Deck balusters – types, materials, design styles and characteristics

by Kremy

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Deck balusters are a functional element of the deck design and besides protecting from falling they have a decorative function. They add a lot to the exterior design and when you want to restore your deck railings or install new ones, you have to choose from many options. The balusters are small bars in the form of small columns or bars (spindles) and are used to create barriers for stairs, balconies, terraces, decks and sometimes even roof decks. We shall look at the different materials, styles and types of deck balusters, their visual appeal and how thy will add to the overall exterior design of your home.


Deck balusters – how to choose the material?

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Deck balusters can be manufactured from many materials – wood, stone, metal, concrete, gypsum, glass, polyurethane, wrought iron, and often the balusters are richly decorated. Balusters have always been an important decoration of the handrails for the porch, balconies and staircases. Balusters add strength to the railings and protect people from injuries. Balusters can have different shapes, and significantly add to the appearance of the home. Depending on the architectural style and the stylistic characteristics you should choose your balusters to complement the look and style of your house.

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Wooden balusters are made from different types of wood – oak, beech, birch, pine, etc. – and often are carved and decorated with intricate patterns. Depending on the type of wood used for manufacturing the balusters, they will have a different price tag. For example, pine balusters will be cheaper than oak or beech balusters. Solid wood balusters are a unique decorative element adding a lot of style and charm to the exterior. The main advantage of wood balusters is their environmental friendliness. Modern wooden balusters quite organically fit into any style and can be a significant element of the exterior decor. They combine well with different materials used for finishing outdoor stairs and decks. A drawback of wooden balusters is that they require a regular maintenance to retain their appearance. You have to apply a protective coat of sealant which will prevent damages from rain, snow, hail or hot temperatures. The price of wooden deck railing will depend on several factors:

  • What type of wood is used for the manufacturing of the baluster. The most expensive are considered balusters made of oak and beech, and pine products on the other hand, are sold at relatively low prices.
  • The manufacturing process – handmade balusters are much more expensive that machine made ones.
  • The ornamental design – wooden balusters with many complex elements and rich decorations are much more expensive than ordinary products.

Concrete deck balusters – an architectural accent with great visual appeal

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Deck balusters made of plaster and concrete are mainly used in classic architectural styles. They emphasize the exterior and accent on the status of the homeowner as they certainly look grand and luxurious. The advantages of concrete balusters are many. They have high resistance to mechanical stress, the material is eco-friendly and recyclable, they do not require additional treatment and maintenance, they are extremely durable, resistant to frost and heat, and have a lower price than balusters made of marble or granite. On the downside we have to point out that concrete balusters are not as resistant to mechanical damage as granite balusters. When you want to retain the appearance of concrete balusters you need to use a special paint for concrete as it will seal the surface and will protect the baluster from harsh elements. Some people prefer the more glossy surface of marble and granite balusters which concrete balusters lack.

Granite and marble deck balusters – add a touch of elegance and aristocratic appearance

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Among all the options for deck balusters, the ones made of marble or granite have sophistication and elegance which make them stand out immediately. These balusters are amazingly attractive not only for the natural beauty of the stone, but also for the elegant and aristocratic appearance. Balusters and handrails made of granite and marble combine functionality and sophistication, convenience and safety and transform an ordinary staircase into a work of art and give your home a classic charm. Granite and marble deck balusters will serve you indefinitely. They are not affected from changes in temperature or humidity, they do not break down over time and do not lose their appearance. Granite and marble are very durable and your balusters will not crack and will not need repairs and regular maintenance.

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Metal balusters come in different designs and can be made of wrought iron, cast iron and bronze, various alloys, and even stainless steel. They can have any shape- straight or curved, they are made of square and round tubes and profiles or metal rods. Their main advantage is that they offer a very long service life. Wrought iron deck balusters are incredibly stylish and work with any exterior style. Metal balusters are durable, strong and will serve you for a very long time.

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Glass deck balusters are a great choice for contemporary exteriors especially when you want to enjoy an unobstructed view of the surrounding. Glass works equally well with wood and metal and one of their advantages is that they can be practically invisible. When you want to achieve lightness and airiness, glass balusters are the perfect option. Despite the visual fragility, glass balusters are generally strong as they are made of special glass that can withstand heavy loads.

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Of course, you could opt for a more artisan type of deck balusters – antler balusters which will be a great decoration for log houses or house exteriors in more rustic or country style, rope balusters which are suitable for beach houses, you can use tree branches, etc. There are numerous options and whichever one you choose, make sure it complements the architecture of your house and provides the functionality, convenience and visual appeal that you are looking for.

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