We're having a new deck built soon and we're going to use the solid (not
hollow) Weatherbest composite decking on it. This deck will have about 70
linear feet of railing on it. The Weatherbest composite railing system is
very expensive, however, so we're trying to figure out if it is worth the
extra expense to have a maintenance free railing compared to a less
expensive cedar railing that would require cleaning and staining every
The cheapest option (excluding a pressure-treated wood railing, which we
don't want) is to go with an all cedar railing, where you use 2x2 cedar
balusters connected to the rim joist at the bottom and a top rail of cedar
on top. This railing option would require the most upkeep, cleaning and
For about $700 more, we can have a lower-maintenance cedar/aluminum railing
built that uses maintenance-free colored aluminum spindles for the
balusters. With this option, the top rail and bottom rail would be made of
cedar, as well as the posts that go every 6 feet. So we'd still have some
cleaning and staining to do every couple years, but at least we wouldn't
have to clean and stain all 4 sides of the 150+ cedar balusters, as we would
if we chose the all-cedar railing.
And for another $700 more than the cedar/aluminum spindle railing, we can go
with an all-composite Weatherbest railing.
So my questions is, for those of you who have cedar railings and have done
this before, how many hours do you estimate it would take to clean and stain
70 feet of an all cedar railing with cedar balusters? How much time do you
estimate it would take if we went the cedar & aluminum baluster route, where
we wouldn't have to do any upkeep on the balusters, but we would have to
clean and stain 70 feet of the top and bottom rails and the posts? And
knowing how much upkeep is involved with a cedar railing, would you say we
should just fork out the extra bucks to get a maintenance free composite
railing? If maintaining a cedar railing is a ton of work, then it's probably
worth it to pay more upfront for a cedar railing. But if it is not that much
work to maintain cedar, we'll probably go that route.
Any advice would be appreciated!!
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