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6 Types of Stair Treads – What to know before choosing various types.

Zigzag stairs with American red oak treads and top rail.

Know your options before selecting the perfect stair tread for your project.

Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, designing a staircase to fit your design style and lifestyle is an important consideration. Once you have decided on a type of stairs it is time to decide what type of stair tread to choose. There are plenty of tread styles and materials to choose from to complement your home’s design. Whether your home is modern, contemporary, rustic or a traditional there is a style to fit your requirements.

At Keuka Studios, we design our staircases to accommodate your preferred style stair treads.

What types of stair treads are there?

Various Types of materials are available and include – Wood, Glass, Tile, Composite, Stone, and Steel.

1. Wood Treads

With wood, it is important to consider if your project is for the interior or exterior of your home.  Many wood species do not hold up well in the outdoor weather elements so choosing an appropriate type of wood should be carefully considered.

For interior staircases, there are a variety of woods available to choose from for your project that will add different aesthetics to your decor. Some of the more popular varieties are Red Oak, White Oak, Hard Maple, Walnut and Distressed Woods.

Red Oak is readily available has a reddish-brown appearance and is considered hard and heavy with medium bending strength. It adds a sense of warmth to the decor.

Floating stair treads against stone wall. Treads are Red Oak with Steel stringer structure.

White Oak is slightly lighter in color than red oak and is a heavy hardwood with medium bending strength.  White Oak has become very popular in modern design as it tends to have a straighter more linear grain than red oak. Using white oak lightens up a room. It is not recommended for aesthetic outdoor tread applications as it turns black quickly with weather (although it does resist rot quite well). 

Keuka Studios custom stairs and railing made with white Oak Treads and glass railing.

Hard Maple is a creamy white with a slight reddish-brown tinge and is generally straight-grained it has a high resistance to abrasion and wear making it a good solid choice for stairs and landings.

Maple staircase with maple handrail.

Walnut is a tough hardwood, the sapwood is creamy white, while the heartwood is light to dark brown. The dark wood is typically the most sought after so expect to pay more as much of the sapwood will be unusable.

Distressed Wood is often just reclaimed lumber from an old barn or factory where years of heavy use have added some character to the wood. Alternately, it could be newer wood that has been mechanically stressed and finished to give that distressed look. Either way, it can add a textured, rustic appeal. This can be desirable in a high traffic area as any additional wear over time will just add to the character of the wood.

Distressed wood treads on rustic industrial staircase.

In addition, it is popular to whitewash or bleach wood to give it an antique distressed look while lightening the surface of the wood. Sometimes pigment is added prior to the finish coat allowing the natural grain to pop more.

Antiqued knotty pin was selected for the treads on this staircase to complement the wide aged pine board flooring on this Nantucket home. Pine is a softer wood that will more easily wear over-time than hardwoods.

For exterior staircases, ironwoods are recommended such as Ipe or Cumaru. Additionally, although much softer redwood and cedar are good options since they stand up better than other species to the elements. To maintain the natural beauty of these woods they require regular oiling and care, or they can be left exposed to the elements to age to a grayish appearance.

Keuka Studios can provide stair treads and landings in your wood of choice, to be finished on-site by your contractor.

2. Glass Treads

Choosing glass stair treads with a steel floating stair stringer system will create a stunning architectural element in your home. There are dozens of varieties of colors, patterns,  textures, and finishes available in glass. One important consideration is to choose a tread that has a non-slip surface. In addition, would you prefer LED lighting for the treads? The combination of glass tread combined with LED lighting can add a dramatic effect to the overall aesthetic of the staircase. At Keuka Studios we have the capability to create steel stair stringers to accommodate glass treads and hide the LED lighting wires. 

Glass Stair Treads on floating steel stringer stairs with led lighting.

3. Tile Treads

Tile stair treads can be a beautiful and durable alternative to wood. They have the advantage of not needing oiling or ongoing maintenance since they won’t decay or attract insects. Many of today’s tiles simulate the look of wood. We can design and fabricate steel stair tread pans to accommodate the selected style tile tread or pavers.

tile treads with custom stair support and stringers.

4. Composite Treads

Composite materials resist fading, scratching and mold, they don’t rot, crack or splinter. They are durable and require minimal maintenance. For this project below to accommodate composite decking on floating stairs, we designed a steel support system for the treads and the railing posts connect to the steel stringer below the steps.

