Building Materials

Steps to Help Clients Select the Right Railing

Railing used to be a lower priority in the deck-planning process. Homeowners focused most of their time and treasure on choosing the ideal composite decking; railing selection was an afterthought. Nowadays railing is starting to get the attention it deserves across the decking industry.

Railing used to be a lower priority in the deck-planning process. Homeowners focused most of their time and treasure on choosing the ideal composite decking; railing selection was an afterthought. Nowadays railing is starting to get the attention it deserves across the decking industry.

The fact is, once homeowners add rugs, furniture, plants and a grill to their deck surface, the decking becomes a secondary focal point. Railing is actually the most visible feature of the deck: the eye-catching element that can complete and personalize a deck design.

Homeowners are realizing that decking is like the neutral wall of their project and railing is the artwork they can use to express their design flair. Contractors, too, are recognizing railing’s design potential—and the selling opportunities that come with it.

Railing deserves the same effort and care as decking when planning an outdoor space alongside clients. Following are steps you can take to help your customers select the ideal railing for their home and taste, while enhancing your business at the same time.

Grasp All the Railing Options

From wood to aluminum, to composite, cable and glass, the railing options available to you and your clients are extensive. With so many brands, materials and styles to choose from, contractors should consider manufacturers with a wide and proven selection plus compatible balusters, post caps and accessories.

When comparing the features and benefits of offerings from different manufacturers, give special weight to three key factors:

  • Style. Available railing styles are growing to include even more contemporary looks that can make a deck stand out. Check product lines for on-trend options such as sleek, sophisticated aluminum railing or a glass railing system that enables a beautiful view. Solar and low-voltage lighting solutions can complement railing to create nighttime ambience and improve safety.
  • Ease of installation. Time is precious, especially in the midst of a significant skilled labor shortage. Product options such as an attractive railing system that comes in preassembled sections can help you create capacity and keep jobs moving.
  • Warranty. Products you use should be backed by a strong warranty so you can look forward to referrals rather than callbacks. The support of a warranty including removal-and-replacement coverage can give you and your clients extra peace of mind.

The knowledge gained during your research can inform building material recommendations. While evaluating product options, consider signing up for a preferred-status program with business benefits tied to product usage.

 

Learn Your Client’s Home & Taste

Once you have identified railing products you trust, learn as much as you can about each client and home. Inquire about material, color, texture and style preferences in relationship to the house, and use the insight you gain to drive deck design and identify upsell opportunities.

Guide conversations by suggesting decking-and-railing combinations that coordinate best with each client’s home. Suggest color schemes and railing options that help the outdoor space flow with their house and property.

  • If the exterior of the home has a neutral color scheme such as tans and beiges, then a bold, brown variegated decking is a strong option. Color streaking throughout the boards lends a rich, tropical look that can be enhanced with railing featuring a brushed-titanium finish.
  • If glass doors or windows surround a deck, consider indoor décor. For homes with a modern style, a simple, brown or gray deck color with variegation and a complementary black cable railing system maintains a modern look throughout.
  • Light-gray house siding with dark-toned gray decking is a simple yet magnetic color combination. Combined with white composite railing, gray distressed decking is even more visually appealing.
  • If your client is looking for a more cohesive flow from the home’s exterior to the deck, stay in the same color family. Dark-gray exterior colors paired with light-gray decking helps maintain a continuous look through the outdoor space. A black aluminum railing coordinates well with the decking color and siding color.
  • Railing need not obstruct your client’s view due to building code restrictions. Cable railing is a great view-saving option that allows for an open concept and air flow through the deck. Another ideal choice to preserve a view is a high-end glass railing system.

Selecting the decking-and-railing combination that best complements the client’s home and taste can be complicated. Your expert design consultation can help increase customer satisfaction in the outcome—and help you capitalize on a selling opportunity.

 

Visualize the Design Possibilities

When your clients need a visual to bring their vision to life, a deck design program is a powerful planning tool. Use a web-based deck visualizer and complementary mobile application to digitally render deck ideas, including railing options.

As an example, the free Deckorators Deck Visualizer enables you to design with the full line of Deckorators products in a 360-degree environment. The program allows mapping deck location and size, and features versatile tools such as picture framing, board angles, unique shapes and multi-level options.

A mobile application for tablets is ideal for on-site consultations with your clients. The Deckorators app works seamlessly with the desktop version of the program. You can save back and forth between versions and download building plans with materials lists and product codes to set projects in motion.

Railing has always been an important aspect of a deck. Today it is finally beginning to share some of the design spotlight with decking. Use these planning tips to help your clients make a railing selection that fits their home, turns heads, and boosts your bottom line.

 

Jase DeBoer

Jase DeBoer is senior category marketing manager for Deckorators, a Universal Forest Products brand and industry leader in composite decking, railings, balusters and post caps. For more information, visit www.deckorators.com.

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