The average cost to have aluminum deck railing installed by a contractor is $76.00 per linear foot. If you buy the parts and DIY, cost averages $54.00 per linear foot.
The aluminum deck railing price will generally include cost of the rails, installation and all labor, as well as permits or inspections where required. If you have existing railings on your deck, consider removing yourself to save money, or expect an added expense for the labor to remove, as well as disposal costs.
Average Do It Yourself cost$40 – $70 / Linear FootAverage Contractor Installed Cost$65 – $90 / Linear FootTypical Cost Average$76 / Linear Foot
Aluminum Deck Rail Cost Factors
How much does aluminum deck railing cost? These factors determine where in the cost range of $36 for starting DIY cost to $95 per linear foot for the upper end of most pro installations.
- Quality of the Railing – Cheaper aluminum railing is a thinner gauge metal. It might be painted or vinyl-covered. Better types of aluminum alloy are used in more expensive railing. The metal is often of a thicker gauge and is usually powder-coated.
- Aluminum & Cable Panels – These are a high-end option.
- Railing Height – Most building codes require 36” deck railing. You’ll also find 42” railing at a slightly higher cost when all else is equal.
- Post Dimensions – There’s a lot more aluminum in a 4” square post than one 2” square, so it costs more. For example, one retailer has Westbury Riviera C30 2”x2” post for half the cost of the same series 4”x4” post.
- Decorative Caps & Solar Light Caps – Most series offer several cap upgrade options that raise price – see the retail costs below for details.
- Baluster Type – The balusters are the vertical posts or pickets on deck railing. Spacing, thickness and style all affect cost.
- Railing Width and Type – Narrow hand railing costs less than “drink railing,” railing Wide enough to safely set a glass on.
- Panels or Custom Design – Most deck railing is built using standard panels. You choose the post you want, and decorative accessories and then the full panel. However, some railing series offer several choices for top rail and bottom rail. Some are quite a bit more expensive. Secondly, when more pieces have to be assembled onsite, installation costs rise.
- Panel Length – For some brands, cost per linear foot goes down slightly the longer the panel is. Looking at Westbury again, its Riviera II 8’ railing is about $8 per linear foot less than the 5’ panel.
- Stair Railing or Level Rail – Some brands price stair rails slightly higher per linear foot than level railing.
- Premium or Special Order Colors – These raise cost slightly, and they can also delay your project by several weeks waiting for them to be produced and shipped.
- Deck Complexity – A rectangular, single-level deck makes for easy installation, so lower labor cost. A two-level, non-rectangular deck with stairs is a complex installation, so labor cost might be double.
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.
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