Getting ready to sell your home is a lot of work. There are a million things to think about, from replacing the bathroom tiles to repainting the walls, and sometimes even doing a large-scale renovation. In the midst of chaos and disarray, it’s easy to overlook the smaller projects that, when done right, can make a big difference in the overall appeal of your home.
A beautiful, functional deck and railing that compliments your house could be that little detail that convinces a buyer to make an offer. Your deck comprises as much as a quarter of your home’s value, so it’s wise to put in the necessary work it needs to look its best. Conversely, having outdoor structures in disrepair will actually reduce the value of your home. It’s unlikely that the next owner is going to want to invest in making the deck more usable and presentable right away.
So, how can you spruce up your deck and highlight it as a selling feature for your house? It’s simple—focus on your deck railing. There are a plethora of simple DIY deck railing project ideas to upgrade or alter your railings in order to maintain or even increase the value of your home.
Restore Your Wooden Railings
Do you have wooden railings? If so, you’ll be happy to know that wood is relatively easy to repair and refinish. As a matter of fact, you probably already own most of the common woodworking tools.
Here are a few options to consider:
- Painting or Staining. Both of these options are relatively simple ways to change the look of your deck so that it compliments your home. It will also give your railings a sophisticated, finished look, while covering graying and discoloration.
- Staining wood can be as simple as removing the paint, sanding out rough spots, then applying stain and sealant. You can cut down on one step by purchasing a 2-in-1 stain/sealant.
- Painting is similar to staining: sand the wood bare, then prime and paint.
- Wood Filling. Minor damage such as cuts, scrapes, and chewing from animals can be fixed with wood filler. It is easy to work with and can be stained over. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t repair rotten, warped, or split wood railing components–those will need to be replaced.
- Decorating. Consider using decorative powder-coated post base plates and rail saddles to accentuate your newly stained wooden railings. They add a rustic, decorative touch that compliments stained wood beautifully.
Deck Railing Project Ideas: Replacing Balusters
Your railing is the focal point of your deck. Replacing balusters and rails with an eye-catching material to accent your preexisting posts is a creative alternative to replacing the whole railing system.
Here are some creative ideas for balusters and railings that will make your deck stand out. If you’re replacing wood balusters and rails, you’ll likely find that these less bulky materials open up your view, as well as the feel of the deck:
- Glass. Glass adds a classic look that pairs exceptionally well with wood. It creates the illusion of a bigger deck and–this is a surprise to many people–glass railings aren’t hard to keep clean. A full panel infill will block the wind and warm the deck, while glass balusters will allow greater airflow in warm climates. For ease of installation, look for drop-in style glass balusters—the top and bottom rails are pre-slotted so all you have to do is slide the glass into the slots and bolt it together.
- Vertical cables. If you are looking for a more modern aesthetic that gives your deck an open feeling without the use of glass, vertical cable railing is a great choice. It’s simple to install and requires minimal maintenance because it’s stainless steel. Some companies make cable systems even more convenient by selling prefabricated vertical stainless steel cable railing systems that simply require installing the rail brackets and bolting up the rails.
- Steel. Steel has an air of solidity and craftsmanship, making your railings look more expensive than they really are. Steel balusters will also match the style of powder-coated base plates and rail saddles. Rusting is not a concern when using powder-coated steel as the powder coat helps protect the metal from the elements. Most companies will provide additional protection from rust as well, with galvanization. Some manufacturers use multiple coatings, putting a moisture-resistant e-coat over the galvanization, and topping that with the powder coat. This method allows the baluster to last for years without showing wear or fading.
- Aluminum. For a lightweight, durable alternative to iron or steel choose aluminum. Aluminum is also usually powder coated and is a low-maintenance material. Aluminum doesn’t tend to be as versatile in design as steel, but is extremely light and durable.
Light Up Your Deck with Accents
Installing lighting on your railings and deck can be a very attractive feature for buyers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, exterior lighting is one of the most desired outdoor features by homebuyers. Furthermore, according to a study by Philips Lighting, about 50% of Europeans reported that they were more likely to buy a home with exterior lighting. It appears that people truly see the value in being able to enjoy their deck after the sun goes down.
Lighting accents go a long way towards adding ambiance to your deck without breaking the bank. With the right lighting system, installation can be as simple as running wire and drilling some holes.
Here are a few ideas for ways to incorporate lighting on your deck:
- Install post cap lighting on your railing posts. This kind of lighting comes in a variety of styles and is easy to install. There are even LED options.
- Install under-rail lighting between balusters, either on the top or bottom rail.
- Install surface-mounted LED lighting directly into the top of your deck–such as along the perimeter–or on stairs.
Add Components That Appeal to Your Climate or Demographic
It’s important to consider your target demographic and climate when choosing which alterations to make on your deck before selling your house. For example, in the North where it’s colder, it’s a good idea to use full panel glass infills to keep the wind at bay and the deck warm. In hot climates, optimal airflow can be achieved with narrow vertical cable.
On beachfront areas, consider installing materials that are especially resistant to corrosion from saltwater. Powder-coated steel railings are an excellent option if you want the style of iron without the worry of rust. In neighborhoods that appeal to an older demographic, installing low-maintenance railings and handrails on stairs is a good way to draw in seniors by making stairways safer.
If you decide to revamp your railings before a sale, choose a high-quality railing system to increase your home’s value and attractiveness. Fortress Railing has a varied selection of railings, balusters, and accents of many materials. If you plan to take on other projects around the home, Fortress Building Products can also provide you with durable, innovative, and easy-to-install decking, fencing, and other products.