What is the Best Wood for Porch Railing?

Western Cedar

Western Cedar is a great outdoor use wood that has been the standard throughout the US for many decades.  Usually when people say simply “cedar”, this is the wood they are referring to.  It is an ideal material from which to make Wood Porch Railing and traditional turned balusters.  It is highly resistant to decay and very beautiful, which has helped to make it the most widely used cedar in North America.  And because it grows and is milled in such a huge area of the US, it is readily available at very reasonable prices.

Grades of Western Cedar used in our Wood Porch Railing and other millwork

Our Western Cedar consists of Western Red and Incense cedar, which makes for very beautiful and very stable millwork.  We are very fortunate to have relationships with great suppliers of CLEAR wood, which means there are NO KNOTS.  You truly have to see and feel the spindles made of Western Cedar to appreciate the stunning beauty of this product.  So with a great price, exceptional beauty, unparalleled quality, rot resistance, and a pleasing aroma, Western Cedar is sure to be a “clear” winner for your porch.


is an excellent choice for those wanting a hardwood product.  It machines to a smoother finish than Cedar, and of course is stronger, denser, and harder which means it will hold up to abuse better than most other materials.  It is an exceptionally beautiful wood that can be either painted or 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.

Other woods

In order to keep the cost of production down, we stock only  Western Cedar and Mahogany.  We’ve narrowed it to these choices because we believe they are the absolute best two choices for exterior millwork.  If you have another species of wood you would like to use we would be more than happy to accommodate. We have had great success with custom turning everything from Balsa to Ebony, provided by the customer or special ordered from our distributors.

We are constantly looking for new products as markets, supplies, and demands change. Stay tuned for other wood species offerings.

Grades used

We use only CLEAR wood in our wood porch balustrade products.  This is the highest grade available and the best choice for millwork.

Related Articles:

Caring for Millwork (what do I do when my stuff shows up?!)

Pressure-Treated Wood: Should you use Cedar Instead?


M.B. of Maplewood, MO writes: “I was very impressed with the spindles that you sent. I do not know where that cedar comes from but was impressed with how strong and stable it felt. You guys may become my source for spindles if I can talk folks into using more wood products instead of so much vinyl.”

Q.M. of Richmond, VA writes: “I found out about this company from Old House Journal. Adam is extremely helpful and the product they turn out is great. Spindles replacements were made that looked better than my originals, out of a very hard wood, that will last for years. You see, I have had spindles made before and they did not last. Get them from American Porch and you won’t have to worry.
We ordered 50 and will be ordering more for another porch as the one we had made before by another local company are deteriorating. We have had these since 2010 and they are holding up to the elements of Michigan weather very well.”