Composite treads on floating cable railing staircase.
Exterior Deck Staircase with composite decking.

5. Stone Treads

Stone Steps come in a variety of materials. The most common stone tread currently trending is bluestone treads for outdoor stair applications. Bluestone treads have a grayish-blue color and are typically 2 inches thick. They add durability and beauty to any outdoor staircase with minimal maintenance required. In addition, they blend naturally with the adjacent landscape. 

6. Steel Treads

Metal stair treads are strong and offer a rustic industrial styling. Steel treads pair beautifully with open beam architecture and are often preferred on spiral staircases. With metal treads, it is important to provide some sort of slip protection. This could be in the form of a diamond plate surface, metal grating or a series of hole patterns in the treads.

Spiral staircase with steel treads.

At Keuka Studios, we custom fabricate stairs and railings to fit your style and space. We make our stair stringers to accommodate the type of treads you choose. We can provide you with wood, glass and steel treads for our staircases. All you have to do is choose your style.

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Black Stainless Steel Cable Railing and Fittings

Blackened Stainless Steel Cable Railing

Black Stainless Steel Cable Railing by Keuka Studios:

Looking for an alternative to stainless steel? Keuka Studios is proud to announce that we now fabricate black cable railing systems. We have blackened stainless cable and blackened stainless cable fittings* available to purchase today for cable railings. Black is making a comeback in 2019 and you can now purchase blackened stainless cable and blackened stainless fittings for your cable railing system to go with your all-black decorating theme. This is a hot new design trend in 2019. Our black cable railing and hardware is made of Type 316 marine grade stainless steel and black-oxide coated.

* U.S. Patent No. 10,436,23

Common Questions:

What is blackened stainless steel?

Typically, blackened stainless is achieved by a conversion coating process known as black oxide. This process forms a slightly transparent black patina on the surface of the metal. This can add color and character to the otherwise shiny cable railing fittings.

Is blackened stainless suitable for outdoors?

Yes, blackened stainless cable and fittings can be used outdoors. Like most patinas, the black layer can lighten over time when used outdoors. We do not recommend this finish in coastal areas.

Where can I buy blackened stainless steel cable fittings?

Blackened stainless steel cable fittings and cable are hard to come by. At Keuka Studios, we offer cable railing systems with the option of blackened stainless steel hardware. Take a look at our design process to learn how we can build and deliver your perfect black cable railing system.

How much do blackened stainless steel cable railings cost?

Because it takes time to oxidize the stainless steel, blackened cable railing hardware does cost more than regular stainless steel. Also, the cost of your railing system will depend on the specs of your project. To get a better idea of how much your black cable railing system will cost, you can request a customized quote.

Black Railing System Example:

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Design Trend: Blackened Stainless Steel

If you’re looking for cable railing with the durability of stainless steel but aren’t a fan of the metal’s bright luster, then blackened stainless steel may be the perfect material for your new cable railing. Here at Keuka Studios, we now offer stainless steel cables and fittings with a black patina made from Type 316 marine grade stainless steel.

With the black stainless steel, appliance trend is still gaining steam, our product carries this unique look beyond the kitchen. By incorporating black stainless steel cable railing into interior staircases or balconies, you can create a sleek, cohesive look throughout your home. If you want your space to have a minimalist, rustic, or urban-modern interior design, blackened stainless steel will give an understated look to your railing system. Plus, the blackened metal will seamlessly match dark or muted hues on your walls or within your decor.

When it comes to exterior staircases and decks, black stainless steel cable railing can heighten transparency, depending on the location. If your home or business has a naturally dark environment, for example, if your deck overlooks a wooded area, black stainless steel blends into the background and thus doesn’t distract from the view.

Interested in black stainless steel cable and fittings for your railing? Buy black cable fittings online.

Email Jason White at Jason@keuka-studios.com or call (585) 487-6148 to discuss customization. 

Black cable railing in mountain home interior.
Open-tread stairs with black cable railing

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7 Creative Curved Deck Ideas with Cable Railings

rooftop pool deck with curved cable railing

Adding curves to your deck and outdoor landscape softens the hard edges of the architecture and creates a zen-like oasis for you to relax and take in the surroundings. Whether your dream deck includes outdoor dining, hot tubs, pools or simply lounging, curved decks combined with cable railings create beautiful spaces for any gathering. Our railing designers have the creativity, talent, and attention to detail to create railing systems that seamlessly transition along curved decks, stairs, and bridges resulting in beautiful entertaining spaces.

