Deck railing material


I was considering making a somewhat intricate deck railing out of 2x2s and was wondering what the best material and finish to use (I want the final product white).
What type of wood/finish (or wood substitute if it's workable like wood) would last? And would it need yearly re-painting?
I'm in a fairly dry, sunny climate.
Thanks in advance,
Rich
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There are some plastic materials that are white. I have no idea how well they work,, how well they hold up, if they are in the sizes you need, etc. Any lumber yard that deal in decking can help.
Most houses have window trim and soffits made of pine.. If kept painted, it will last many years. You will get better weather resistance from cypress, white oak, Spanish cedar, but they cost more.
A good paint job can last from 5 to 10 years depending on weather, sun exposure, etc.
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Properly applied, paint is good for 5-10 years in my experience. Painted wood, not in direct contact with soil or standing water is going to hande the elements pretty well . It's more important to find clear, straight-grained stock than the optimal species.
2 x whatever stock is pretty low-grade stuff. That means that there are alot of knots. The moisture content is also typically pretty high. That means that they will have a tendency to warp as they dry out. Framers at able to make flat walls out of this stuff because the pop the bands on the stack and use the wood within a day or so (before it can dry much). Assembled, the components of a wall tend to stay put better.
If you must do this on the cheap, avoid smaller dimmension 2 by's, they tend to be the worst. Go to the 2x10 or 2x12 pile and look for the clearest stock you can find there. Find a piece with end grain that looks like (((((0))))) Cut out and discard the pith (center). Rip your 2x2's from that.
-Steve

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Check out http://www.trex.com/ as well as other composite decking materials. Don't know about painting it, but I am sure the manufacturer would give you some information.
Preston

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