I love the warm and inviting feel of traditional style homes. While modern designs have a clean aesthetic, they often lack the personal, homey feel that a Craftsman or cozy Tudor style house has. Traditional homes are a little hard to define because they use many different styles of architecture, but they all have functionality and family living in common. One level or two level, flat or gabled roof, they all have elements designed to make a house comfortable for family life. Often one of those elements is a porch, deck, or patio that provides a functional, safe, livable outdoor space for the family.
Of course, a functional, safe, livable outdoor deck requires a functional, safe, livable railing system to go with it. There are many varieties and materials of railings for decks, but when it comes to traditional style homes, my choice is an aluminum railing system. Just like the traditional family home, the benefits of aluminum deck railings are that they provide the perfect combination of style and functionality. We’ll talk about why, and some options you have if you choose to go with aluminum.
Benefits of Aluminum Deck Railings: It Makes a Great Alternative to Wood
With traditional style homes, decks and porches are always a big part of the design, and they’re usually wood. In fact, traditional homes often have an emphasis on wood since it’s such a homey, versatile material. As a railing material, though, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to strength, maintenance requirements, and longevity. Here’s why aluminum makes a good substitute:
- Versatile colors: One advantage of choosing an aluminum railing system is the variety of colors you can choose from–without having to do any painting (or repainting), as you might with wood. Traditional homes almost always look great with a white railing system, but steel and other types of metal railings often do not come in white, making aluminum a great–and super corrosion-resistant–choice instead. I am particularly fond of white aluminum deck railing for beach houses because this metal is good at standing up to the wind, sand, and rain while complementing your home.
- Classic style: Aluminum railing systems tend to have slightly wider balusters than other metal systems which make them look more like wood and emphasize a sturdier look. This makes it a great substitute for wood, especially around areas like a pool where rot from moisture may be a concern.
Aluminum Railings Combine with Wood for Classic Charm
Aluminum doesn’t have to just substitute for wood, though. You can actually have the best of both worlds (the strength and durability of aluminum with the warmth of wood) by combining the two in one railing system. Here are some ways I’ve seen this done:
- Wood railing posts and pre-welded aluminum railing panels: Wood posts have a sturdy, natural look that mixes well with an aluminum railing panel. This is one of my favorite ways to mix the two materials because quality manufacturers have pre-assembled railing panels and easy-to-use brackets that make installation a breeze.
- Wood top rails on aluminum balusters: In addition to wood posts, adding wood rails along the top of your aluminum top rails is a great way to mix the two materials. And if you are really going for the natural look of wood, you can do both–using wood posts and adding a wooden top rail–for a look that blends the two materials and will stay beautiful and sturdy for years.
Update the Traditional Look with Aluminum and Glass
Often I find that people who are looking for a traditional style home such as a Craftsman or ranch style also want to combine modern elements for an updated, slightly edgier look. Sometimes this means adding modern architectural elements to traditional spaces to add pops of modern style. One great way to accomplish this is with an aluminum and glass railing system (and trust me, glass deck railings aren’t as hard to keep clean as you think). Some advantages of this mixed material railing system are:
- Sleek modern look: Glass panels or balusters give a railing a clean, modern feel while the aluminum posts and top and bottom rails still give the sturdy and solid appearance of a traditional deck railing. The combination is a fun way to mix a classic looking railing with a touch of modern style.
- Unobstructed views: A lot of traditional homes have fairly wide railing balusters, but a glass and aluminum railing system can still frame your deck or porch while leaving your view clear. This modern touch can elevate the wow factor of your deck without blocking any scenery.
There’s so much to love about a home that is warm and inviting. Traditional home styles were built to create just that feeling for the people that would live in them. So it’s only natural that they were designed not only with aesthetics in mind, but also creature comforts. That applies to railings too–they should be just as functional as they are pretty, and that perfectly describes aluminum railings, for me.
I’ve used a variety of styles of aluminum railings in my projects because they are one of the most desired for traditional style homes. And for good reason! Aluminum railings tend to be affordable, durable, and beautiful. When I can, I use the aluminum railing systems from Fortress Railings because they hit all three of these categories. They even use a high-quality coating system which makes them extra durable and corrosion resistant. And they work well with Fortress Building Products such as composite decking systems (which also look great on traditional homes, by the way). So if you’re looking for an aluminum railing system, go for a system like Fortress’, where you can really see the quality. It’ll look great on your traditional home.