(Or Ones Less than 2 feet Off the Ground)
We own a bungalow with a covered front porch as well as a covered small-ish back patio. It took us a little while after moving in before we replaced the front porch wood railing with our very own Wide Aluminum Picket Railing System. It was good to replace something that needed maintenance with our system that needs little to no maintenance out front.
We also have a back patio that is less than 2' above the ground, about 10' x 10' so technically it does not need any railing, which seemed unnecessary at the time. It never occurred to us that it would be useful to install a set of railings there so we did not for a couple of years while living here. At the time, we probably felt like it would limit the use of the patio if we did install our railing system there.
One fine day, however, we began to wonder (a pin dropped) what it would be like to install our own Framed Glass Railing System on the open side of the patio. Would it help or make it worse? Well, we had to test it out and boy, did that change the way we were using our patio! It felt more spacious (and safer for young children) with the defined edge, and we added a set of tables and chairs for dining to the edge of the patio when we did not feel like it would work there before (fear of falling factor). We were surprised by how much of a difference it was having the railing system there.
If you , like us, ever thought that it was not a good investment to install a set of railings on a deck that is less than 2' off the ground, you will realise very quickly once they have been installed that you can use the deck/patio in a more useful way than you ever did.
The only regret we have is not having installed railings in the back deck much sooner. Haha. The irony.
*The photo is of a customer's spacious back deck, installed with our Yard Bronze Framed Glass Railing System.
Grace & Matt
One of the most common assumptions we hear from customers is that glass railings are hard to maintain as it takes a lot of effort to keep them clean year round, so they avoid even considering it. Truth to be told, they do take some effort, but it is not as high maintenance as one thinks. We like to say, it takes as much effort as it does your windows, if not less.
Jack and Alice have a whole upper deck of glass railings and my mother-in-law loves her glass CLEAN (and she is Dutch), and you know what they say about Dutch people (Hahaha...just kidding, Mom!) but here's what she has to say about how to clean them, and how often they need cleaning.
How to Clean the Glass in Your Railings
For the most part, you will find that very little cleaning is necessary. We usually only do spot cleaning and very rarely wash the glass down.
In the Spring, it is recommended that you check your glass for stains and any accumulated winter dirt, use a mild detergent, vinegar and water. Use 1 cup vinegar and a small amount of mild detergent, such as Dawn dish detergent in a 8 litre/2 gallon pail of water. Use a cloth or a soft scrubber to clean the glass and rinse with water. A garden hose works well. We would dry the wet glass with a towel first, and then with a fresh towel, go through it again, if desired.
If you encounter tougher stains, use household vinegar directly on the stain to remove it and rinse with water.
There are also glass railings where we have our salt water pool. We have 6 grandchildren, and they often come for a swim and make some grand splashes over the summer. With a salt water pool, the salt water tends to leave some stain once the splashes get dried up by the sun. Unfortunately in terms of maintenance around the pool, you will find that there is more work to it especially if vigorous swimming is involved. We keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water around the pool area to get the glass cleaned once the children are done with the swimming. If the salt is not caked on the glass, spraying it down with a hose and scrubbing it at the same time is the fastest way to remove the salt water stains.
How to Clean Your Picket Railings
Generally speaking, there isn't much cleaning involved with picket railings unless your railings are white in colour. If you so wish, in the Spring, rinse the railings with a garden hose. If needed, wash with water and a small amount of Dawn dish detergent in an 8 litre/2 gallon pail and rinse with a garden hose. Allow it to air dry.
Feel free to contact us at 226.984.1081 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about cleaning your railings and we will help you as best as we can.
Alice (and Grace
What are some things that need to be
taken into consideration prior to
building your deck?
For many Canadians, our backyard decks are an important extension of our living space during the warm summer months. Whether it be for a family meal, a morning coffee, or just hanging out and having drinks with friends, backyard decks are a favourite gathering place when the weather is welcoming. This means that it is important to ensure that you think through and plan your deck project well so that you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your living and gathering space, while also keeping it cost effective and low maintenance. Properly planning your deck project before beginning can prevent extra costs from arising once the project is underway.
A basic consideration to think about would be the materials you will use for the surface of the deck and the railing. Do you want to use wood, knowing that it requires more upkeep and maintenance over its life and will not last as long as some alternatives, or would you prefer to use a material like composite decking which will last much longer and is similar to work with when compared to wood? We have customers who have used alternative materials such as porcelain tile systems, aluminum decking, or exotic extremely hard wood species such as ironwood, ipe, etc. Whatever you choose to build with, it is important to not only consider the upfront purchase price, but also the long-term maintenance costs, which includes your time as well as the material costs. This is where aluminum railing is a vastly superior product to use rather than traditional wood railings because they will never rot nor need to be refinished; all they require is very minimal yearly maintenance and they will stay strong and beautiful for many years to come.
Deck Layout: Traffic Flow and Angles
Another important consideration to take into account is the layout of your deck. What are the plans you have in mind for your deck? Is it going to be a hangout space with couches and chairs, is it a dining space, or is it more just a pathway to get to the backyard? Depending on your plans it will affect the amount of space you need and where you want to locate your stairs to allow access and egress. Ensuring the traffic flows smoothly and easily according to your plans (and keeping in mind possible future plans) is essential to fully enjoying your investment.