Considering cable railings for your curved decks and need some inspiration? Take a look at our clients completed curved deck projects.

1. Curved Raised Deck

Looking down on Curved Ipe deck with cable railing system

What could be better than sitting on your deck and enjoying the view or just soaking up the sun? Our client desired a curved deck with a cable railing to allow for the best-unobstructed views of the patio and distance lake vista. A deck doesn’t have to be large to be able to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. The decking is IPE with our curved Keuka style railing and stainless steel cables.

2. Contemporary Deck Renovation

contemporary deck railing on multi-level home

This home was renovated to include a large outdoor deck area for dining and relaxing. The upper-level master bedroom deck railing harmoniously curves along with the architecture of the home, creating lounging areas to enjoy the expansive ocean views beyond. The railing style is our Ithaca with its slender posts made of anodized aluminum. We custom fabricated the shorter posts to surface mount on the upper-level wall to meet required railing heights.

3. Curved Deck Timber Style

Timber style home with curved deck and cable railing there is rain chain used for water drainage

Exposed timber columns support this partially covered outdoor curved deck creating a rustic, woodsy and peaceful place to relax. The rain chain adds to the ambiance while sitting undercover and listening to the summer rain. Our Keuka Style cable railing was chosen for this deck for its curved styling. The railing is powder-coated steel and fascia mounted to the deck. This combination of wood and steel complements the natural forest surroundings and the cables allow for the best-uninhibited views.

4. Curved Bridge

Curved deck bridge railing in our Chicago style with industrial styling

This industrial-style bridge was designed to create a curved walking space to relax and unwind while listening to the sounds of the waterfall. The railing posts are fascia or front-mounted to the structure below the decking, thus creating a streamlined appearance. Our Chicago style railing was chosen for this bridge project since it marries well with the exposed deck structure and concrete supports.

5. Curved Treehouse Raised Deck

curved raised deck in the forest with IPE decking.

It is absolutely breathtaking to sit on this deck that overlooks a beautiful lake and yet, it is raised to a level that makes you feel like you’re in a treehouse. The subtle curve of the deck with the curved cable railing post system blends well with the natural curves found in nature. The Keuka Style railing was chosen for this project with IPE wood top rail and stainless steel cable system.

6. Curved Pool Deck Railing

Curved pool deck railing oceanside

Adjoining a contemporary beach home this oceanside curved pool deck is in sync with the home’s architecture. The raised deck allows you to enjoy the view of the ocean surf while swimming, relaxing in the hot tub, or sipping a drink on the chaise lounge. For this project, the homeowners chose our Ithaca style cable railing post for its sleek slender lines that allow for maximum views of the ocean.

7. Curved Commercial Cable Railings

multi-lvedl condominium curved decks with the curved Keuka style railings.

Located in the historic seaport of Portsmouth, NH we fabricated our Keuka style cable railing for this multi-level luxury condominium with curved balconies. The railing was designed to meet commercial railing requirements at 42-inch height. By Fascia mounting to the curved decks and rooftop pool deck, it allows for more useful deck space. To maximize the views while relaxing on the condominium deck or around the pool our clients chose cable railings.

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Understanding Metal Railing Finishes

modern staircase

Keuka Studios Railing Finish Options

When choosing the finish type for your railing system, you’ll want to consider your desired style, material, and location of the railing. Each material and finish combination offered at Keuka Studios has its unique advantages to consider before making your choice. Some materials and finishes can be used in combination to achieve your desired style. For example, using stainless steel posts and powder-coated steel stringers, or choosing a stainless steel top rail with powder-coated steel or aluminum posts. To select the materials and railing finish that’s right for your project, take a look at the following examples.

1. Powder-Coated

An advantage of powder-coating your railing and stair project is the wide variety of colors and textures of powder coats that are available. This allows you to customize your project to complement or contrast with the surroundings. Powder coat finishes can be flat, matte, glossy, textured, sparkles, and wrinkles. These finishes may be applied to a variety of materials including steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. We offer 6 standard colors, however, custom colors may be chosen at a slight price increase to complement your specific project. Powder-coated steel is great for indoor or outdoor projects. However, for coastal environments, we recommend galvanized steel, conversion coated aluminum or stainless steel that is powder-coated for better corrosion resistance.

