We often get questions from customers about why they should go with an aluminum railing system as opposed to other alternatives. This is a fair question given the amount of options that are available out there and the fact that some of these alternatives may seem to be cheaper than aluminum railing in the initial purchase.

Whether you are on the market for a new railing system for your deck or you are just doing your research to see what your options are, we know that you want to invest your hard earned money on the right product. This is why we put together a comparison to help you through the process.

What are my options?

When you are building a railing system, you are not short of material options. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular alternatives on the market.

WOOD

VINYL

STEEL

ALUMINUM

Wood Railing

A classic choice with its roots going back to bygone eras. It is safe to say that you probably relied on a wood railing system at some point in your life. While charming and simple, it has its drawbacks.

Cons: It is extremely susceptible to rot, mould and decay, which makes it a very high-maintenance and vulnerable choice.

Vinyl Railing

Vinyl has emerged as a decent alternative to address the disadvantages of old-school wood railing systems. It is definitely a good alternative to wood in that it is a low-maintenance option.

Cons: Vinyl fencing is not as strong as wood or other alternatives. Additionally, the colours on vinyl systems eventually fade despite the recent improvement in manufacturing. When exposed to extreme temperatures that we experience in Canada, vinyl railings become more susceptible to cracking and breaking.

Steel Railing

When it comes to strength and resistance, steel is always good option to consider. However, there are some serious drawbacks to it, especially if you are a do-it-yourselfer taking on a railing project by yourself.

Cons: Steel has to be repainted every few years. Additionally, as steel is a very heavy metal, it’s quite difficult to transport and handle. Another essential point is the installation process. If you choose steel railing, you need to have special grinders and cutting torches to make specific on-site adjustments.

Aluminum Railing

Now that we covered the alternatives, it is a lot easier to highlight all the benefits of aluminum railing systems and how they are superior to the other systems. To make it even easier for you, let’s compare each alternative to aluminum and see how it is a better choice.

  • Aluminum vs. Wood

One of the most important differences between aluminum and wood is that aluminum will not rot, rust or decay. Powder coated aluminum does not require any maintenance at all during its life cycle. Wood, on the other hand, does rot and it has to be repainted every two years. Depending on where you live, you may also need to treat wooden railings with chemicals. Aluminum is a worry-free system that does not require any of this.

  • Aluminum vs Vinyl

As mentioned above, vinyl systems are quite susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Vinyl can be severely affected by extreme temperatures, shrinking or expanding excessively. Frequent shrinkage and expansion can seriously deteriorate vinyl railings after only a few years of use. Furthermore, vinyl usually fades and even cracks due to UV radiation. On the other end of the spectrum, an aluminum railing system maintains its shape and dimension throughout extreme cold or heat. UV rays have a minimal negative impact on powder-coated aluminum, which maintains its beautiful colour and finish.

  • Aluminum vs Steel

Unlike steel that has to be repainted every few years, powder-coated aluminum systems do not require painting, which gives them a superior long-lasting finish. Additionally, as steel is much heavier than aluminum, it’s quite difficult to transport and handle. Moreover, aluminum provides unparalleled flexibility during installation. Anyone can use a regular miter saw to cut aluminum rails and make it fit any deck profile. Contrarily, if you choose steel railing, you will need to have special equipment to make these adjustments.

And the winner is…

Call us biased, but we believe in the superiority of aluminum when it comes to railing systems. We have been manufacturing our aluminum railing system for over 13 years and have been continuously improving it to deliver the best-in-class system to our customers.

Every customer has a different taste and different needs. At the end of the day, it is up to your personal preference and architectural landscape environment to choose the best railing system that suits your needs. If you are looking for a reliable, easy-to-install, maintenance-free and customizable system to fit your needs, we have what you are looking for and would love to help you build your dream deck.