There is nothing better than a deck with an unimpeded view of the scenery, and there is nothing better than a glass deck railing for clarity of view. When you have a view to show off, the best way to build or upgrade your deck railings is with glass. There are just so many things that a glass railing system can offer that other kinds of railings such as a cable system cannot.

Cable rails allow the wind to pass through, and the rails are visible with horizontal components that can assist climbing up; whereas with a glass railing system like Invisirail coupled with Invisipost, you get unobstructed view, safety and aesthetics.

Both cable railing and glass railing systems have advantages and common attributes. They both work well with modern home design and architecture as well as traditional architecture (but should of course be integrated with thoughtful design). Both railing systems are view-friendly, as both use infill—the material between deck posts spaces—that are transparent or near-transparent.

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But as these railing systems are structured differently, there’s bound to be differences that will affect your decision. Let’s take a closer look at these differences.

Cable Railing Systems

View—the view is preserved as your eyesight focuses beyond the cable rails toward the view, the cables trick the eye and disappear.

Maintenance—because the fittings and cables are made out of marine grade 316L stainless steel, they are practically maintenance free and are sturdy enough to last a lifetime. Compared to other railing types such as wood that requires regular and extensive maintenance, cable railing systems is low-maintenance that when you add up the maintenance cost savings over the years, the total cost of ownership is dramatically lowered.

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Not very safe—one of the most important factor to consider when choosing a cable rail system is the local building authority regulations, as some jurisdictions do not allow horizontal cable railings because of the high potential for people—especially children—to climb over them.

Other Pros/Cons: Depending on the materials used for the frame (aluminum, steel, stainless steel) cable railings are less expensive than glass railings. Air is also allowed to move freely through the system, which can be a disadvantage or an advantage depending on your location. For seafront decks, cable railing systems may be less desirable. In terms of installation, cable rails are easier to install than glass rails.

Glass Deck Railing Systems

The View—provides maximum view; the glass rails can be made practically invisible especially when coupled with Invisiposts.  Glass railings such as Invisirail adds an ultramodern touch to your deck design, and the glass allows you to just sit back in your lounge with your favorite drink, while enjoying the spectacular views of your surroundings.

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Maintenance—glass—especially tempered glass—can last a lifetime with proper care. Remember that having a glass railing system for your deck is a lot like having a lot of windows in your house, so if you dislike washing windows, this might not be the best choice for you. Other than regular washing with a squeegee and soap, you’re good to go.

Safety—the corners and spaces are practically minimized, so it would be harder for children and animals to get stuck between the rail panels. Because it’s glass, there’s no room for climbing or slipping in between, so small arms and legs are safe.

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Other Pros/Cons—glass is so much better at blocking the wind if that is a function you are looking for. While glass can be reflective and create glare, it can be customized, so if you need a little bit more privacy in specific areas of your deck, you can have the glass panels etched with patterns, or have them frosted. You should also be prepared to spend more on glass railing systems because the materials used can be costly.

Final Thoughts

Both glass and cable railing systems offer a wide variety of benefits. If you ultimately decide to gain the best of both worlds, you can combine both railing types in your deck. You can opt for a semi-transparent patterned glass on the sides to provide more privacy from adjacent neighbors, then you can go on and transition to cable railing across the front to take advantage of its low maintenance attributes.  It is important to talk to your builder or designer and lay out your preferences to achieve the design that you want for the deck of your dreams.