Concrete Retaining wall with the Keuka Style Curved railing and round top rail

2. Brushed Stainless Steel

If you’re looking for a modern railing with a sleek and luxurious feel, consider stainless steel with a brushed or polished finish. Keuka Studios offers three stainless steel finishes that each require a different degree of labor to achieve and thus vary in cost. One of the most common options is the #4 polish, also known as a brushed finish. (Shown on the cable railing image below).

#4 fine-brushed stainless steel indoor railing finish.

Ithaca style interior stainless steel cable railing on staircase

We also offer the #6 polish, sometimes referred to as a fine-brushed finish. (Shown on the glass railing indoor project and outdoor cable railing project below).

#6 fine-brushed stainless steel indoor railing finish.

#6 fine-brushed stainless steel outdoor railing finish project.

Sleek Brushed Stainless Steel Cable Railing by Keuka Studios

In addition, we have the #8 polish available, which is often called a mirror finish. This has a highly reflective surface. Stainless Steel looks beautiful on both indoor and outdoor applications and is a great choice for coastal environments.

3. Clear Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum is perfect for both indoor and outdoor applications. The process of Anodizing gives the metal a lustrous look and it does not chip or peel. This makes the clear anodized a nice alternative to stainless steel since it has a silvery metallic, brushed appearance at a lower cost than stainless steel. Anodized aluminum is a nice choice for coastal environments and indoor or outdoor locations.

sunken pool and cable wire fence

4. Hot-Dipped Galvanized Steel

Keuka Studios offers hot-dipped galvanized steel that can stand alone or be powder-coated to achieve a specific color. Galvanizing steel provides it with additional corrosion protection. Galvanized steel has an industrial look that is on-trend with today’s industrial and rustic design styles. Many times the objective of a railing project will be to match the exposed galvanized steel beams in a space with open ceilings or the exposed steel structure under a deck.

Now that you have had a chance to review the many railing finish options we offer, our experts can further assist you with any additional questions you have to custom make the railing project you desire.

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Cable Railing Systems for Decks

Deck with surface mount railing

Whether you’re building a new deck or remodeling an existing one Keuka Studios offers a variety of cable railings systems for decks. There are six standard post styles to choose from and many accessories and materials available to suit your home and your style.

What is included with a cable railing system for decks?

When you’re deciding to purchase a cable railing system for your deck it is important to understand what is included with our system:

-Design and rendering service. Unless your project is a simple, level rectangular deck, your probably going to need some custom designed posts. During this process, we work this all out and can provide renderings showing optional styles and colors to help you visualize the finished project. We are particularly good at making your project look cohesive and elegant. Just look at our Deck Railing Gallery and I am sure you will agree.

-The individual railing posts. There are different posts available for end posts, intermediate posts and stair posts. All are available in either a surface or fascia mount.

– All the cables with fittings required to complete the project. These can be for 1/8th-inch or 3/16th-inch cable. 3/16th-inch cable is more common on commercial ailing systems.

-All mounting hardware for installation. 18-8 stainless steel is standard, 316 stainless is optional (for coastal applications).

-The top rail (optional). Available in wood, steel or aluminum.

-Keuka cable railing fittings including a fitting installation kit.

What accessories are available for my cable railing?

We offer a variety of additional accessories for cable railing systems that include: posts and rails, custom-designed to accommodate LED lighting. Escutcheon Plates to hide mounting hardware, and nut caps to hide hex lag screws.

What styles of posts are available to choose from?

We offer 6 standard cable railing designs. The Keuka, Ithaca, Chicago, Tokyo, Kauai, and Prairie. Each style offers a different look and feel to complement your home’s style. We can also make a custom design where your imagination is the only limitation. Each post style can be purchased in a range of materials with associated costs relative to the material chosen. Available materials include Steel, Aluminum and Stainless Steel. Available finishes are:

cable railing designs.

Our signature Keuka railing post style has a curved profile and can be made to be fascia mounted or surface mount. This railing style beautifully complements architecture with curved roofs, decks or balconies.