Something else to consider regarding layout is that it is best to try and avoid strange angles, keeping to mostly 90-degree and 45-degree angles. Going with uncommon angles can increase the difficulty of installing railings and can increase the difficulty of installing the decking and framing depending on the materials used which ultimately increases the costs associated with the complications.
Timing and Scope of Project
A couple of other factors that will affect how smoothly your project is executed are the timing and scope of the project. If you are planning on building your deck with the help of family and friends, then this will not be as major a factor. However, if you are planning on hiring a contractor or installers like us, the availability factor will affect the timing of it all. Planning ahead of time (2 - 3 months in advance is minimum depending on the type of contractor you hire) will ensure full enjoyment of your deck for the season.
No matter what shape and size and material your deck is made out of, thinking of some of these beforehand can save a lot of time, money, and headaches during the building process. Making your railing decisions prior to building is also very important because it allows the railing suppliers/installers to coordinate with the deck builder to ensure that proper blocking and supports are installed – it is much easier to install blocking prior to the decking being built than after, and without proper blocking your railing will not be secured sufficiently. Just because the railing goes on last does not mean that it doesn’t need to be thought about until the end. The earlier you plan all of the elements of your deck, the easier the installation process will be able to go, and the faster you will be able to sit out and enjoy your little piece of paradise.
Written by Matt (and Grace)
As a business, we are always thinking about how to improve our customers' experiences when they begin thinking about improving their enjoyment of their backyards or the curb appeal of their front porches. The good news is, we are working on some very useful blog posts with tips to help our customers make decisions regarding options that are out there.
In this very first blog, we will talk about how to decide between an aluminum picket railing system versus a glass railing system.
When looking at your future railing system some of the elements you may consider are the aesthetics of the railing system, views from the deck or porch, maintenance of the railing system, practicality and usability as well as economics. When you consider these elements you also have to determine which of these elements takes precedence.
Let’s take a look at these considerations:
As they say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Take in the big picture. What is the look that you feel will enhance your deck or front porch? Will the glass railing system enhance the view better or will the simple picket railing system suffice? Whichever choice you make, what colour of system compliments and enhances the look of your home or cottage?
Views are two ways. What view do you want to have from your porch or deck? If you have a beautiful view into the nature we would always suggest going with as little disruption as possible ie the glass system. We offer 3 different types of the glass railing systems which can help enhance your view in the most seamless manner. If the view isn't the most important consideration, then the simple to install picket railing system would work great!
Some other considerations on this point are what view do you want people to have that are looking towards you? Do want an open view both ways? Do you want some privacy? There are ways in which we can make things work for you.
The picket systems are virtually maintenance free, while the glass systems tend to require some cleaning, depending on how particular you are. Things to consider are the environment around you (dusty?), if you have pets, wildlife around you and hand prints. These can be mitigated by purchasing a self-cleaning glass for your railing system if glass is your choice. In general though, the glass system needs maintenance as often as the windows in your homes.
There are also some practical considerations for choosing between the two systems although our systems do work seamlessly together. We have installed many glass railing systems that go around the perimeter of the deck, and end with our picket system at the stairs, as there is more grip for the elderly and small children as they step up or down. We have also had customers who had glass railings installed in their front porch to stop the wind from picking up their porch furniture.
This is often a major consideration for most. The Picket Railing Systems are the most economical railing systems. If installing a picket system does not enhance your views, then the most economical glass system would be our Framed Glass System with 6 mm tempered glass.
We also offer a Topless Glass System with 10 mm tempered glass which doesn’t have the top and bottom horizontal rails but still has posts as the intermediate price option and finally the Frameless Glass System with 12 mm tempered, heat soaked glass as the most seamless and least economical option.
Once you've thought about some of these factors and you're ready to move forward with your project, come on into our showroom with your deck sketch, measurements and photos and we can help you look at the options that will allow you to maximize your priority for your railing system in the most economical way. You are also most welcome to email us your dimensions and sketch to email@example.com or call us at 226.984.1081 to speak to one of our estimators.
Looking forward to seeing you.
Written by Jack (and Grace)
We forget sometimes how our business is so dependent on the weather. Every trade that's working on the outdoors has been quite affected by the wet months of April - June. The situation exacerbates for us at Ontario Deck Railing as we are the very last trade that rocks in to beautify landscapes and homes. The wait time has been challenging, but thankfully that means we have the time to do planning and business structuring.
Matt has also been busy building shelves and creating better workspaces for us in our warehouse. We look more legit (haha!) now and with the recent purchase of our very own (first!) vehicle, we certainly feel like we're wearing big boy pants now. Talk about adulting.
Otherwise, there are many opportunities coming our way and it looks like it will be a very busy summer. We are so grateful for our clients who are trusting us with their projects even though we are new kids on the block, and can't wait to work on them once the weather shifts!
If you have a project that you are planning and need some input, feel free to drop by during our office open hours. If the only times that work for you are Tuesday or Thursday, give us a call and we can come in to meet you. We are just working from home those days.
On behalf of the team,