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A Glass Deck Rail: The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Glass Deck Rail

There used to be no question about it: you put in a deck and you also put in a wooden railing. This, though, is no longer true. Now people are using every possible type of material to surround their deck, and they are enjoying the differences.

From wood to plastic, and from metal to glass, each kind of rail makes your deck look just a bit different, so it is a good idea that you choose your railing options during the design phase. Increasingly, glass deck rail choices are becoming a popular maintenance free choice.

Why Glass? Glass deck rails can be a beautiful and truly unique addition to any home, whether you have a lot of glass currently in your home or the railing will be the highlight. However, with any railing material choice, there are both benefits and drawbacks.

The Benefits

Inexpensive and available nearly everywhere, glass deck rails can be a great addition to your deck. If you have small children, they allow the child to see out, while still keeping them in. This may be a benefit for your guests as well, as they can look out over the landscape beneath your deck.

If you have a view of the lake, an amazing garden area, or some other scenic feature, glass may be the only way to keep your view pristine. There is another benefit to glass railings if you have small children. The lack of space between panels means your child won’t attempt to jam toys (or their heads) between panels.

A good glass railing can also be a great wind breaker, which is one reason that many people who live on lakes or other water feathers choose to have them. It is usually required that you leave a bit of space between the panels so that the wind can move through them, but all in all they make a pretty good wind breaker.

The Downside

There are, few downsides to owning a deck rail made with glass. The first downside is that they may require more cleaning compared to wood. Especially, if you have dogs or children that like to put their paws or hands on the glass. Dogs may also be confused at first and might try to walk through the glass. But like a glass patio door they will learn that they can't.

Breakage is another thing that many homeowners worry about. Fortunately for homeowners, most glass deck rails are made of tempered glass, which is fairly strong. This does not, however, mean that it is indestructible, and you may have to be more careful on your deck with the glass rails than you would have to be if you had wooden rails. Don't throw rocks at a house with glass rails.

Glass can also cause a greenhouse affect. If it is facing a very sunny spot it can get quite hot. This is where it is a good idea to plan and check the location for your glass deck rail. You can ensure there is a breeze through one side or plan.

In Summary

You can also make a glass rail look contemporary by putting a wood rail on top. Not only will this give your rail a rustic look it will also be handy to place drinks or other items on.

If you are building, or adding onto, a porch, you may want to look at all of the options for your rails as they can make your deck something to remember.

For more information on adding a rail to your deck, please read these articles:

Review of different deck rail designs

Updating and changing your deck railings



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