Keuka railing post

The Ithaca style cable railing has sleek thin posts to be the least obstructive to the view beyond. This railing can be surface mount or fascia mounted. The Ithaca style railing looks sleek and streamlined on modern homes and blends simply into almost any architectural style.

Industrial style mountain home with cable railing

Unique to Keuka Studios the Chicago style cable railing boasts an industrial edge. Our clients have installed this railing on modern and industrial architecture with exposed beams to add a sleek contemporary look.

 Chicago style cable railing

The Tokyo Style cable railing has sharp lines and sleek profile. The corner posts have a unique style with thin square bars that add an Asian influence.

Tokyo Style cable r

The Kauai Style has slender intermediate posts with double-bar end posts connected with round stainless steel standoffs between the corner posts. This style works well with modern and contemporary architecture and allows for vista views.

Kauai Style

The prairie posts are reminiscent of an I-beam with a unique motif design on each of the posts. This style complements an industrial look as well as prairie-style architecture including homes with low roof lines.

What type of top rail are available to choose from? Top rails are available in a variety of styles, shapes, and materials including wood, aluminum and steel. There are several factors to consider when choosing top rails. Depending on the railing style of choice some top rails will work better than others. Each top rail will have an associated cost depending on size, material and finish of choice.

Let us help you customize a cable railing system of your choice for your deck to suit your home’s style. Wondering how to install a cable railing on your deck? We have an easy step by step guide. Call us for a quote 585-487-6148


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LED Lighted Railings and Stairs

LED light cable railing system

Creative, Custom Solutions

Indoors and outdoors alike, LED lighted railings adds to both the functionality and ambiance of a given space. Whether you’re hoping to set a romantic mood for your restaurant patio or are looking to light up your interior staircase for nighttime visibility, architectural LED lighting is a stylish solution.

At Keuka Studios, we understand that every project is different and requires some creative engineering. When it comes to lighting, concealing wires and accessing power sources may present a challenge. However, our designers are committed to coming up with innovative solutions for the unique demands of your project.

Cable Railing LED Lighting

Cable railing systems designed and crafted by Keuka Studios bring a modern, sophisticated look to decks, balconies, terraces, and stairs. Many of our clients, both home and business owners, request LED lighting for their railings so they can make the most of their outdoor spaces. At Keuka Studios, our engineers can incorporate the LED lighting system of your choice into a custom cable railing system. (For example, we worked with a commercial customer who chose the LEDPOD 40 by KLIK Systems.) Most commonly, our clients request under-rail lighting to illuminate the whole perimeter of the space. With this design, light faces down from beneath the top rail and it reflects off the stainless steel cable infill below, illuminating them as well.

How our designers accommodate the lights, wires, and access to a power source will depend on the style and materials you chose for your railing posts and top rail. For example, if you select a wood top rail, we can design a groove in the underside of the railing that accepts rope-style LED lights. For metal top rails, we can adhere a plate in place of the grove that accepts the string of lights.

Alternatively, if you want spotlight-style LED lights, we can use aluminum tubing and run the wires through the top rail. Using this method, we can craft a rail with custom cutouts for spotlight-style LED lights. Once you have selected your lighting system we can custom design our railings to work with the system of choice.

While our engineers create inventive ways to incorporate LED lights into our unique cable railing systems, every project requires custom accommodations. If you’re interested in railing with LED lighting, we recommend you call our project developer Jason White to discuss your ideas.

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For this terraced patio bar at the Sequoia restaurant in Washington, D.C. we incorporated LEDpod night lighting into the underside of the round handrail. All of the wires are concealed within the posts and the handrails. The LEDpod lighting has the effect of lighting the walkways while adding ambiance to the dining experience.

Led Lighted railing

Staircase LED Lighting

LED lighting has also become popular with our custom stair customers. To achieve a modern look and to light the way, clients often request built-in lights for stair treads or risers. Like with cable railing, how we incorporate the lights will depend on the style and materials of your staircase. For ideas, take a look at a couple of our staircases with LED lighting systems:

This exterior spiral staircase features LED lights on each riser and connects to a deck railing system with under-rail lights. As shown in the accompanying drawings, the circuit runs up the center column of the spiral staircases and wires run beneath each tread to connect the LED lights embedded in the risers. Each light has a custom machined metal diffuser that guides the light downward to prevent glare while ascending the steps. 

