A well-designed porch railing can help transform a mundane house into a unique home. Porch railings can convey traditional elegance through the use of turned balusters and newel posts, or express a more contemporary and jazzy look through the use of painted metal or other unusual materials. The front porch railing is the first thing that guests and passers-by notice on your house, so it should reflect your personal taste.
Reclaimed Antique Railings
If you have an older home, you can augment its character by equipping it with reclaimed antique porch railings. Newer, low-maintenance railings made of vinyl may be cheap and easy to care for, but they will ruin the look of a 100-year-old Victorian home. If the railings on your older home have rotted away, been removed by someone else, or are just in too poor of a condition to rescue, have a look around some architectural salvage companies and see what you find. A bit of scraping, a new coat of paint, and some custom fitting could marry these old railings to your vintage house and create a new and improved life for both of them.
Cast iron is a very versatile medium, and can be used to create railings that look hundreds of years old or railings that push the envelope for cutting-edge architecture. If you live in a contemporary home and are looking for a finishing touch for your facade, custom-made metal railings may be the answer. Don't expect to get away cheap with this option, however; hiring a metalworker or blacksmith to custom-make your railings will be expensive. Spend time sketching out your ideas, then consult with an experienced metal worker to determine if your ideas are feasible, both structurally and financially.
Natural wood railings can give a homey and rustic feel to a house. Natural wood can range from highly stylized balusters and posts that have been finished with clear polyurethane to rustic wonders that are made of raw logs or driftwood. The latter are most appropriate for log houses or cabins that radiate a backwoods feel. If you are lucky enough to live on the ocean, you can collect interesting and appropriate pieces of driftwood over a period of years and slowly assemble a unique porch railing that will make your house look as though it grew out of the landscape.
- Photo Credit railing image by AGITA LEIMANE from Fotolia.com
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