Deck Post Caps

Written by Donald Sparacin
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Deck post caps are the decorative pieces that finish the top of your posts when used to support a railing. Home centers offer 4X4 posts with a variety of finished cut tops, but they tend to split from weathering. Another drawback to the pre-cut tops is that they require you to be rather exact in your setting of the posts so that the top ends up where it should be. From practical experience, this is not an easy task!

Deck Post Caps Protect and Decorate

Deck post caps can be the finial type for a really dramatic look. Once the post is in place and cut to the proper height, you simply make four cuts across the top at a 45-degree angle. This will leave you with a 2" flat square atop of the 4X4 with a slope around it. The finial attaches to cover the flat top with a lag screw and leaves a nicely finished decorating aspect.

Finials can be simple or elaborate. The standard is aluminum or brass pineapples or other shapes that go with your design. They work great on railing posts, and are especially nice on stairway posts. They will set you back about $5 to $10 each depending on your choice of materials and style, but the appearance that they provide makes the cost justifiable.

Another type of deck post cap is a simple cap that covers the level cut post. They aren't really decorative, but they do protect the flat cut from splitting and rotting. Now, that same basic cap can be found with a beautifully carved base that attaches to the cut post and is topped with a metal cap. These dramatic looking tops are both protective and impressive, and will cost between $15 and $25 each.

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