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Keuka Studios designed this zigzag staircase and cable railing system for a client in Greenwich, Connecticut. To brighten the walkway and to match the customer’s unique hanging light fixture, we added LED light strips to the underside of each stair tread. A brushed stainless steel riser was used to add a bit of dazzle to the project.

modern staircase

We custom created this lighted glass tread, steel stringer stairs and a cable railing system for the interior of a clients home in Knoxville, Tennessee. The lighting system for the glass treads is fed up through the wall and into the end of each treads. This creates a warm glow that transitions across the glass tread.

With LED lighting, the options are unlimited. You can opt for classic white lights or colored lights. You can even purchase diming or pulsing lights. Whatever your style, Keuka Studios can help you create your perfect illuminated space. Interested in LED lighting for your stairs or cable railing? Contact us to discuss your ideas.


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9 Cable Railing Interior Design Ideas

living room entry with stair and balcony cable railing

Cable railings sleek, streamlined appearance and minimalist construction is very versatile when it comes to interior design. Over the years, Keuka Studios has worked with hundreds of clients, each with their own taste and style. We’re always delighted to see the “after” photos we receive from our customers showing us their new cable railing system and how it fits in with the overall aesthetic of their home. We’ve seen our cable railing seamlessly integrated with a wide range of interior design styles, for example, industrial, farmhouse, and traditional.

Considering cable railing for your home interior and need some design inspiration? Take a look at the numerous styles we’ve seen our clients bring to life in their homes:

1. Industrial

Second story curved Ithaca style cable railing with view out expansive windows

Keuka Studios crafted a railing system for this penthouse loft that overlooks the heart of downtown Denver. With exposed pipes, timber beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out at an urban scene, the apartment naturally has an industrial aesthetic. When the architect renovated the building, constructed in 1882, he wanted to update the space but stay true to its original industrious design and function. In order to achieve this, he opted for a cable railing system with “Raven Black” powder-coated steel posts and a wood top rail for the loft balcony and staircase. The cable railing not only matches the architecture and interior design of the apartment, it also preserves the incredible view.

2. Coastal

Keuka studios interior and exterior railings

Coastal interior design embraces natural materials, fabrics, and colors. Above all, coastal design maximizes the feeling of relaxation. For example, this beach house on the North Shore of Massachusetts incorporates natural light, stone architecture, wood furniture, and ocean hues. Keuka Studios designed an interior cable railing system to match the natural, open feel of the waterfront home. The Ithaca Style railing features “Oil-Rubbed Bronze” powder-coated solid aluminum posts and a maple top rail.

3. Modern

Minimalist interior design with cable railing stairs

This state-of-the-art residence includes all the essential features of a modern, monochromatic home. As seen in the photo above, the home has a sleek appearance and minimalist feel. All throughout the house, the interior designer incorporated metals, glass, and clean lines. For the foyer, Keuka Studios fabricated a custom zigzag floating staircase with cable railing. The railing features stainless steel posts and a white oak top rail, giving the stairwell a cool, chromatic look. To add another modern touch to the staircase, we integrated an LED lighting system into the stair treads.

4. Modern Farmhouse

Double stringer steel staircase leading from the kitchen to the second story.

This chic kitchen features exposed Douglas fir beams with wood flooring and island cabinets to match. To complete the room’s modern farmhouse look, the homeowner chose simple white walls and cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and black quartz countertops. The kitchen sits adjacent to a floating staircase with cable railing designed and fabricated by Keuka Studios. The homeowners wanted the stairs and railing to perfectly match the kitchen’s style and the existing architecture. To achieve this, we designed the cable railing system with “Raven Black” powder-coated steel posts and a maple wood top rail. The staircase features steel stringers and maple treads.

5. Tropical Modern

Keuka Studios Cable Deck Railing overlooking expansive ocean view

Located on the island of Maui, this luxurious home was designed by the world-renowned architecture firm, Olson Kundig. In order to embrace the home’s incredible natural surroundings, the architect designed transitional spaces that blur the lines between the home’s interior and outdoor living spaces. The living room pictured above embodies this design and seamlessly transitions into a cable railing deck with a view of the ocean. Our Kauai Style cable railing with black powder-coated posts and a wood top rail melds perfectly with the living room decor that extends out onto the deck. The space features all the hallmarks of tropical modern design including geometric wood furniture, natural fabrics, and rich textures.

