Composite and vinyl decks offer durability, low maintenance, and many aesthetic benefits, such as non-fading colors, and more and more homeowners and builders are taking notice. As the popularity of this product category continues to grow, manufacturers have taken their systems one step further by offering railings to match and complement their decks.

"Before, contractors would have to install a cedar wood railing with our composite decking and that would eventually split, splinter, and lose color. Plus it would have to be maintained," says Angela Ross, product specialist for TimberTech, which recently introduced an ornamental railing system in three colors for its composite decking.

In addition, a deck's appearance may be marred by a mismatched railing. "Consumers are demanding more attractive-looking rail systems with lower maintenance," says Paul Bizzarri, TimberTech's marketing director. "The continued low-maintenance aspect of [composite] railing systems matches that of [composite] decking systems."

Many other manufacturers also are offering new railing systems to match their low-maintenance decking lines, including CertainTeed's Boardwalk Composite Railings; Kroy Building Products' contoured vinyl railing system; and Trex's composite railings with a chamfered hand rail. LP offers Crystal White Composite Railing, Weyerhaeuser recently introduced matching railings for its ChoiceDek composite decking, Westech offers vinyl wood-grain railings to complement its Presidio deck/dock products, and L.B. Plastics offers the SheerView Glass Railing System, which combines tempered glass with a high-impact metal-reinforced PVC frame from the maker's Sheerline 4500 Series railing system.

Some companies are selling railing systems as a low-maintenance alternative for wood decks, as well. Georgia-Pacific now markets and distributes Premium Vinyl Railing to coordinate with its natural redwood, cedar, cypress, and pressure treated lumber decks. With matching decking and railing systems, says Brian McNelis, marketing assistant for Kroy, "[Dealers] can offer more than just the decking. It makes it a much more attractive package."