Outdoor Porch Railing Ideas

An outdoor porch railing adds an aesthetic appeal to the exterior of your home and provides an element of safety for guests using the porch. You have many options for choosing a railing material and design, so you can easily match it to your home's outdoor décor.


The material you choose for a porch railing will play a large role in determining the type of style you can create. Wood is a common material used for constructing porch railings because it is easy to shape, color and install. Wood is also appealing because you can finish it in various ways that are suitable for matching any style home. Wrought iron railings are a second widely used outdoor porch railing because of its low maintenance and customizability. You do not need to restore wrought iron as soon as you would need to restore wood railings that have been exposed to the elements for a long period of time. Wrought iron is also a good match for a variety of home exterior styles such as rustic, modern and traditional. You can accompany either material with glass. Glass creates a solid barrier around a porch and prevents snow or rain from accumulating in your outdoor space.


The amount of safety you need for guests and family members on your front porch should play a key role in deciding on a front porch railing. Railings with small openings between vertical posts, also called spindles, that are 4 inches or less, is perfect for families with small children, because this minimal space does not allow children to stick their head or limbs through the spaces. This safety technique is available whether you decide to construct a wood or wrought iron railing. Choosing spindles for railing posts instead of horizontal slats is another way to enhance railing safety; children can climb horizontal posts like a ladder. Spindles are highly resistant to physical trauma; therefore, you do not have to worry about rough play.


In addition to simply using spindles around a porch as a design, you can display a cross-section effect. This technique is accomplished by installing the spindles first and inserting small horizontal sections at equal intervals between spindles. You can incorporate a cross-section design using either wood or wrought iron. Incorporating glass into the railing does not allow you as much design freedom, but you still have a couple of options. Install a series of large tempered-glass squares a few feet wide and line each with a spindle, or use narrower slats of glass and insert them like spindles along the railing.

Keywords: porch railing designs, types of railings, railing safety

About this Author

Sarah Tidwell, based in Chicago, has been writing professionally for a little over a year. Most of her articles appear on eHow.com, while many others can be found scattered about the Internet. She is currently completing a Master's degree in adult education and training/e-learning online.

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