There are many different types of materials used for decking and railings, including wood, vinyl, steel and aluminum. Aluminum is a newer material for railings and decking, but it has quickly earned its place. If you've been trying to decide what type of material you want to use for your deck and railings, you should understand the advantages that aluminum has over some of these other materials. Aluminum has many beneficial qualities that other materials just don't offer. Here's a look at some of the reasons to consider aluminum for your railings.
Resistant to Wear and Tear
Since aluminum is non-ferrous, it isn't as susceptible to rust or corrosion. This is great in areas where your climate brings snow, rain and lots of ultraviolet rays. Aluminum is resistant to damage from rain, heavy winds, snow, ice and even sunlight.
The metal is low on the shrinkage and expansion index, too, which means it won't be affected by significant temperature fluctuations. This is important because when metal expands and contracts from temperature fluctuations, you risk a loss of structural stability and may even suffer from loose bolts and fastening hardware.
Materials like vinyl can suffer cracks and other damage in severe cold weather as well as significant fading from ultraviolet sun rays. When you powder coat aluminum, you create a solid barrier that's resistant to UV rays. This helps you avoid fading that can happen not only with vinyl, but also with painted wood.
Minimal Maintenance Requirements
When you have a wood deck and railing structure, you'll have to repaint or reseal the wood every year or two for the best look and protection. Over time, that wood can rot and need replacement. This high maintenance demand can take a lot of time each year. If you're hoping to keep your railings looking great without having to spend all that time sanding, painting, sealing and power washing the whole surface, aluminum is a better choice. Aluminum railings are low-maintenance, requiring little more than just a periodic cleaning. If you powder coat it, you get even more protection along with a custom color. You can also avoid the use of chemical treatments when you use aluminum instead of materials like wood because wood is sometimes chemically treated to help reduce wear.
Aluminum doesn't suffer the same weathering, flaking and peeling that some other deck materials do, which means you get a great looking deck and railing without worry of having to keep up the appearance. Fresh powder coat or polished aluminum can make your deck, railing and property look clean and well cared for. You can opt to powder coat the railings to fit the colors of your home or leave them natural with brushed aluminum for a more unique look.
When compared to deck railings like wrought iron or steel, aluminum is an affordable investment. It's more expensive than wood, but the return on investment is better because of its durability in comparison. If you're looking for a railing material that's affordable to install and doesn't cost you hundreds in maintenance and repairs over time, aluminum may be the best choice for your needs.
The weight of the material can contribute to how difficult it is to install. When you consider railings made from steel as compared to aluminum, you'll find that steel is much heavier. That makes it more difficult to transport and install when compared to aluminum railings. And aluminum is easy to cut if you need to trim it to fit. All you'll need is a miter saw. When you're installing something made from steel or wrought iron, you'll have to have a specialist on hand with a large grinder and cutting torch.