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Monday, January 9, 2017

Beachfront Railing Ideas: Picking a Durable, Attractive Deck Railing

Living on the beach is a wonderful thing. There’s nothing like walking out on the deck in the morning to feel the gentle sea breeze and smell the briny ocean. The biggest downside (well, from my perspective) is that the glorious ocean spray can be pretty harsh on your deck and railings.

It’s the unfortunate truth that no matter the composition of your railings, humidity and salt will have an impact on their longevity. That is why it’s so crucial to choose a durable material. Let’s take a look at which railing options will best resist the corrosive effects of the oceanfront so that your deck and home will stay beautiful for as long as possible.

Choosing a Corrosion-Resistant Railing Option for Your Beachfront Home

We all know that water alone can damage many materials, but saltwater is much worse. It can corrode metal railings and accelerate rusting. As a result, many manufacturers have a reduced warranty (typically just one year) on products that are installed within as far as a mile from the waterfront. Choosing the right material for your railing is your best bet for avoiding corrosion. There are a few common options for railing materials:

  • Aluminum. This is an excellent option for any home on the coast. Aluminum is more resistant to the corrosive effects of the saltwater and does not rust, though it can This means that an aluminum railing will hold up much longer than those made from most other materials. Products made with a powder-coat and a corrosion-inhibiting finish add to aluminum's longevity and low maintenance.
  • Iron. In the past, iron has been thought to be a less-than-ideal choice for beachfront homes. However, some manufacturers are starting with galvanized steel and adding a powder-coating, an e-coat, and a corrosion-resistant finish to their iron railings. With these four layers of protection, iron can be very resistant to even the highly corrosive effects of saltwater.
  • Wood. The one major drawback to wood is that it rots, but rotting is less of a concern if the wood is properly sealed with a special sealant designed to protect against the effects of saltwater. Without this, wood that continually gets wet will begin to grow fungus and rot. Salt crystals can also form in the wood and cause a fuzzy appearance on the surface via a process called defibration. It may appear superficial, but over time it can cause deep structural damage to lumber.
  • Vinyl. Vinyl railings do not rust, rot, or react with salt water, making them ideal for an oceanfront property. Since they don’t react with salt, they don't need the frequent cleaning that other products may require to prevent the salt from damaging their finishes. One thing to keep in mind is that direct sunlight may cause the vinyl to fade.
  • Composite. Composite railings vary in composition among manufacturers and may even be different between product lines. Often, they are coated in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) to protect the base materials. PVC is the same material as vinyl and is also non-reactive with salt and water, but like vinyl it is prone to fading.

Alternative Baluster Options

Your railings’ balusters don’t necessarily need to be the same material as the rails and posts. Glass and vertical cable balusters are both good choices for beachfront railing systems.

Glass balusters are low-maintenance and not adversely affected by the water or salt. The only thing you need to worry about is keeping them free of marks and smudges, but a quick wipe down every now and again is enough to keep them looking shiny. Full glass panels are a fine idea if you would like to keep your deck warmer, as they block the wind and warm the deck by trapping heat. Alternatively, glass balusters can be installed to allow some airflow and decrease the warming effect of full panel glass.

Vertical cable railings are another low-maintenance option. Systems that use 316-grade stainless steel cables have the highest resistance to corrosion. Some high-quality vertical cable railing systems are pre-installed with top and bottom rails that are coated with a corrosion-inhibiting, multilayer finish. The combination of a high-quality finish and stainless-steel cables make this an excellent choice for a coastal environment.

Having a home on the beach can be a wonderful, peaceful experience. Don’t let the ocean spray sour your stay by destroying your railings. Fortress Building Products railing systems have a long-lasting, top-quality powder coating and corrosion-resistant finish to keep your aluminum and iron railings looking great and standing strong for years to come. If you’re looking for more innovative quality products, Fortress® also has a selection of fencing, decking, and fasteners for your next outdoor project.




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