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How to Build a Deck Railing

How to Build a Deck Railing

Deck railings add an aesthetic beauty to the decks while providing safety. With the right equipment and the knowledge of carpentry, building deck railings on your own is actually quite easy. Look into this step-by-step guide on how to build a deck railing.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: May 29, 2018
A deck railing for your house is not just a utility item but it also serves to enhance the outdoor space of your home, making it more beautiful and secure. Building deck railings on your own is quite simple, if you have a basic knowledge of carpentry and are equipped with the right tools for the job.
Although there are a host of deck railing designs in existence, building a standard builder deck should be a walk in the park of most of the people. For other more complex systems, you may require an architect or an engineer to work on it.
A crucial factor while building deck railings, is to design it based on your state's building codes. They usually limit openings between balusters, to no wider than 4 inches and a height of minimum 36″. Furthermore the railing must be securely fixed to the edge, rather than to the surface of the deck, as this given the best deck protection.
Thus, it is important to build an aesthetically beautiful deck railing, while keeping the construction codes in mind. So now that it has got you wondering, let us look at this step-by-step procedure and learn how you can build deck railings.
Deck Railings
A major factor while building deck railings is to design it based on your state's building codes. They usually limit openings between balusters to 4 inches and a height of minimum 36″. Also the railing must be securely fixed to the edge, than to the surface of the deck, as this gives the best deck protection.
Instructions for Building Deck Railings
Water garden design Plan for backyard
The first step involves choosing from the multiple deck railing patterns available, to find a suitable deck plan and design, that complements your deck. Choose a deck railing design and material of the deck baluster that you want to use.
Figure out the amount of railings needed to cover the deck completely and ensure that the height and width conforms to the area's building code requirements. This should be followed by planning out the location for the fence posts.
Use a four-sided figure, to mark out the position of each post, beside the joist header and the outer joists. Now cut all the parts to length by using a power miter. Clamp all the pieces together and transfer their measurements to several pieces at once, for speed and accuracy.
Make the upper deck railings by sizing up the pieces of wood into 2" x 6" sizes, with a crown curving upward. Attach the railings to the deck temporarily, with 3" small screws or ACQ finishing nails.
If you wish to install 4 x 4 posts at the bottom or the top of the steps, then the posts should be sunk at least 3 feet deep into the ground and backfilled to remain stable.
Carpenter's hands
Then, mark the position of the balusters using a framing square for accurate measurements. Place them at least 5 inches away and attach the balusters to the corners of the upper deck railing. Use deck screws for this purpose.
Hammer nails and hands close up shot
Now, permanently attach the upper deck railings by screwing the bottoms to elevate it into place. Once you are finished, make sure that the tops of the railings are leveled.
Once the upper level is aligned, clamp it to the support posts, and then attach it using wood screws. Now add the rest of the balusters in place and fasten them to the posts, by piloting a diagonal hole and using a 3" deck screw.
Finish off by crafting a top rail, making cuts on two 2" x 6"s, by using the miter saw to form two 45-degree mitered cuts. Now drill in the screws horizontally through the miter joint, to set the top rail securely in place. Now stain the railings to match your deck.
While incorporating your deck railing ideas and building a deck railing, it is important to keep some safety tips in mind. These include making sure that the steps are already built, making the deck easily accessible. Also to avoid people from absentmindedly walking off the edge of the deck, put up a temporary safety barrier of 2" × 4" of colored nylon rope.