Long-time Pittsburgh-area deck builder and Invis-A-Rail founder Bob Viviano says that he developed his patented infill railing system as a less-expensive, less-complicated alternative to cable railing systems. The design consists of two major components: a pair of anodized aluminum support channels that come in either 6-foot or 8-foot lengths, and vertical 304-grade stainless steel rods with hooked ends that fit into slots spaced 3 inches on-center in the support channels. The vertical rods are inserted into the slots in the channels (which are cut to fit), and then the channels are screwed to structural upper and lower rails (supplied by the builder) to create each rail section.

Viviano says that he designed the system so that the same components can be used for both level railings and for stair rails at angles up to 40 degrees. The support channels can also be bent to accommodate curved railings.

A 10-pack of 30-inch balusters costs $59.99, while a 6-foot support channel kit (which consists of two channels, rubber dampers, and 24 screws) costs $49.99; the parts are available online from the manufacturer, as well as at select lumberyards. Invis-a-rail.com.