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QuestionTool Guy, have you heard of a wrought iron substitute for railing, decks, etc., that has the same qualities as wrought iron (decorative, strength) but fewer maintenance problems? Let me know if you know of such a product and where to get it.

AnswerI have searched high and low for a wrought iron substitute for deck railings and I came up empty-handed with the exception of the two companies listed below—they might have something that may work for you.

Architectural Products by Outwater (www.outwater.com), which I have worked with in the past on other how-to projects and articles, carry wrought and cast iron railing, gate, and grille components as well as powder-coated wrought iron elements for use with wood railing.

This company offers aluminum balusters that are worth investigating. Deckorators (www.deckorators.com) offers the look and charm of wrought iron at a fraction of the cost in three unique styles: Classic, Architectural, and Colonial in up to seven colors. The balusters can be used with either wood or composite railing systems. I personally like the Architectural Series. Its design is from a study of the Baroque period during the 1600s and the product carries a 20-year finish warranty. Also, the balusters come pre-drilled with four holes, two on the top and two at the bottom for easy installation. What makes this baluster different from others is that it fastens to the face of the top and bottom rails. This feature allows you to build the entire railing framework first and then attach the balusters. The company also offers other components and accessories to dress up your railing's appearance.

The companies listed above can surely help you create whatever statement you wish to achieve in a fence or railing design. Check out their websites, and don't be afraid to contact them directly and ask for a sample.

Copyright © 2004, 2006, & 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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