Comparing Different Railing System Styles

Comparing Different Railing System Styles

The primary goal of a railing system is to act as a safety measure for elevated ledges. Railings must meet a series of building code requirements, whether inside or outside your home. Some of the most common areas you can find a rail system include balconies, decks, stairways, or hollow living rooms.

When it’s time to replace, renovate, or repair your home’s setup, comparing different railing system styles can ensure your home is up to code and functional.


Wood is a classic material for railing systems. The odds that your existing system is wood are relatively high. But the unfortunate aspect of existing wood rails is that they tend to be less modern and date faster as home design trends fluctuate.

If you’re using a wood railing system on a deck, you’ll need to continually perform maintenance and upkeep to protect it from elemental weathering. Moisture and pests can wreak havoc on the material, or the wood can splinter and rot.


Cable systems are increasing in popularity and demand. They are stainless steel and provide a contemporary appeal to your interior or exterior.

In outdoor settings specifically, the material is corrosion resistant. The setup is lightweight compared to other railing systems. However, you must ensure that the system’s tension meets building code practices.


Steel combines strength with durability, and that’s why it is the most expensive. When comparing different railing system styles, steel is usually a winner due to its ability to withstand all environments and requires little to no maintenance. A downside is how heavy the material is, making it difficult for DIY home improvement folks to handle.


One of the most affordable options is vinyl. This is also an excellent outdoor rail system and incredibly popular, as it offers homeowners customizable options. It’s generally low maintenance and easy to care for, and many prefer it for decks and porches.

The unfortunate aspect of vinyl is its lack of durability, though. While color and customization have come a long way, fading and wear can happen when the material is outdoors.


A less common but visually appealing railing system is glass. It’s at risk of developing breaks or cracks depending on how you handle it and where you place it. And in terms of maintenance, you must constantly clean it. The panels can become cloudy quickly otherwise. You can clean them like you would your home’s windows and mirrors. You should employ the help of a professional when selecting a glass railing system.

For more about railing systems and the best options for you, visit a rigging supply store. American Cable Rigging offers quality materials and services to meet your home’s interior and exterior needs!

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  • Benefits of Using Vinyl Deck Railing on Your Patio | Home Building and Construction Magazine

    […] fester in the crevices, and they can eventually eat away at the integrity of the decking. When we compare different railing systems, vinyl is a burrow-free material because it’s non-porous and relatively easy to clean […]

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