wood deck railing cost per foot

Average Cost of Wood Deck Rail Installation

Average wood railing cost installed by a deck contractor or handyman is $30.00 per linear foot. DIY homeowners incur an average cost of about $14.00 per linear foot when good-quality treated lumber is used.

Wood railing cost estimates from deck professionals include the cost of materials, installation supplies such as deck screws plus labor. If you have old deck railing that needs to be removed and disposed of, there will be additional costs, and they are discussed below.

Average Do It Yourself cost

$10 – $18 / Linear Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$26 – $34 / Linear Foot

Typical Cost Average

$30 / Linear Foot

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Overview of Wood Deck Railing

Wood remains the go-to choice in decking railings for most homeowners. It is more affordable and most find it more attractively genuine than low-cost PVC and vinyl deck railing.

Wood requires ongoing maintenance and associated costs that are higher than composite deck railing and high-end options like fully-aluminum porch and deck railing. Wood decks require deck repair sooner than more durable materials, especially when maintenance is neglected.

This wood deck railing cost estimate, aka Costimate, lists cost factors and how they affect total price. Retail costs for materials are listed. We have formulated complete project costs for decks of various size and complexity. There’s room for homeowners to submit their prices, and you’re invited to bookmark Business Finance News and return to share your costs for the benefit of other readers.

Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details

Wood Deck Rail Cost Factors

The cost of wood deck railing professionally installed can be as low as $20 per linear foot when cheap pre-assembled panels are used. Decks and Rail Supply suggests a cost range of $25 to $45 per linear foot when cedar railing and posts are used along with aluminum balusters.

Home Advisor pegs average cost for wood railing at $75 per foot, a cost we think is more consistent when the railing is built with premium, high-end woods like ipe, tigerwood and mahogany.

The first factors in the list relate to the cost of materials. Later factors are installation labor factors.

  • Wood Type and Its Quality – Pressure treated pine or other softwood is the most affordable wood decking material. Cheaper grades of cedar aren’t a lot more costly. Premium cedar, redwood and exotic woods cost significantly more Deck Cost Guide lists prices at up to $45 per linear foot for exotic woods.
  • Baluster Materials – Also called infill, balusters used with wood railing include wood, aluminum and steel. Cable deck railing often include wood rails and posts.
  • Post and Baluster Height – Posts start at about 39”, rails at 36”. Other popular heights are 45” posts and 42” rails, and they cost more.
  • Gates – As with most deck materials, the cost of a wood gate costs roughly two times the cost of the rest of the railing. This is especially true if the gate is built onsite rather than pre-assembled.
  • Lights – Adding solar powered LED lights in caps and on stairs improve deck safety and ambience.
  • Caps and Rails – Large decorative caps and extra-wide top rails called drink rails raise deck railing cost.
  • Who Installs the Deck – You’ll save on labor costs – or we might say you’ll earn your savings – with DIY installation. The cost of labor depends on the size and complexity of the deck.
  • Deck Complexity – Installation is quite easy on rectangular, single-level decks without stairs. As the shape gets more complex and tiers/stairs are added, labor costs can almost double.

Cost of Repair Supplies

Whether you’re replacing or repairing existing wood railing or installing a new deck, these deck repair and construction materials price list will help you budget for the project.

$2 – $4 each | Treated softwood deck posts.

$7 – $12 per Linear Foot | Wood rail and baluster pressure treated deck railing panels.

$14 – $20 per Linear Foot | Treated wood straight railing with metal balusters or pickets.

$18 – $24 per Linear Foot | Treated wood stair railing with metal balusters or pickets.

$14 – $22 per Step | Treated lumber materials for deck stairs.

$33 – $45 per Linear Foot | Cedar straight and stair deck railing.

$8 – $18 per Linear Foot | Drink railing, aka cocktail railing.

$18 – $45 per Linear Foot | Treated pine and cedar deck gates.

$32 – $50 per Linear Foot | Deck railing built from ipe, redwood, mahogany and tigerwood.

$4 – $18 each | Deck caps depending on size. Large decorative caps cost quite a bit more than flat caps.

$35 – $100 each | Caps with solar LED lights.

$4 – $6 per Pound | Coated deck screws.

Cost of Disposal for Damaged Decking

Deck contractors and handyman services charge $2-$3 per linear foot for removing and disposing of old deck rail.

Two DIY options are to remove it and put a little at a time into your weekly trash at little or no additional cost.

If you’re removing the entire deck and/or have other cleanup projects on your list of indoor or outdoor projects, it might be cost-effective to rent a dumpster. Savvy homeowners know that cost per cubic yard goes down as dumpster size goes up. Maybe there’s a neighbor or two that have large disposal needs, and you can share the cost.

See cost details and tips in our Dumpster Rental Costimate.

Sample Wood Railing Deck Railing Project Costs

To show how cost factors affect price, let’s consider 3 decks, each 500 square feet, with professionally installed railing.

The examples will show how cost raises with size and complexity of the deck.

Rectangular 20’ x 25’, single-level Deck with 65 feet of wood railing:

  • Wood posts, rails and balusters: $1,700
  • Wood posts and rail with aluminum balusters: $1,950
  • Installed Cost Range:  $26 – $30 per linear feet

L-shaped deck, single-level deck with 100 feet of wood railing with top rails:

  • Wood posts, rails and balusters: $2,800
  • Wood posts and rail with aluminum balusters: $3,200
  • Installed Cost Range:  $28 – $32 per linear feet

Two-level Deck with Stairs & Rails between levels, 115 feet of wood railing with top rail:

  • Wood posts, rails and balusters: $3,680
  • Wood posts and rail with aluminum balusters: $3,915
  • Installed Cost Range: $32 – $34 per linear foot

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $30 – $150 | A permit including an inspection is required for any deck with a railing. Deck size and where you live determines exact cost of the deck permit.

Related Costs and Installation Time

How much will you save with DIY wood railing installation? It depends on if you chose pre-assembled panels or if the deck is being stick-built on site, which costs more.

  • $8 – $20 | Cost to Install Wood Deck Railing. Pre-assembled panel installation is about $8-$14 while stick building the railing costs up to $20. Prices are based on complexity and whether stairs are part of the deck.

A team of two experienced installers can install about 10 linear feet of stick-built rail or up to 20 linear feet of wood deck rail panels per hour.

  • 3-5 Hours | 50 Feet of Pre-assembled Panels on a Rectangular Deck
  • 4-7 Hours | 50 Feet of Panels on a Complex Deck or Stick-built Railing on a Rectangular Deck
  • 6-8 Hours | 50 Feet of Stick-built Railing on a Complex Deck

DIY or Hire a Pro?

If you’ve had success with carpentry projects, then consider installing your deck rails. In our opinion, deck railing isn’t a good project for inexperienced DIYers due to potential safety issues with improper installation and some challenges to getting it to look like a pro did it.

This 15-minute video is quite comprehensive. The deck railing installer handles most of the issues you might face with wood railing installation including sloped decking. There are plenty of DIY tips too. Evaluate your skills as you watch, and you’ll have a good sense of whether to tackle the job.

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