel and metals to go with the classic wood floor of the deck. Maybe you are looking for a rustic all wood look to go with your mountain home. Maybe you want unobstructed view of the sun rising over the mountains or lake behind your house. You might want the least amount of maintenance but a good strong look. These are all ideas that need to be considered when building the hand rail for your deck. There are a million different products on the market that fit one of these types of looks. There are a select few handrail products which fit more than one of these types. At Thomas Lumber, we do our best to have in stock the handrail and decking material needed to fit any of these requests from our North Georgia customers.
Lets take a look at the different options Thomas Lumber Company stocks in handrails with a quick list of the differing qualities in each one .
Wood the the most commonly used type of handrail material. Most of the homes in the Atlanta and surrounding area use a 100% pressure treated pine handrail. This is because it is the cheapest and easiest to buy. The decking makes a decent deck board but it doesn’t make the best It is also the most unstable of the species of wood available in our area. The handrail posts and tops will warp and twist over time. The 2″x2″ pickets will do the same. The look of the pressure treated pine will degrade very quickly if a stain or water proofing is not applied to it every year. Every lumber yard in the area stock an assortment of pressure treated pine decking and lumber including Thomas Lumber. Most customers want something different though which is when we recommend Western Red Cedar or Ipe.
Western Red Cedar in a 2×4 or 2×6 for the rail and 4×4 or 6×6 for the posts is the most common choices. These are available in a smooth finish or a rough sawn finish. Western Red Cedar is the a very stable product due to the structure and the natural tannins of the wood. It is attractive due to the bright and dark red color variations especially when a light stain or clear water proofing is added. It is lower maintenance than pressure treated but does like to be cleaned on a yearly basis. We recommend a Sikkens stain from our friends at Custom Home Center.
Next in line according to the price of the material is a wood/aluminum hybrid hand rail system. This setup is a combination of traditional wood posts connected by the traditional wood hand rail pieces. To create a complete fence type system the top and bottom hand rail pieces are connected by color powder coated aluminum balusters. Like with wood there are many types, colors, and qualities of aluminum balusters. There are even some with LED lighting inside the balusters to help accent the custom deck rail even further. At Thomas Lumber we carry a couple different brands of these balusters.
The highest quality brand we keep in stock is Dekor. These high quality balusters are Made In The USA out of a thick gauge aluminum tube in both square and round shapes and are powder coated with a flat textured color finish. To add another option to the list they can be ordered with small LED lights to light up your handrail during the night.
The cheaper alternative is the DecKorator brand of balusters. These are similar to the Dekor balusters but are made of a thinner gauge aluminum. The powder coat finish on the DecKorator brand is a gloss type finish with no texture. They are available in different shapes including flat baroque style. Overall these are great balusters that fit the need for most decks but are a little lower in overall quality than the Dekor.
In the past couple of years Trex has introduced a handrail system that we have seen a rise in popularity. This is the completely aluminum Trex Reveal Railing. This can be used as completely aluminum deck rail or it can be combined with wood posts with the aluminum rail pieces mounted to the wood posts. This system comes from Trex complete and ready to install. It can be used between Pressure Treated Pine, Western Red Cedar, or Ipe posts. Trex even makes their own aluminum posts that can be used to complete a low maintenance deck rail solution. Our most common use of the Trex Reveal Railing is to have Western Red Cedar 6″x6″ posts with the rail in between them.
The newest and most popular deck rail option to the Atlanta area is a stainless steel cable rail system. Feeney is the leader in cable rail systems throughout the US. Their systems are used in areas ranging from commercial projects to residential uses. They have complete, custom solutions they ship to you for your job to a kit you can use to install the cable rail on your existing deck rail. This system offers a very unique, high end look that will not obstruct the view out the back of your house with unsightly lines. Price wise it is more expensive than the other solutions but it offers one of the longest lasting and least amount of maintenance solutions we offer at Thomas Lumber Company. We are Atlanta’s largest stocking dealer of the Feeney system and can help you to get this unique look within your budget.
From the different rail types listed above you can see there are many options to available from Thomas Lumber to our customers. We have all these products on display in our Cumming, Ga showroom. In our showroom we have a few more options not listed here but that are available to our Atlanta customers. Be sure to check out our options for LED deck and stair lighting kits that are an easy DIY install. We are open Monday through Friday 7:30Am -5:00 PM. Let us know how we can help you in creating the ultimate outdoor entertaining spot for all your parties.