Side Mount vs Surface Mount Deck Railings: Which is Better?

Side Mount Deck Railings

Choosing the perfect deck railings can significantly transform the look and feel of your deck. It's not just about safety—it shapes how your outdoor space looks and feels, and it could even bump up your home’s value. When you're weighing options, you’ll likely come across two popular types: fascia mount and surface-mounted deck railings. Each has its upsides and downsides, and the trick is to match them with what you actually need. Are you building something new or sprucing up the old? Do you want to save space, or is it all about the view? We've got you covered. This guide will walk you through both deck railing types, laying out the good, the bad, and the best picks for different situations so that you can nail down the choice that's right for you.

Side Mount

Side Mount

Surface Mount
Surface Mount

What's the Deal with Fascia Mount Deck Railings?

What Exactly Are They?

Fascia mount deck railings are a practical choice for saving space on your deck. These railings attach directly to the side face—called the fascia or side—of your decking structure. This clever design means they perch on the edge, without stealing any space from the floor itself.

Materials Commonly Used

  • Aluminum: Lightweight and rust-resistant, ideal for most weather conditions.
  • Stainless Steel: Super strong and can handle a lot of weight and pressure.
  • Glass: Offers a sleek, modern look and doesn't block your view.

Installation Scoop

Mounting these side mount railings requires bolting them into the side of your structure. It's a job that calls for some know-how about your home's exterior materials and local building codes—definitely a task for skilled hands.

The Upsides

  • Space Efficiency: They don’t take up precious deck space, giving you more room for enjoyment.
  • Unblocked Views: Their streamlined design means nothing gets in the way of your view.
  • Modern Looks: They offer a clean, contemporary appearance that can boost your home’s style points.

The Drawbacks

  • Installation Challenges: Not a DIY project—you'll need a pro, which means extra installation costs.
  • Structural Requirements: Your deck needs the right kind of support to handle them; they're not one-size-fits-all.
  • Maintenance Access: Cleaning and upkeep can be trickier since they're harder to reach from the deck side.
Surface Mount Deck Railings

Why Choose Surface Mount Deck Railings?

What Are They, Really?

Surface mount deck railings are the kind that stand on top of your deck floor. Imagine them as trusty guards standing right where you place them—rooted to the spot. They're a common sight, and there's a good chance you've leaned on one before!

Materials You'll Find:

  • Wrought Iron: Gives that classic, ornate look and is very sturdy.
  • Vinyl: Requires less maintenance and comes in various styles.
  • Wood: Offers a traditional feel, but needs more upkeep to stay looking fresh.

How They're Put Up:

These deck railings sit on the surface and are bolted down into the flooring. This makes installation a bit more straightforward than their fascia-mount siblings. It's still serious business, but it’s within reach for those with solid DIY skills.

The Benefits:

  • Flexibility: Can be installed on virtually any flat surface, making them super adaptable.
  • Easier Installation: Generally more forgiving and easier to install than fascia mounts.
  • Cost-Effective: Often less expensive both in terms of materials and labor

Some Considerations:

  • Space Consumption: They take up real estate on your deck, which can cramp your style if space is limited.
  • View Interruption: Depending on the design, they might block that lovely vista you wanted to preserve.
  • Longevity: Depending on the material, they may need more frequent repairs or replacements over time.
Fascia Mount Deck Railings

When Should You Go for Fascia Mount Deck Railings?

Looking to Max Out on Space?

If every inch of your deck is precious, then fascia mount deck railings are likely your best bet. By attaching to the side, they leave the entire surface area for you to use.

Craving Uninterrupted Views?

For the lovers of scenic backdrops—whether it’s a city skyline or rolling hills—fascia mounts are like invisible barriers. They’re less obtrusive, keeping those Instagram-worthy views clear from any angle.

Got a Modern Design in Mind?

When you’re aiming for that sleek, cutting-edge look, fascia mounts deliver. They're the go-to for a clean-lined aesthetic that complements modern architecture beautifully.

But Keep in Mind...

  • Your home needs the right bones for this type of railing. Some structures can't support fascia mounts without significant modification.
  • If you're not handy—or if you don't have a trusted contractor—it might be a challenging install.
  • When maintenance time rolls around, these railings can be a bit more cumbersome to access for repairs and cleaning.

When is Surface Mounting the Way to Go?

Need a Quick Setup?

If you're after a hassle-free installation, surface mount deck railings are your friend. They're pretty straightforward: they sit right on top of your deck and bolt down. Even if you're not a DIY pro, with the right tools and a bit of patience, you could get this done.

Tight on Budget?

On the lookout for a cost-effective solution? Surface mounts typically won't hit your wallet as hard. They're generally less expensive when it comes to materials and labor, so you can keep your savings for a rainy day—or maybe some new outdoor furniture!

Prefer the Classic Touch?

There's something timeless about surface mount railings that fascia mounts can't quite capture. If your home has a traditional vibe or you're just a fan of the classic railing look, surface mounts have that familiar charm in spades.

But Don't Forget...

  • These guys will snatch up some real estate on your deck, which means a little less legroom.
  • If uninterrupted vistas are your thing, surface mounts might get in the way—literally.
  • Depending on what they’re made of, they may ask for a bit more TLC over the years to stay strong and good-looking.

How Do Design and Aesthetics Factor In?

Do You Dig the Modern Flair?

Side mount deck railings are a popular choice among the various railing options available. They have that minimalist vibe that screams 'modern' and blend almost seamlessly with your space. If you're all about that contemporary, less-is-more look, they're probably right up your alley.

Or Is It Classic Charm You're After?

Surface-mounted railings bring that traditional, timeless feel to your outdoor area. They come in various styles—from Victorian swirls to the simple lines of a classic picket fence. If your home throws back to a bygone era or you just love a design with history, these might be more your speed.

Don't Overlook Maintenance and Longevity

A beautiful railing is only as good as its last polish or paint job. Consider how much time and effort you're willing to put into upkeep. Generally, fascia mounts require a bit more gymnastics to maintain since they're harder to reach from your deck, while surface mounts can be easier to access and care for.

Why Call in the Experts?

Think of railing experts like your trusty GPS - they help you navigate through the maze of options, codes, and installation quirks. They can take a gander at your space and tell you straight up what will work and what won't, saving you from a potential case of buyer's remorse.

Questions to Ask Your Contractor:

  • Can my current deck structure support side mounted railings?
  • How much maintenance will each type of railing need over time?
  • Are there any local building codes I need to know about?
  • Can you walk me through the installation process for each option?
  • What's the warranty like on these railings?

Finding the Right Fit for You

The best part about pros is that they're not just thinking about railings—they're considering how they fit into your life. They'll talk to you about how you use your space, what kind of gatherings you host, and even what the weather's like in your area. All that good stuff plays a big role in finding the sweet spot between form and function.

Deciding on Fascia vs. Surface Mount Deck Railings

Picking between fascia and surface-mounted railings comes down to your specific needs and what you value most for your home's outdoor spaces. If saving every inch of deck space is crucial and you're after that modern look, then fascia railings are likely your go-to. They tuck neatly away, making sure nothing gets between you and your view. On the other hand, if you're looking for something more traditional that's easier to install and kinder to your budget, surface-mounted railings are probably your best bet. They're versatile and can be fixed directly on top of your deck without fuss. Whichever route you choose, make sure it aligns with your practical requirements and aesthetic preferences, and don't hesitate to consult a professional to ensure your choice makes the perfect fit for your deck.

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