With the popularity of vinyl and composite railing nowadays it’s easy to forget there are other railing options. This past year at our lumberyards in northern New Jersey, we have been seeing more frequent orders for aluminum railing, which inspired us to do a write up on the benefits of using aluminum in lieu of vinyl, treated wood, or composite.
Aluminum railing offers a sleek, contemporary design. The thinner ½” x ¾” balusters provide homeowners with a better view of their backyard or pool. Also, instead of several pieces that need to be put together such as infill kits, baluster packs, and post sleeves, aluminum railing comes conveniently preassembled. There is no need to screw each baluster into place like with other systems. Unlike composite and vinyl railing, you will not need to purchase additional structural post mounts for support, as these aluminum posts are structural therefore saving more time on installation. Also with the hidden fastener system, there are no visible clunky looking brackets at each post connection. With three color options in a matte finish, Black, Bronze, and White, the powder coated aluminum railing system can provide an elegant complement to your home.
Ease of installation
Aluminum comes in both stair and horizontal preassembled railing sections, making for a relatively quick and painless installation. In fact, it is generally faster to install aluminum railing rather than composite or vinyl. On average it takes about 35 minutes to assemble a composite or vinyl section compared to about 5 minutes for one of the aluminum sections. For our contractors who work seasonally in North Jersey, that time saved can be invaluable!
Cost wise, aluminum railing is more expensive than treated wood railing. However, if you are already thinking of going with a composite railing you will find that it’s priced comparably. If you’re still thinking about using wood railing, just remember all of the maintenance that’s required. You have to stain and seal, or paint- and don’t think that’s a onetime thing! Maintenance needs to be done every year or so, and you’ll need to power wash beforehand too. If you don’t have time to do that yourself, then factor in paying someone to do it for you. Despite the initial low cost, it can really add up!
The aluminum railing that we sell through our North Jersey Lumberyards are the only aluminum railing systems in the country with an ICC-ES ESR number so you can be confident that it has passed all codes and testing. You won’t have to worry about aluminum warping like wood can. Vinyl railing tends to fade over time due to sun exposure- even cracking and splitting can happen from fluctuation in temperature. The same can be said of treated wood railing. Even cedar, no matter how meticulously maintained, will fade and show signs of wear. If you are located in North Jersey like we are, you know how inconsistent the climate is here. North Jersey has a lot of temperature changes very quickly lately, which is prime environment for cracking and splitting!
On the other hand, aluminum railing is durable, resistant to rot, rust, and deterioration. It maintains shape and dimension throughout the cold and heat, as well as being resistant to UV rays, preventing color fade. Aluminum is virtually maintenance free with only an occasional cleaning necessary. And by cleaning, we mean just a rinse down with a hose and maybe a wipe down with a soft cloth or sponge if there’s some pollen stuck to it.
If you are looking for beauty along with strength, low maintenance, UV resistance, easy installation, and a durable railing system, aluminum railing may just be the best choice for you!
Written by Sophia Bishop with input and guidance from Jennifer Sheridan of Phoenix Manufacturing Inc