Front Porch Railing

Materials and Styles for Front Porch Railings

Out front porch railing guide gives you options for choosing just the right material for your front porch or deck.

You can choose from a variety of front porch railing styles and materials ranging from wood to vinyl and at a cost to suit almost any budget.



It is important to not only select the best railing style for your home but also to ensure it meets your needs for maintenance and durability.

Beautiful sawn front Porch Railings
Fret sawn porch railings
Knowing your options will give you the information you need to make the best selections. Our information below is sure to help!

Wood Porch Railings

Most common, easy to build, and affordable. Consider that the best way to build a porch is to use different grades/types of wood for different areas. Spend extra for top quality lumber for those parts where it will be seen. Use pressure-treated wood for posts, joists, and beams.

turned front porch balusters

Types of Wood Porch Railings

  • Treated lumber: Treated lumber can survive many years longer than untreated wood. The best is pressure treated lumber injected with a water repellent; it will cost more but is less likely to degrade for many years.
  • Softwoods: Redwood and cedar are great for outdoor use although availability may be limited in some areas. Western cedar and Alaskan cedar are popular on the West coast. If using these woods, ensure you use the Heartwood of the tree; it's insect and decay resistance.
  • Hardwoods: Front porch railing made from Ipe', cambara, teak, and meranti are durable, rot-resistant, and beautiful woods. Availability may be an issue.
  • Composites: These woods are made from wood products mixed with resins (plastics). Most look like real wood, come in all lengths, will not splinter, crack, or rot. These are not suitable for structural members but can be used for flooring and railings.



Wood Porch Railings Looking for wood railing design ideas? See our wooden deck railings for porches - you'll be surprised at all of your options!

Vinyl Railings

exquisitely designed vinyl railings by The Porch Company
PVC porch railings by The Porch Company
PVC or vinyl railing systems are excellent front porch railing material and are available in a variety of styles (colonial, contemporary, classic, etc.) and colors. Vinyl railings come as a system and usually have their own components to include 4x4 posts, 2x2 balusters, etc.

adorable bungalow - courtesy of The Porch Company
PVC cathedral scroll panels are from The Porch Company
The cathedral scroll railings are from The Porch Company (one of our fine sponsors). We love that these railings are virtually maintenance free.

Vinyl Porch Railing Panel Vinyl products for railings, although more expensive, are becoming very popular according to BackYard America.

See our Vinyl Porch Panel Photo Gallery for great ideas.

Reasons to Consider Vinyl Railings

  • Vinyl railings are strong and durable and look great
  • They resist fading, staining, and yellowing
  • Many supporting pieces, top and bottom rails, posts, etc., are usually reinforced for rigidity
  • Do not require painting
  • Follow manufacturer's installation instructions carefully

Classic Aluminum Porch Railing

Classic extruded aluminum balusters will add a distinctive wrought iron look to your porch at a fraction of the expense. Classic balusters come in 26" length (for a 36" railing) and 32" length (for a 42" railing) and are 3/4" in diameter. Beautiful Porch Railings

They are relatively easy to install and can be used on wood or composites.

We actually installed well over 100 of them on our deck and didn't have any issues except one.

It helps to have more than one person assemble the balustrade; otherwise, it becomes a contest between you and the balusters!

They come in several different colors and styles ranging from colonial to more contemporary.

Video: Front Porch Railings

Hope you enjoy our video about front porch railings.

Tempered Glass Panels

Glass panels are great! We don't have them but I've seen many and they look super especially if you have any kind of view from your porch. In place of balusters, tempered glass panels are used. See how our friend, Larry, uses tempered glass panels on his porch.

Beautiful Porch Railings

Why Glass Panels?

  • Besides allowing you to see without obstructions, they also shelter you from the wind which really makes your porch more usable.
  • Glass railings basically consist of a metal top rail and tempered glass panels.
  • A glass railing system is a great alternative to traditional balustrades that have many intermediate rails, balusters, or even wire mesh panels.
  • Glass panel systems are usually custom fabricated to ensure maximum functionality.
  • Glass panels also have illumination features (DEKOR®) to give your porch a very distinctive appearance adding potential value and style.

Cable and Pre-engineered Aluminum Railing Frame Systems

We found a great contemporary railing system that allows you fantastic flexibility. Made by DesignRail®, their system allows you to select either aluminum balusters, glass panels, or cables.

Their systems install easily, look great, are not cost prohibitive and come in a wide range of finishes.

screen porch
Photo courtesy of A. Raimist

Porch Railing Option

Often times due to building code requirements, a minimum spacing is required (usually no more than 4" between balusters). Here's an idea you can use to meet code requirements and create a unique design:

optional porch railing design with wire backing to meet local building code
Railing design not normally allowed by code; however a wire mesh is attached
porch railing design with wire backing to meet code
Wire mesh attached to back



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