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Decks Railings

5 Stunning Designs for Your Outdoor Custom Stair Railing

These 5 stunning design options for your outdoor custom stair railing can turn a simple functional feature into an automatic wow factor.

We all know that a railing is a must for climbing or descending stairs for safety reasons, and also for the edge of a deck or patio if it is raised above two feet from ground level.

It prevents everything from people to furnishings from slipping over the edge and is just plain common sense.

However, many things that are basic, useful items have been customized and modified to also offer a strong aesthetic element.

Patio grills have burnished, gleaming finishes, your outdoor furniture can come in metal or with a wicker finish and colourful cushions, and even the outdoor space itself can offer up a choice of finished seamless polished concrete, charcoal grey composite decking materials or a gleaming stained exotic hardwood deck.

So, why should an outdoor custom stair railing be any different?

Metal Stair Railing

metal stair railing

Metal is an incredibly versatile option for custom stair railing designs as the lines can be incredibly sleek and modern to suit contemporary architecture or wonderfully ornate (think of the metal work on homes in the French Quarter in New Orleans for example!). 

They can convey an industrial look to match a space with a polished concrete floor or be as simple as twisted strands of structural steel strung in threes in a basic frame or Mimic the gates of the palace of Versailles if that is your vision. 

However, aside from the flexibility of design options, metal stair railings also offer other benefits. They are incredibly durable, low-maintenance, and if one goes with a very streamlined design, they can be easy to clean minimizing hassle for homeowners. 

Classic Wooden Railing

Cedar wood railing with custom balusters

Many people’s vision of their dream deck goes hand in hand with the classics. For instance, a rich, warm wooden cedar deck or light ash decking where you sit to enjoy your morning coffee.

For most, the image of that railing is definitely the same wood as the deck they are standing on. Most DIY deck projects can look the same, yet if you work with a professional deck-building contractor, you will be introduced to the variety of ways that deck can be customized exactly to your liking, and one of those customized elements happens to be deck and stair railings. 

Similar to metal railing designs, customized wooden stair railings can be sturdy with classic lines, like outdoor craftsman-style railings or ranch-style railings. They can incorporate zig-zags, and herringbones, and feature delicate gingerbread cutwork or latticework. 

The options are limitless, it all comes down to your budget, the type of wood you are working with and the scope of your creativity!

Glass Stair Railing

glass stair railing

When you build a new deck, the design should complement the view from that deck. It should also complement the overall lines of your property when looking at it from the grounds. This is especially true for a multi-level deck design. 

Glass railings are a great choice for those who want a clear sight of their spectacular view. They are also good for those who want to avoid heavy lines on their home’s exterior.

Glass railings allow for the ironwork or woodwork of deck staircases to not be hidden away, with one architectural feature showcasing and complementing the other. Not to mention the elimination of shadows and allowance of light everywhere. 

Glass also has the ability to enhance a contemporary look while still feeling light and softening a more industrial design. 

Composite Stair Railing 

Many composite decking options are a prefabricated overall package. Unique stair railings can allow for a little variety and add a personal customized touch to your project. 

The best part is that with this add-on, you can get the same features you get in your composite deck. So it meets your budget and maintenance requirements, while still giving you a somewhat customized feel. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between PVC vs composite decking, click here

Accent panels attach to the top and can have beautiful designs. They can also attach to the top and create a wider rail. Knuckles wrap around the baluster and are affixed with screws to create an ornate look. Meanwhile, inserts sit inside the panels themselves and can be as different as stars to curling vines.

All of these come in a variety of finishes from stainless steel to burnished antique bronze.

The Combination Railing

combination stair railing

The big idea of course is why choose when you can have it all? In your first consultation with your decking contractor, discuss all of the various uses you will have for your deck. Also, discuss the architecture of the house and your reasons for wanting the deck.

This will better guide your discussion. Once you go over your options you may discover that simple suggestions pop up organically. For instance, stair railings with smooth accent pieces may contrast well with a textured exterior of stucco or panelled siding.

Conversely, a more ornate accent piece may help your home feel more like you if the exterior is fairly run-of-the-mill. A combination of elements can be just the thing to make your deck feel like it reflects who you are.

