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    Credit: Outwater Plastics Industries

Wood balusters are functional and inexpensive, but some clients want a more formal look for their deck railing, fence, or garden gate. Decorative wrought-iron panels, like those in Outwater’s expanded line, can add a sophisticated touch to an otherwise plain expanse.

Installation is not plug and play, however. The metal panels come unfinished and should be sandblasted or otherwise cleaned of rust, wiped down with a solvent, and topped with a rust-inhibiting primer and enamel. Incorporating the panels into other metal rail or gate parts is likely to require welding. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, Outwater also sells powder-coated balusters that can be paired with wood railings.

The decorative panels come in a number of styles, ranging in cost from about $100 to $450 each. Details are available in the company’s online catalogue.

Scott Gibson is a writer in East Waterboro, Maine.

Outwater Plastics Industries, 800/631-8375, outwater.com.

For more information about this product, go to exteriorproducts.hotims.com.