Mahogany rails and fir balusters are a durable, strong, tried and true solution in the harsh New England climate, contractor Emanuel Silva noted in a May-June article in Hanley Wood's Professional Deck Builder. But some customers prefer synthetic materials because of a different advantage: low maintenance. So for a recent porch repair and rebuild on a multifamily rental building, Silva turned to a synthetic railing system, Transform from RDI.

The reinforced resin RDI Transform system comes with complete mounting hardware, and RDI can also supply PVC post sleeves in various required lengths. But installing the system still requires a familiarity with local codes, and the skills to lay out, cut, and attach the system components correctly. Silva's photo-illustrated Pro Deck Builder story walks through the process step by step, with pro tips for achieving high-quality results. Click through for the full story (see: "Installing a Composite Rail Kit," by Emanuel Silva).