Last Updated: August 12, 2019
When you’re deciding whether or not to make a major purchase, a good old pros and cons list will never let you down. Today we’re going to help you explore one of the most popular railing materials on the market: aluminum. Known for its lightweight strength and its ability to resist corrosion and rust, aluminum is an excellent material for both railings and fences. But if you’re on the fence about using this exceptional material for your railing, check out the pros and cons of aluminum railing that we’ve listed below.
Pros and Cons of Aluminum Railing
Because aluminum is lightweight and used in everyday consumer goods (like aluminum foil and aluminum cans), some people assume that it isn’t sturdy or strong. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Aluminum is highly versatile. So while it can be processed into thin, bendable forms (some of which, like aluminum foil, can be crushed by a human hand), aluminum can also be constructed into extremely tough forms for heavy-duty applications. And to increase its strength, manufacturers often alloy it with other metals. Its unbeatable strength-to-weight ratio makes it an excellent choice for construction and transportation applications, including high-rise buildings, bridges, and (of course) railings.
Aluminum is lightweight and flexible, which makes it easy and convenient to work with. In regard to aluminum railing kits, installation is quite simple partially due to aluminum’s lightweight form. If you’re relatively confident in your construction skills, you can install it yourself (which means you won’t have to shell out for installation costs). Or if you’d rather trust a professional, you can rest easy knowing that it’s a relatively simple job that won’t take too long to be completed.
Aluminum’s appearance is versatile, clean, and stylish. Railings made of aluminum are available in a variety of styles, from modern and trendy to traditional and old-fashioned. Look for a model with a powder coating, which offers dependable style and durability. Powder coating is available in a wide range of colors, including custom colors, so you can select the shade that best complements your application.
Worried about maintenance? Don’t be. Aluminum railings have very minimal maintenance requirements. They don’t need to be painted, stained, or treated; their powder coating protects the metal and preserves its condition. However, you may want to clean it lightly from time to time by spraying it down with your hose. You could also add some detergent to a bucket of water and use an old rag to scrub down the railing. But frankly, that probably won’t be necessary. If you select an aluminum railing system, heavy-duty cleaning sessions will become a thing of the past.
Although it doesn’t require much help from you, aluminum will stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws at it – from rain and hail to snow, ice, and UV rays. It resists corrosion, rust, decay, insect infestation, and more. Plus, despite the hurdles thrown at it, an aluminum railing can last for decades without losing its beauty or weakening in function. Aluminum is one of the most weather-resistant materials available today
Finally, aluminum is recyclable! So even after your railing retires following many years of devoted service, you won’t have to worry about it filling up a landfill (assuming you dispose of it properly, of course). Some aluminum railings are also partially composed of recycled metal.
To be frank, aluminum’s disadvantages are so minimal and debatable, they aren’t worth mentioning at all. Unless you simply don’t like the look of aluminum, why not give it a shot? Aluminum is an exceptional railing material, offering strength, weather-resistance, easy installation, and so much more. Just be sure that you purchase your aluminum railing from a reputable company that offers a reliable warranty and helpful customer service.
Finally, you might wonder how aluminum railings compared to those made of steel, wood, or vinyl. So let’s take a little time to compare some of the most popular material options for railings:
- Aluminum vs. Steel: Steel requires more maintenance than aluminum, as it needs to be repainted every few years. It is also substantially heavier than aluminum, which makes handling and installation more tricky. Installing steel is also more difficult because, unlike flexible aluminum, it is extremely stiff and may require a special grinder or cutting torch for on-site adjustments.
- Aluminum vs. Wood: Wood is prone to rotting, unlike non-ferrous aluminum, so it must be regularly repainted. Depending on where you live, you may also need to treat your wooden railings to ensure they stand up to the elements. Aluminum requires far less maintenance than wood.
- Aluminum vs. Vinyl: Aluminum maintains its shape regardless of the temperature, barely expanding or shrinking at all. Vinyl, on the other hand, can fluctuate in extreme cold or heat. This can cause premature aging and deterioration. Vinyl is also vulnerable to UV rays, which can cause fading and cracks. Aluminum stands strong beneath bright sunlight.
If you would like to purchase a new aluminum railing, do yourself a favor and check out MMC Fencing & Railing. You might be interested in the Westbury Aluminum Railing systems, which are available in a variety of styles and colors. With names like Tuscany, Riviera, Montego, and Veranda, you can trust that these railings are both elegant and understated. Or, if you’re concerned about pesky insects, learn more about ScreenRail, an aluminum railing with heavy-duty screen panels to keep out mosquitos and other bothersome bugs.
Plus, all of our aluminum railing products come with a lifetime limited warranty from Digger Specialties against defects in workmanship and materials. The warranty also guarantees that, in the course of normal and proper use, the railing products will not crack, peel, blister, flake, or rust.
For more railing options and to check out additional benefits of aluminum railings, please check out the MMC Fencing & Railing online store or give us a call at 1-866-931-5002. We would be happy to further discuss the pros and cons of aluminum railing with you.