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Should You Add a Railing to Your Deck?

If you have an existing deck, or are building a new one, you may be considering if a railing would be beneficial to your space. The answer to that question depends on several factors but railings can really enhance most decks aesthetically and functionally. There are also some circumstances where a railing may take away from the look of the deck, so it is important to consider your individual needs. Let’s look at some reasons why railings are a good idea, and some scenarios where they are unnecessary.

Curved deck contractor (002)

Building to Code

For many homeowners the question of whether or not they should add a railing to their deck is not open for debate. In many circumstances a railing is required for safety reasons. For any deck over thirty inches off the ground a railing is required for the deck to meet building codes. For decks under thirty inches from the ground a railing is not a legal requirement, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a good idea.


For decks both under and over thirty inches off the ground railings can be a great addition to add to the overall aesthetic of the deck. Railings can be wood, composite, wrought iron, or other materials. Many railings are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, adding to the look of the deck, rather than taking away from it. If you are building a new deck consider adding a railing that ties into the decking material as well as the overall style of the home.

Railings can also create a visual boundary for your outdoor space. If you have a large deck it can create a separate space that has a purpose that is different than the rest of the yard. Likewise if you have a multi level deck railings can be a great way to create distinct spaces. On the other hand, if you have a small deck that is low to the ground, you may prefer to skip the railing so that your deck flows more seamlessly into your yard.


Finally, railings are an important safety feature on a deck. If your deck is tall enough the railing will be required, because it is essential for the safety of you, your family, and your guests. However, if your deck is less than thirty inches from the surface of the ground, you may still want to consider a railing. Falling two feet off of a deck can still lead to some serious injuries and it may not be worth the risk just to save some money or create a certain feel on your deck.

If you are in the market for a new deck or you are considering adding a railing to an existing deck, give us at Custom Deck Builders a call today. We are a decking company in Carroll County with years of experience and we’d love to help you with all of your decking needs. Call today to get started!


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