6. Contemporary

Cable railing interior design

Keuka Studios designed and fabricated a complete cable railing system for this Long Island residence, including a railing for the interior balcony. The second-story balcony overlooks the great room which features high ceilings and large windows that face Great Pond. To match the openness of the space and the streamlined design of cable railing, the homeowners opted for a contemporary interior design scheme. They achieved this look by embracing the natural lighting, choosing neutral colors, and utilizing textured fabrics. Furthermore, the homeowners chose furniture with metal accents that complement the “Sparkle Silver” powder-coated steel posts on the balcony railing.

7. Rustic

Ithaca style staircase and railing in open activity barn.

Complete with a half-sized basketball court, this open-concept “party barn” is the ultimate entertainment space. The barn has a luxurious feel and many state-of-the-art features. Nevertheless, the barn maintains a rustic aesthetic. Architect James Dixon achieved this look by incorporating a reclaimed barn board ceiling and exposed timbers. In order to match this worn appearance, we designed a cable railing system with a white oak wood top rail. In addition, we designed and built floating custom staircases with white oak treads.

8. Minimalist

Minimalist interior design with cable railing

When it comes to minimalist interior design, less is more. The owner of this California home wanted to create a modern, sparsely decorated space that embodies simplicity. In order to achieve this look, they opted for a few statement pieces of art and furniture and left the remaining space open. The kitchen/dining room features white walls and light wood flooring, creating a crisp, airy atmosphere. For the interior staircase, Keuka Studios designed a minimalist Ithaca Style cable railing system with slender end and intermediate posts. The homeowner chose polished stainless steel for the railing to match the sharp, clean look of the room.

9. Traditional

Cherry Staircase Cable Railing in the Chicago Style with Custom Newel post

Traditional style has endured the test of time and remains a popular interior design scheme. For example, our clients in Wisconsin created their dream kitchen that embodies sophistication and comfort. The staircase, flooring, and cabinets all have a gorgeous cherry hue that brings warmth to the kitchen and second-story balcony. When the homeowners contacted us about designing a railing for the balcony and stairs, they asked if we could craft a cable railing system with an elegant feel. In order to match the room’s traditional decor, we designed a railing with our intricate Chicago Style posts powder-coated bronze, stainless steel cable infill, and a wood top rail. Additionally, for even greater grandeur, we included a custom newel post at the bottom of the railing.

Every Keuka Studios design project is custom built for your space. To learn more about how each cable railing project moves from vision to reality, take a look at our custom railing design process. We take pride in building craftsman-quality and commercial-grade cable railings for interior and exterior applications.

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Rooftop Deck Cable Railing

Contemporary Martha's Vineyard summer home with complete cable railing system

Whether you live oceanside, in a bustling city, deep in the woods, or at the peak of a mountain, the best way to achieve a 360-degree view from your home is with a rooftop cable railing deck. Cable railing is nearly transparent and has a modern aesthetic. If you have a flat rooftop, you can utilize cable railing and turn your roof into the ultimate outdoor living space. A rooftop deck makes a great addition to your home or business.

Why Cable Railing?

What’s the point of a rooftop deck if the required railing blocks the view? Cable railing solves this dilemma. At Keuka Studios, we design railings with 1/8-inch or 3/16-inch diameter stainless steel cable infill that blend right in with their surroundings and are easy for the eye to ignore. When it comes to railing post design, our Ithaca Style railings, in particular, pose minimal interference to your panoramic views.

Another option is our Keuka Style post with its curved form that adds an artistic feel as it beautifully wraps a curved or rectangular roof top. Our railing posts paired with a flat top rail allow for an unimpeded view of your surrounding cityscape, landscape, or waterfront.

Need Ideas for Your Rooftop Deck?

Now that you’ve decided on cable railing for your rooftop deck, you might need a little inspiration for how to make the most of your new space. Rooftop decks are perfect for lounge areas, dining areas, outdoor kitchen, bars, gardens, and even pools.

1. Martha’s Vineyard, MA – Modern Rooftop Lounge

View of ocean from Martha's Vineyard rooftop deck
Deck railing over a garage.
Apartment Complex Recreational Rooftop

4. Sea Bright, NJ – Oceanfront Rooftop Deck

New jersey Cable Railing and Stairs

Interested?

