Log Railing Reviews and Tips

Log Railing, Log Posts, and Log Stair Railing Articles

Log railing is an essential component to any log cabin home. When it comes to choosing your railing, make sure you are well informed.
Log stair railing is not as hard as it looks. Read more and we will show you what to look for.
Log posts can be utilized in numerous fashions for a log home. Interior posts and exterior posts can serve a variety of purposes.

When making a decision about your log railing, there are numerous factors to consider. This site will discuss everything you need to know about log railing, and how to make a good decision for your cabin or lodge railing needs.

Log Railing for Your Deck

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This post is in: Log Railing

It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes cleaning and home renovations. At the top of many lists are repairing your deck, or replacing rotting or damaged spindles. We offer our suggestions below on why cedar log railing is a great choice, even if you don’t have a log home.

Cedar Log Railing Will Not Rot

Many of today’s homes are packaged and built with the cheapest railing possible, usually pine with 2 x 2 spindles.  They look great when they are new, unfortunately their lifespan is usually 5 years or less.  Cedar on the other hand, has been used in outdoor applications for years due to its natural resistance to rot and decay.

Rot/Decay in Deck Railing

A Natural Look for ANY Decor

Cedar log railing comes in a wide variety of log styles, including both rustic and contemporary designs.  If you have a log home, you will probably prefer a gnarly or more natural look.  For contemporary homes, rails are available sanded with a true diameter (much like anything else that is in your neighborhood, but better).  The great thing about cedar is that it takes well to any stain or color option you prefer, so you can match your existing spectrum.

Cedar Log Deck Rail

Cost Effective

You will be able to find railing at a better price than cedar.  But as is so often true in life, you pay for what you get.  Make the investment with cedar log railing and you will not have to replace it again.  Pine will rot, steel will rust, but in cedar we trust.  In the long run, this is the best investment you can make.

How to Choose a Log Railing Texture

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Log railing is available in a wide variety of wood textures, each designed to compliment the decor and look you’re wanting to achieve.  We’ll cover each of the basic cedar log railing textures and discuss the benefits of each.

Sanded Smooth Log Railing Texture

For a clean and polished look, this log railing texture in more on the contemporary side.  Just as it name implies, it features logs that have been sanded smooth and splinter free.  If you’re looking for a more “tamed” rustic look, this is you choice.

High Country Log Railing Texture

Similar to the sanded smooth in that it maintains a consistent log diameter, this texture is rough and grainy.  If you’re looking for something simple and cost effective, this will be your best choice.

Hand Hewn Log Railing Texture

A common choice to capture a more natural and rustic look, hand hewn log railing features a draw-knife look and uneven log rail diameters.  This is commonly used in log cabin and lodge railing.

Rustic Log Railing Texture


There is only 1 company that offers the look featured in this picture – Rocky Top Log Furniture & Railing.  It features natural bark-on characteristics, along with a hand-sanded finish.  This log railing look is truly unique and stunning, our personal favorite.

Regardless of which log railing texture option you choose, each will offer a unique look for your log home, cabin, lodge or resort.  We strictly opted to show cedar choices here due to their natural resistance to bugs, decay and rot.  Remember, for any exterior log railing application, cedar will be the unanimous choice for longevity and investment.

Buying Log Posts

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Log posts come in a variety of sizes and textures, however locating exactly what you need can sometimes prove difficult.

Most logging camps are small operations in the middle of nowhere, and most do not even have a website.  Not to mention they usually sell by the bunk and not by the post.  The best place to start is with someone who buys log posts on a consistent basis, namely a log furniture or log railing manufacturer.

For support posts for your roof or an overhang, the minimum log post usually begins between 5″ – 8″ in diameter.  As you’ve probably seen in some magazines, some posts resemble the look of an old tree and can be upwards of 24″ or more in diameter.  Although very appealing, these can run a small fortune.

