Looking for balcony railing ideas? This gallery post aims to help you generate design ideas for your outdoor balcony railing project.

People use the term “balcony” in many ways, and we hope not to misuse the term. In this context, we are referring specifically to an overlook on a home. This design element is commonly over the front entry.

For a balcony that is accessible, of course you’ll need a railing. In those cases, you’ll want to meet local building code requirements such as railing height and baluster spacing requirements. Call or email our in-house porch professionals and we can help you achieve this.

On the other hand you’ll see many balcony rails in this gallery that are not accessible at all, and therefore are completely decorative. These as are sometimes called Juliet balcony railing. We see many “before and after” pictures from customers, and the transformation is amazing. The addition of a decorative outdoor balcony railing to a front entry can change your home from unnoticeable to show-stopper.

Actual feedback we’ve had from customers: “I have people just stop in off the road to see it.”, and “We have had so many compliments from friends, neighbors, and many strangers walking by the house.”, and my personal favorite: “You have no idea how many compliments we get. Strangers that are walking or driving wave at us as they go by, as they are embarrassed that they slow down so much to look, that we look back at them, so they wave like we are long lost buddies.”

Take your time and go through these pictures to help you generate balcony railing ideas for your project. You can find a balcony railing example similar to your home to help you decide on the size and design you want. This will enhance your home’s curb appeal.

What materials should I use on my balcony railings?

As you might know, we make both wood and synthetic railing systems. Wood railing is the choice of many because of it’s beauty and authenticity. We use rot resistant Cedar, and have designed our railings to help shed water which will help them last.

That being said, all wood does eventually rot. Because of the exposed nature of balcony rails which are always in direct contact with the elements, we often see our customers lean towards our synthetic (Poly) option.

We chose polyurethane as our synthetic alternative because it so closely mimics wood in it’s look and feel. It has the clean crisp lines that makes wood railings so beautiful. And has similar density to cedar which gives it it’s authentic feel. In other words, our poly railing looks, feels, and sounds like wood when you have your hands on it.

This is why, in extremely exposed applications like outdoor balcony railings, we typically recommend going with our synthetic railing offers. Most common Poly porch railing designs used on balconies are the 5 1/2″ Poly Balustrade. And for an even more robust option, our 7 1/4″ Poly Balustrade is popular as well.

D.D. of Nicholasville, KY writes: “We completed our front porch balustrade project, and it is beautiful. Perfectly restored!  Excellent product and customer service. We got the composite rails and spindles to complete our porch restoration.

We were very impressed with the quality of the rails and spindles! It turned out beautifully.  The customer service was great too. I highly recommend American Porch!!!  I would definitely order from them again.”

This stunning home showcases our 5 1/2″ Front Porch Balustrade Railing.  If you’re looking to recreate this look for your project, consider the following products used on this home:

3 1/2″ Classic Synthetic Porch Spindles

5 1/2″ Synthetic Porch Railing

9″ Raised Panel Synthetic Porch Newel Post

7″ Synthetic Ball Top Finials

This Kentucky front porch balustrade was done in our high density polyurethane material.  This is sometimes the best choice when the balustrade is fully exposed to the weather, as is the case with the upper level on this covered porch.  It will be forever exposed directly to everything Mother Nature has to throw at it.

For more information on your porch balustrade material options, check out our Materials page.  Concerned about installing your new front porch balustrade?  We’ve got you covered.  You’ll find tons of information on our installation pages.  And if you’re still having trouble, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk it out.



While many of our porch project orders are installed by professional builders and contractors, we also have many homeowners and do-it-yourselfers installing porch railing on their own homes.  Our porch rail systems are designed to be fairly straightforward to install.  Basic carpentry skills and our installation instructions will be sufficient for a successful DIY porch remodel.  And of course if you run into trouble, just email or call and we’ll be happy to help.  Here’s one homeowners experience installing our 3 5/8″ Polyurethane Composite Porch Railing:

T.B. of Altadena, CA writes:
“Hi Adam,
It took awhile to get everything just right, but worth the effort. FYI, I have done small projects at our home, but not something of this scale. The work not only involved replacement of the porch rails, but also some structural repair. You are welcome to share the photos.
A few observations about the product and its assembly.
As a novice to this I wasn’t expecting drilling all of the holes for the spindles. In my head I had in mind that the rails would come pre-drilled but I soon realized that would not be possible due to variations in the rail length. Setting up jigs for drilling was a bit daunting, especially for the stairs. Since I had purchased the exact amount of material required, I didn’t leave much room for mistakes. I think I got lucky. Drilling the material was challenging. The straight rails went quickly, but the stairs (saved for last) were a real challenge.
Another challenge was connecting the rail brackets to the post. The mortising for the brackets did not allow for the screw heads. I had to go back and mortise a second time for that.
At the end of the day you will see money and time well spent. We are quite happy with the end result.  Thanks.”

This California home used the following products to achieve a crisp, beautiful, and detailed look: 

3 ⅝” Poly Rail 

2 ½” Poly Spindles

8” Raised Panel Newel Post

8” x 9’ Square Non-Tapered FRP Column – while we only have our round tapered designs available online, we are always happy to provide you with a custom quote for non-tapered, square, and many other column options. 

Although our polyurethane products provide the look and feel of wood without the concern of rot, some of our customers are hesitant to pursue this option due to unfamiliarity with the material and installation process.  While you are able to use normal woodworking techniques when working with polyurethane, there are a few common questions that we would like to answer pertaining to the system. 

Does Poly Rail Come Pre-Drilled? 

Each poly spindle and baluster have a PVC tenon that extends from the top and bottom. We do not pre-drill our poly rail to accept these tenons due to varying rail lengths and to ensure we provide you with more flexibility for your project. Our poly rail comes in 8’, 10’, and 12’ increments for trimming in the field. Exact rail lengths will vary for each customer and these lengths will affect spindle spacing. We also want you to be happy with the look of the spindles and give you the ability to change your mind or make adjustments in the field. For example, we have specific on center spacing that we recommend in order to provide you with 3 ⅞” between each spindle and baluster at the widest portion which abides by the 4” ball rule code required in many areas. Some of our customers do not have specific codes within their area or choose to pursue their own spacing. By not pre-drilling our poly rail, the installation process is more forgiving to mistakes, provides more flexibility, and offers no hindrance on the vision you have for your project. 

How Are Poly Spindles Installed on Stair Rail?

When installing poly spindles on the stair rail, we recommend purchasing an additional PVC pipe with slightly smaller dimensions than that of the current tenon. The new pipe can be cut and placed inside the PVC pipe of the existing spindles once they have been cut at the appropriate angle of your staircase. We recommend using PL Premium Adhesive when creating the new tenons which can then be installed into the rail. If you do not want to purchase additional material, another option is to make an angled cut around the existing PVC tenon; however, we have found this to be more time consuming as compared to cutting through the entire spindle and creating a new tenon. 

Do I Have to Paint Polyurethane? 

Yes. Our poly products come pre-primed but do need to be painted within 30 days of installation. We use a water-based primer so it is important to make sure that you use a water-based paint. While there are many factors that can adjust the life expectancy of paint, on average, we see that additional paint may need to be applied in seven to ten years. 

Whether you are a novice or have spent decades as a general contractor, we want your experience with our products to be far from daunting. Your feedback allows us to continuously expand our resources and provide insight on common questions we receive pertaining to the installation process. You can access a copy of our poly balustrade installation instructions here. We are also always a phone call away. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have, feedback you would like to provide, and of course photos of your beautiful finished project. 

Front porch railing replacement sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.  It’s all we do!  We have helped thousands of professionals and homeowners all over North America replace their porch railings with beautiful results.  Let’s take a look at one example here:

This Spokane, WA home was built around 1915 (see original photo).  The original turned balusters were 100+ years old and in need of replacement.  The owner wanted them replaced with a synthetic alternative without losing the original style and look.  Plus, the historic commission was rather particular about what they used.  We reproduced the original balusters in Polyurethane, which very closely mimics wood.  In this way, the home was brought back to its former glory without losing the authentic look and feel.

The custom reproduction balusters used in this project measure 3 1/4 x 16″.  They decided to use our standard 4 1/2″ Polyurethane Railing because it’s authentic style worked for the original look they were trying to achieve.  They also used our 12 3/4″ Smooth Poly Newel Posts and cut them down to 24″ high.