At Keuka Studios, we take pride in building craftsman-quality residential and commercial-grade cable railing systems. Every Keuka Studios custom railing is built specifically for your space. As a result, our products fit perfectly with your home or business’ existing architecture, both in terms of structure and style. To learn more about how each project moves from vision to reality, take a look at our custom railing design process.

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5 factors to consider when selecting a top rail for your deck railing

Keuka style corner post with IPE wood top rail.

When choosing the right top rail for your railing project, there are many factors you should consider, including:

  • Style
  • Shape
  • Material,
  • Color/Finish
  • Lighting

What is a railing top rail?

A top rail is a horizontal member across the top of the railing system that is typically affixed to the vertical posts and acts as a cap to the railing. The top rail is different than the handrail (which is meant to be graspable)

What style top rail do you want for your deck railing?

When you’re thinking about the style of your top railing consider the style of your home and your personal taste. Do you prefer the simplicity of a square or rectangular top rail for a modern touch?  Or a rounded profile that is smooth to the touch and rounds out the hard edges of the deck design? 

Take a look at these projects for ideas on how this can work with various home styles.
Log Style, Modern Craftsman, Contemporary, Modern, Tropical, Colonial

What to consider when deciding on the shape?

The variety of the shapes of the top rail are reliant on the type of material to be used. Wood has the most flexibility of shape as we can custom mill it to nearly any shape and size. There are however limitations on how small the cross-section can be in order to maintain the structural integrity.

Metal rails are available in a somewhat lesser variety of shapes due to the relative difficulty in machining shapes into them. Typically metal top rails are made from tubing, extrusions, flat bars, and pipe.

Another consideration is whether you want the shape to act as a shelf allowing for guests to set their drinks on it?  Or maybe you would prefer the top rail to be rounded to discourage items from being placed on the railing?  
Is the view the most important aspect to you, then maybe a thinner top rail is the best choice to be the least obstructive to your view.  

Some examples of wood and metal rail profiles shown below:

What type of top rail materials are there?

When choosing a top rail for exterior applications there are many wood and metal options. Wood is the easiest material to install since it’s the easiest to cut drill and miter. Since the top rail is the only section of the railing you will consistently put your hands on, wood is typically softer to the touch than metal. Wood will not fluctuate in temperature as much as metal. Metal rails can get very cold in the winter and hot in the summer. If choosing wood we typically recommend IPE (Brazilian walnut) for your outdoor application. IPE (pronounced ee-pay) is a very strong wood that is considered to be part of the “ironwood” family. IPE requires some maintenance and should be oiled once or twice a year. 

A metal rail is, of course, the lowest maintenance selection.  There are solid or tube metal options available in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. We provide a splice plate system that easily attaches to the railing posts for finish fitting on location.

What color or finish should I choose for the top rail?

For metal railings, there are a variety of finishes available. All metal rails can be powder coated in a wide variety of colors. If you find choosing a color daunting see these links for help.
5 considerations for choosing color
6 Popular cable railing color options

Steel railings have the option of being galvanized before painting or if you prefer the look of galvanized metal this could be the option for you. Stainless steel rails add glitz and shine to your railing system without paint, and has the added benefit of standing up well in a coastal environment. And yes, stainless steel can also be painted. Aluminum is a great choice and can be anodized to have a more natural look, or can be powder coated also.

The first image below shows an aluminum top rail powder coated to match the railing post.
The second image below shows our curved Keuka style railing post powder coated black with an aluminum rail powder coated sparkle silver.

Do you want LED lighting built into your top rail? 

If you think concealed LED lighting is the way to go, we recommend a tube (round or square, or rectangle) type top rail that can easily hide the electric wires within it. Hiding the wires in the post as they run back to the LED drivers can be a bit more challenging, however, we have options to accomplish this.
See more pictures of the Sequoia project with concealed lighting here.
image

Whichever top rail material and style you choose for your railing applications, please make sure it works with the type of railing you have chosen. If you have a cable railing system there are force factors involved that most railings do not have. Therefore, it is imperative that the top rail be very sturdy since it’s a key component of the entire railing system.

If you still need help, our team of experts can advise you on the available options, to reach your desired result.

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