A traditional wooden deck with decorative ironwork stair railings or a composite deck with simple twisted structural steel strands creating clean modern lines on a more classic home can be just the thing.

Maybe adjust your design with a small tweak like replacing the wooden balusters with glass panels. There are so many ways to combine materials; all you need is a vision and some experienced deck builders.

A Little History

Post World War 2, cookie-cutter tract housing was a breakthrough becoming the norm, and today housing developments where the homes look exactly alike street after street are a staple of our image of suburbia.

In Canada, the Vancouver Special is still seen everywhere after thousands of them were built after 1960. After homeowners moved in however nothing could stop them from putting their own unique stamp on the property they call home, and that hasn’t changed in today’s homeowner’s wish for their vision of their houses.

A major option for homeowners wishing to create a unique space for themselves in housing development has been the enhancement of their outdoor spaces. 

This allows for a lot of modification and the ability to put a personal stamp on the house without interfering with the basic infrastructure of the original building.

And if everyone is doing it? What better way to create unique lines than with something as simple as a beautiful design? 

Final Thoughts

The addition of a custom deck and stair railings instantly creates a unique architectural feature that mirrors who you are. 

You can even build structures like a custom gazebo or add features like a privacy screen. In fact, here are the top 7 privacy screens for deck railing ideas for you to check out.

Expert deck builders like Mississauga Decks & Trim can create and construct the outdoor oasis of your dreams.

With in-house designers, they can also work with you to suggest and incorporate special features. For instance, a unique and custom stair railing to further enhance the beauty of the space you call home.

Whether it’s building a new custom deck, adding aesthetic features, or simply discussing the possibilities to create the backyard of your dreams, Mississauga Decks & Trim is the best deck builder Mississauga has to offer! 

Contact MDT today to start discussing your project.

Backyard Deck Building

Top 5 Reasons to Get a Cedar Privacy Screen for Your Backyard

The top 5 reasons to get a cedar privacy screen for your deck, lawn, or patio come down to cost, aesthetics, speed, durability, and of course privacy!

We All Need A Little Privacy

If you have a backyard that you don’t use, one of your main concerns may be a lack of privacy. Most people would prefer for their neighbours to not have a front-row seat to their lives, and rightly so.

Regardless of what material you choose to use for your screen, privacy is key. A simple structure can make all the difference and comfortably allow you to enjoy your home. 

If you want to peacefully suntan in an itsy bitsy bikini or walk around shirtless, this addition to your backyard can offer that.

They can also allow you to hide any unsightly plot of land nearby; whether it’s a neighbour’s yard or a concrete parking lot. 

If you have a fenced yard with an elevated deck or pool area, installing a privacy screen can provide the gift of personal space. 

Add a few potted plants or even build a planter directly into the screen structure and you can break a lot of sightlines. 

If you need a new deck, check out the pros and cons of building a cedar deck for your home

Durability Crafted by Nature

While wood structures will always need care and maintenance, cedar is a wood that nature itself built for durability. Many hardwoods are very difficult to work with, whereas cedar is a durable material that is easier to work with. 

Let’s get all ‘science-y’ for a moment. A great example is the Western Red Cedar whose fibres contain a natural compound called Thujaplicin. It acts as a natural preservative against insects and pests, making the wood extremely long-lasting. Properly finished, Western Red Cedar will last for decades, even in harsh environments. 

The chemical makeup of cedar in general contains several natural antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that can prevent decay from occurring or progressing as easily in cedar as they do in other woods. 

These same chemicals also make it impervious to normal wood pests, such as bores and termites. This gives cedar a natural preservative factor that acts to keep the wood intact. 

That’s why generational keepsakes are often stored in Hope Chests lined with cedar. People also tend to line closets with cedar or pop wood chips inside sachets for protection against insects! 

Wood density is a measurement of how closely packed the grain is, and the low density of cedar allows it to maintain constant moisture content and repel water. 

The moisture in wood is a major conductor of decay, and wood with a higher moisture content will absorb water more readily and hold it longer, breaking down the fibres and promoting rot. 

