Today's deck rail balusters are generally made from aluminum or steel, the finishes can be a multitude of Designs, Colors, and Textures. While the final choice is ultimately that of the consumer, these are a few things to consider:
Design: Many times we select a baluster design that looks great in a picture, or good on another deck, or the worst reason of all, "cost" while this can work, the very concept of this type of selection may be flawed. Consider your project as an extension of your home and personality. think of how you intend to use your deck, and what this extension of your home represents. Many rail designs are regionally defined in color and style, yet personal preference should always be considered, easy of installation, and design of your project, It's not uncommon to mix styles and color to get the feel and look your desire. Safe and Simple Idea: Match the baluster to the ones used in your home, or nearby neighbors. While the goal isn't to look like everyone else's deck, we all desire to be unique, keep the differences subtle.
Example: Consider mixing the standard round baluster with a small selection of baskets balusters knuckles, collars,or center pieces, or consider a unique pattern of balusters by arranging in groups of two, three or more.
Color: Many people believe that the color of the baluster must match that of the trim of the home, while that seems very logical, that may not be totally true, and not the best choice for your new rail project.
Belief: A home with white trim should have white balusters? While this system of selection seems logical, I would suggest it is more important to consider the view beyond the rails, for this reason we use the science of color. Simply stated light colors are more likely to obstruct your view, while darker colors appear to be more transparent to the human eye, thus protecting the view beyond the rail.
Example: If you were creating a deck on a front of a home on a busy street a white rail would be ideal as when you sit on your porch or deck you would feel separated from the world around you. however the opposite is true with darker colors, imagine your project overlooks a wetland or forest area, a dark color rail would be my first choice as I would want the view to overtake the rail color. All this because the human eye doesn't focus quickly enough after viewing a light color object; to appreciate all the colors beyond it.
"Googling" 'Human Eye and Color' will provide more information than one may ever possible want to know about color and why its important. However, simply stated: Regardless of the trim color of your home, select a dark color if you want to expand the view of the area that surrounds you, select a light color baluster if you want to limit or protect your view.
Texture: Second to color, the texture of the finish is critical to the performance of your deck rail, Finishes can be Film Coated, Anodized, Powder Coated, or Enamel Coated. While personal choice is always a factor, consideration should be given to durability and intended use. Powder Coatings can be either a glossy or textured finish. Other finishes are limited to Smooth, Gloss or Semi Gloss finishes, additionally powder coating has the most superior resistance to the effects of sun and weather. Smooth glossy finishes may be easier to maintain than textured finishes, but the reflection of a glossy finish may not be as desirable in a sunny location.
Installation: In the days of past balusters were wood pieces nailed to the exterior face of a deck, many looked like fences, today we have so many choices of design and installation techniques. Building codes and zoning rules all play a part in this decision. Safety is always the primary concern when installing and selecting a rail. The rail system is only as strong as the weakest point. Always refer to and follow each manufactures specific requirements for their rail installation. Quality rail systems will have all the needed documentation and complete installation instructions, failure to follow these guidelines can void warranties and create safety hazards.