Question: Which deck railing would you recommend?
For low cost high quality deck railing, we have two brands that we rely on; aluminum railing from Afco Industries and vinyl railing from Fypon.
Both of these deck railing alternatives come in around the same price, and are a good fit for anyone wanting a long lasting deck railing, without moving up to a polyurethane balustrade system. When choosing between one or the other, there are a few factors to consider.
Fypon Vinyl Railing:
Fypon has been manufacturing vinyl railing for many years now and is known for its quality and sturdy construction. One consideration in buying any less expensive vinyl railings is the possibility of fading in direct sunlight, or any brittle behavior brought on by harsh winter climates.
Fypon vinyl railings have been tested over time, installed from Florida to Arizona and New York to Alaska.
Fypons sturdy vinyl deck railings come in two colors; a standard white, or a beige colored railing. Also there is the choice of square or colonial Balusters or pickets, dependent on the look that you are aiming for.
Fypon also sells vinyl porch posts and now supply a white vinyl railing with glass inserts to match.
Afco Industries is probably one of the best known suppliers of aluminum columns and decorative porch and deck railing in the United States. With the majority of components manufactured in their own U.S. plants, you know that you can count on the quality of these decorative, yet sturdy, aluminum railings.
Perhaps one of the greatest attributes in the Afco line, are the seven powder coat finishes available. Few other aluminum railing companies offer as much of an assortment of finishes, never mind the quality that comes from a powder coat application. Powder coating involves a combination of paint finish combined with a heat application that bonds the finish to the aluminum in such a way that Afco is able to offer their extensive warranty on all of their finished aluminum products.
In order to install your deck railing up a staircase, both systems have adjustable railing hardware that can be used at a variety of angles to ease in the installation process.
Afco also supplies handy brackets to mount their aluminum railings to any number of their available aluminum columns. Balusters are available in either square or round design and tend to be thinner than vinyl balusters.
Both systems offer esthetic quality and value to your outdoor stairway, deck or porch area; given the variations of color and appearance, the final decision is up to you.
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Question: Why don’t you recommend center blocks?
Good question; in fact, we don’t even recommend corner blocks for the installation of decorative crown molding.
Traditionally, an installer will typically use corner blocks, when they are not confident in cutting mitered corners for their crown moldings. In fact, if you have an installer that requests that you buy corner blocks, you might want to question what they know about installing crown molding.
There are even some web sites, that will push these blocks as a decorative addition to your crown molding purchase; the greatest addition being to the price.
Some customers in fact, prefer the look of corner blocks in the inside and outside corners, believing they enhance the look; and who are we to say otherwise. But the use of center blocks and the idea of recommending them leaves us scratching our heads.
By its very name, a “center block” needs to be in the center of a wall. So what happens when you order 8 foot mouldings for a 10 foot wall? The answer is, you end up with more waste, as you would end up needing to cut both 8 foot pieces in order to create a center seam to place the center block in the middle of the wall.
Our 8 foot mouldings match in plain designs or with the design, end to end, so there is less concern for the filling of seams. Just use a little bit of wood filler or spackle, sand and touch up with paint, and the seam is gone. Using the 8 foot example, you would run the first piece of moulding along the first 8 feet and then cut off a two foot piece to attach to that. Obviously this isn’t in the center, being the whole reason you’re not using center blocks and saving money by doing so.
Crown molding corner blocks are still very handy for anyone who wants a quick and easy job installing crown molding, but for those who are up to the challenge, there are lots of good videos on YouTube showing many different methods and tricks for installing crown moldings. Additionally, a number of our crown moldings come with precut matching corners; alleviating the need for corner blocks altogether and enhancing the overall look and value of your project upon completion.
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