Cedar does not easily absorb moisture and dries out faster than most other woods. So comparatively, even exposed to the harsh weather and the elements, a structure made of cedar will outlast other untreated softwoods by years. 

These features also allow cedar to maintain its ‘dimensional stability’. This means wood’s natural tendency towards swelling, splitting and warping due to exposure to weather. 

Cedar will not split or crack as quickly as other woods and the reactions are minimized. Fasteners tend to stay tight longer, making cedar an ideal wood for outdoor construction in any climate.

If properly sealed and maintained, a cedar element can last for an extremely long time, maintaining its beauty as well. 

The Beauty of Cedar

Remember, we mentioned that funny-sounding naturally occurring chemical compound? Well, this compound also gives the wood its distinct aroma. Those closets and Hope Chests always have a delicious smell and can trigger warm memories of home. 

The look of the grain of the wood and its naturally occurring, warm colour only needs a clear varnish to provide a gleaming beautiful accent piece to enhance any space. However, cedar also takes stains beautifully and the polished wood gleams richly. 

Aside from the natural beauty of the wood itself, creating a privacy screen from scratch can allow a lot of personalization of the space or the piece itself. For example, you may want to go with a simple slatted wall and stain it a beautiful colour. 

On the other hand, you may have the idea that you would like the privacy screen to go beyond its simple, natural beauty and double as the back of a bar and have shelving, incorporate built-in seating for storage, or include planters to enhance the spot with beautiful greenery or flowers

Working with wood can allow for a lot of beautiful, signature, and customized areas. The gorgeous finish of cedar only helps make that space look even more luxurious. 

Style with Speed

Custom cedar privacy screen with built-in benches by Mississauga Deck and Trim.

Like any home improvement project, the specifics of the job will dictate how long the actual project lasts. For example, if you purchase the wood pre-cut, are purchasing raw materials which need to be measured and cut before installation, or even need to clear out vegetation before proceeding, your project to build a privacy screen can vary greatly. Add to that if you wish to add special features like built-in seating, or planters.

However, cedar is not a hardwood and therefore easier to work with. If you get your elements done by Mississauga Decks and Trim, you’ll be amazed at just how quickly and professionally it can be done!

Although a simple privacy screen made of cedar can be erected in a few days, additional accents could take longer. Even with accents, odds are this is a feature that you will be able to enjoy fairly quickly after you’ve made the decision to build it.

While cedar can last a fairly long time without being sealed, and some even enjoy the weathered look, staining and sealing can maintain the rich look of the wood and increase the lifespan of the project by years.

Once erected a privacy screen or fence should be allowed approximately two months to dry and cure properly before applying the stain and sealant to ensure that the wood properly absorbs the treatment.

Cost of a Cedar Privacy Screen

Again, how elaborate your project is will determine costs, as well as what your aesthetic is and immediate out-of-pocket installation costs. Vinyl or composite materials can be more expensive as a purchase upfront compared to wood, but less costly over time. 

Then again, vinyl and composite have a specific look and if it’s wood you want, cedar is a great middle-ground for those looking to save money now and in the long run. 

Exotic hardwoods are extremely durable and can stand the test of time. The material however is more expensive and more labour-intensive, therefore upfront costs will be higher than cedar. 

Pressure-treated wood may come at a lower initial cost but the maintenance costs can be prohibitive and time-consuming. 

Cedar tends to hit the sweet spot of being beautiful, durable, affordable and providing a fairly low-maintenance option. It is especially great for those who want to use wood for their outdoor structures. 

Choosing to install a privacy screen versus an entire fence can also be a great way to save money. After all, when looking at a small structure like a cedar privacy screen, the comparative cost becomes fairly low overall between the materials and labour. 

Have a look at Mississauga Decks and Trim’s various privacy screen styles. It’s a long list, and we can tailor any design to your specifications. 

If you don’t see a screen in MDT’s list that you like, send us a picture of your vision and we’ll replicate it for you!

If you’re not sure where to start, simply reach out to us. We’ll work with you to design the perfect privacy screen or any other structure best suited to your needs.

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