Deck railing not only provides safety in elevated spaces, it’s also an opportunity to add style to your home. Consider the pros and cons and find the necessary wood to make to four distinctive and iconic railing styles including Chinese Chippendale, Craftsman, Sunbursts and Turned Balusters.
Chinese Chippendale Deck Railing
Chippendale style deck railings are a geometric framework that’s both beautiful and stylish. Named after Thomas Chippendale, a famous English furniture maker, who favored Chinese and Asian designs in his furniture, the Chippendale or "Chippy" as it’s sometimes called consists of repetitive geometric line patterns within a rectangle. This complex design came about during the colonial period. You’ll see this kind of deck railing on famous buildings like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. This mathematically complex design hinges on getting the correct diagonal measurement. Once drawn, the vertical is established relative to the diagonal measurement. The opposing lines make a zig zag shape that turns into a diamond. It looks amazing on traditional brick homes.
- Labor intensive
- Time intensive
- Challenging to paint or stain
- Lots of cutting
- Challenging to assemble
Craftsman Style Deck Railing
Craftsmen or Arts and Crafts style deck railings are created using a series of skinny lines used vertically and symmetrically, with horizonal patterns that give the simple appearance of homespun artisanship. The result are simple boxes in various shapes.
Architects like Augustus Pugin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, William Morris, and John Ruskin were leaders in the Arts and Crafts style. These artisans were pushed to create innovative designs with simple, clean elements made of natural materials.
By adding a craftsman style deck railing to your home you’re reinforcing the values of finding joy in work, staying connected to nature, and living simply. The most famous example includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s “The Gordon House.”
Craftsmen style deck railing complements Ranch style homes, American Foursquare, California Bungalows, Bungalows, and Mid-Century Modern homes.
To create the simple square patterns, use Plain Spindles in:
- The popular picket fence style is a clean, simple and distinctive design
- Dense fence post rails make it challenging for children to get stuck
- Can feel too restrictive
- Challenging to maintain, stain, and paint
Sunburst or Fan Deck Railing
Sunbursts are made of a series of straight lines that bloom from a center point. It creates a casual and homey feel and is often seen in the south and along the coast.
Turned balusters take on various shapes including:
- Classic Design Spindles 2x2
- Classic Spindle 2x3
- Classic Spindle 3x3
- Classic Spindle 3x3
- Classic Spindle 4x4
- Colonial Spindle 2x2
- Colonial Spindle 2x3
- Colonial Spindle 3x3
- Colonial Spindle 4x4
- Dutch Spindle 2x2
- Early American Spindle 2x2
- Early American Spindle 2x3
- Early American Spindle 3x3
- Heritage Spindle 2x2
- Heritage Spindle 4x4
- Trinity Spindle 4x4
- Vintage Spindle 3x3
- Vintage Spindle 4x4
Although in classical architecture turned balusters are often found in stone, wood is an attractive and cost-effective option for homes.
- Timeless and elegant design
- Classy, formal, traditional
- Painting and staining are challenging
- Though to sand and repaint or re-stain
- Children can get stuck between the spindles if not supervised