When mounting your posts, there are a series of standard cuts to consider.  Namely, outside corner posts, inside corner posts and inline posts.  For the safety of your home and the success of your project, it is highly recommended to let a log post manufacturer do the cutting on these.  With the angles and weight loads to be considered (not to mention the price), this is not something to trust to your “buddy” who’s done some woodworking.  For your investment – you’ll want it done right the first time.

As we have talked about in previous discussions, do not be fooled by lower priced species for outdoor applications.  Although pine will come across at a better price point, cedar log posts will be the best investment due to their natural resistance to rot, decay and insects.  As we say in the industry “pine will rot, and cedar will not”.

Next we will be talking about how to mount log posts, so stay tuned!

How to Measure Log Stair Railing

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This post is in: Log Stair Railing

Well, it doesn’t require much thought to know log stair railing (and in fact any stair railing) can be a little tricky.  The sections on your deck are on a straight angle, running parallel to the ground boards.  In contrast, log stair railing needs to be customized to the angle of your stair treads.  So how do we do this?

The first step is to find the correct angle of your stairs.  As the picture illustrates, you’ll need a couple of tools.  Namely, a 4′ level and circular angle finder.  Run your level across the treads of the stairs, and place the angle finder on top.  The angle finder will show you the angle of your stairs.

If the angle runs less than 37 degrees, a log stair railing manufacturer can drill exactly to your specifications.  Anything greater than a 37 degree angle will require some on-site modification, and more than likely your log stair railing will arrive as blank rails and spindles.

The next step is measuring the length of the stairs.  For stairways, measure the length of the stairs diagonally (nose of the top tread to nose of the bottom tread).  Be sure to measure both sides of the stairs and not just one.  Take your time in doing this, and double check your measurements.  When your custom log stair railing is being made, they will cut to your exact dimensions (and inches can make a difference).

The process is actually quite simple, the key is following each step meticulously.  If you run into trouble or have questions, always check with a log railing specialist before giving the green light on your dimensions.

How to Choose Log Railing

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Unless you are a log home builder or have been around the industry, purchasing log railing is going to be a new venture for you.  There will be many things you will confront and need to consider before making your decision.  Namely, what type of wood to use, what style, price, etc.

Wood selection is going to be a huge factor.  Popular choices are pine and cedar.  Pine offers a better price point up front, but is prone to rot and decay.  Pine has a natural characteristic to retain moisture, thus promoting rot.  Although you may save on your pine railing today, it’s highly likely you will be replacing it within 5 years.  Cedar railing is an ideal choice due to its natural resistance to insects and rot.  In fact, it has natural chemicals that prevent this from happening.  This factor alone makes cedar log railing the best choice for your dollar.

When considering a log railing style, you will find many options available.  Multiple rails, single rails, split rails, etc.  After finding a style you are happy with, the most important factor to consider is will it pass local building codes.  You’ll need to check with you’re local building inspector regarding your area’s requirements.  Safety for your log railing should be valued over style.  If a child can fit between the spindles on your deck that is 30 ft off of the ground, I can assure you it will never pass building code (nor should it ever be considered).

There are 2 types of people that build log railing – manufacturers and what we call “do-it-your-selfers”.  A log railing manufacturer will be your best choice for meeting codes and often times meeting quick turnaround times.  Due to the machinery and experience involved, the craftsmanship will usually be much more consistent and the chance of disaster much less likely.  “Do-it-your-selfers”, although many are very accomplished, will often lack in consistency and often require a greater length of time to complete the project.

So what constitutes consistency?  Well…how straight are the rails?  Do the tenons for the spindles insert into the rails in uniform fashion?  Are the connections between post, spindles and rails tight or loose?  Since most “do-it-your-selfers” will be utilizing hand tools for each spindle and rail, getting this precision will be nearly impossible.  A proper log railing manufacturer will have the machinery necessary for consistent and repeatable results – every time.

A final consideration will be price.  Don’t be lured into the appeal of cheaper prices without considering the factors we have mentioned above.  Although the price tag may be cheaper up front, in the long run it end up costing you more to replace your log railing if it wasn’t done right the first time.  So from our standpoint, buy from an experienced log railing manufacturer and go with a wood that will last (cedar).