When you’re ready for your front porch railing replacement project, we’re here to help.  We’ll walk you through the steps from choosing the products, nailing down the costs, what to expect, and how to install.

The homeowner writes “Thanks for being there for us”.


Many homeowners face the difficult decision to go with beautiful and authentic wood, or the low maintenance of synthetic railings.  Our synthetic porch spindles and railings mean you can have both beauty and authenticity, and at the same time install a low maintenance balustrade.  This southern front porch project used the 3 1/2 x 26″ Classic Spindle and 5 1/2″ Synthetic Porch Railing.

M.M. of Corinth, MS writes of this porch remodel project “Everything turned out great!  The rails and spindles were perfect.  The home owner are very pleased.  Thanks so much helping me out in the ordering process.  Thanks again.”

Many southern front porch owners are concerned about wood railings that can have a shorter lifespan in areas with plenty of heat and humidity.  Our high density polyurethane products have the crisp clean lines of authentic milled wood, and also have a similar same weight and density to woods such as pine or cedar.  And yet our synthetic rail will last much longer and need less maintenance, especially in more warm and humid climates.

On covered porches such as this one in Mississippi, a wood balustrade (rails and balusters) is often protected enough from the weather to last a long time.  Sometimes this depends on which direction or directions the porch faces.  Often times one side of the house will have more exposure to the sun or rain than the other.  Or one side will be so shaded that it never really dries out, making mold rot a concern.  If any of these of concern for your southern front porch, you might consider using our polyurethane rail system.


Front stoop railings for a series of Washington, DC row houses.  It’s not every day we see our exterior wood railings painted a charcoal black color!  This makes for a very cool look – almost looks like wrought iron but on a massive scale.  It matches the row house architecture beautifully.  Note that the railings, turned balusters, and newel posts are all made of clear cedar wood.  The balltop finials on the newel post caps are made of polyurethane, which mimics wood and works better for a balltop.  These Raised Panel Newel Posts are 8″ wide, and they go very well with these 6″ Polyurethane Balltop Finials.  It makes for a very balanced, architecturally appropriate look.  As a rule-of-thumb, you’ll want to choose a balltop “a size” or so down from the newel post shaft width.

For this front stoop railings remodel, the architect and builder chose our 6″ 3-piece Porch Rail System, and the best-selling 3 1/2″ Classic Turned Porch Baluster.  This system balances well with the 8″ Raised Panel Newel Post and 6″ Polyurethane Balltop Finials.  Because of the particulars of this setup, they had us custom-make the balusters an inch longer than the standard 26″.  This is no problem, as most of our products are made-to-order.  Unlike companies like Fypon, which have outsourced production of architectural balustrades to China and elsewhere, we can quickly produce and ship exactly what you need.  And it arrives at the jobsite right when you need it.

G.M. of Statesville NC writes “Almost done with the project.  I continued be impressed by the balusters, very nice.  I primed (2 coats) and 2 finish coats all pieces (lots of painting – LOL).  Again, thanks for a great product!”

After decades of building dream homes for others, it was finally time for this New Mexico builder to go to work on their personal home.  He worked with the architect to design this project and specified hardwood porch railing from American Porch, LLC.  We used Mahogany for the railing and turned balusters on the porch and gazebo.  The result is a true work of art:

Note that he is still working on some of the railings.  We have since shipped the railing to replace the cheesy iron railing on the second story.  More pictures to come when it’s finished (I hope!).

Mahogany is an excellent choice for those wanting a hardwood porch railing. It machines to a smoother finish than a softwood, and of course is stronger, denser, and harder.  This means it will hold up to abuse better than most other materials. As you can see from this gallery it is an exceptionally beautiful wood that can be both painted and stained with great success. Most pieces are a dark reddish-brown color. And it’s highly rated for natural rot resistance, making it a good choice for exterior as well as for interior applications.

This hardwood porch railing project features our popular 3 1/2″ Victorian Porch Balusters and the 6″ class 4-piece Porch Rail System, all in exterior use Mahogany hardwood.  The turned balusters can be ordered directly from our website in clear Cedar or Mahogany.  The railing was custom curved and made in Mahogany, ordered directly from our shop.

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