Best Materials for Railing Systems

Pulling your hair out wondering the best material for your indoor or outdoor railing system? Here are several top ranking ideas:


Steel is the go-to material for sturdy railings. Steel railings offer a great look too, often resembling wrought iron. Steel railings are made up of welded panels, so the load capacity is quite excellent. This type of railing is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Traditional steel is prone to corrosion. However, you can choose stainless steel railing that is rust-resistant (but not completely rust free).


Though not as well-known as steel, aluminium is also a top choice for those who want metal railings. Aluminium is just as durable as steel, but it’s comparatively more lightweight. You don’t need to paint or heavily maintain this material either. Though, you can buy aluminium railing in multiple colours. Alloy also gives you a better choice at choosing the shape of the balusters, unlike steel. It’s only disadvantage is that it’s not as corrosion-resistant as stainless steel.


Cable railing is highly popular for its ability to give railings unobstructed views compared to any other material. The wires in cable railing systems are made from a metal. You can choose the type of metal you want, such as alloy or steel. The latter is the industry standard. Your best option is most likely stainless steel cables, which you can browse on the Fastener Factory website. Cables are durable as metal. The thinness of cables are perfect for making railings bird-friendly. Only disadvantage is that cable railings are not code compliant in some parts of Australia.


Some homeowners and builders don’t like to choose glass because it’s considered a fragile type of material. However, the glass in railings is tempered and laminated, making the material less fragile than it is in traditional forms. Glass railings offer clear views of the other sides. It’s also highly aesthetically pleasing, as you can even tint the glass for unusual looks. Glass offers many benefits, but it’s load capacity is limited. Also, the upkeep is high. You would need to regularly clean the glass to remove water spots, dirt, grime, and other build-up.


Wood is the best material to choose for a traditional-looking railing system. Wood offers a charming natural look, and is lightweight compared to metal. Wood railing can be economic too, depending on the type of wood you choose. Wood can be painted on to match staircases or decking. If you don’t like high maintenance, you may want to stay away from wood. Not only is wood require constant upkeep, the material is prone to damage. You may find yourself doing occasional repairs on wood railing in high-traffic areas.


If you want the natural looks of wood and the sturdiness of steel but without their respective drawbacks, composite might be the material you need. Composite is considered a synthetic alternative to wood. It’s made up of wood fibres and recycled plastic material, like PVC, which forms the interior. The core of composite railings can thus handle higher load capacities. You can get composite railings to look like wood or colour them over. These railings don’t require much upkeep and don’t rust. But, the material is very difficult to prepare and install, so the overall costs may run high.

Choose any railing material from the ones given above as you like. Make sure you know your needs well before picking any material.

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