Deck Railing Installation

Written by Donald Sparacin
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Depending on your design, deck railing installation can be simple or complicated. The most basic technique is to simply nail or screw the railings to the outside of the posts. Then you would attach the balusters to the rails and you're done. As said, it's simple, yet it also looks simple and unimaginative. For more dramatic techniques read on.

Other Methods of Deck Railing Installation

One method of deck railing installation that takes the simple approach up a notch is to set the railings into the 4X4 posts. Set your circular saw blade depth to the thickness of the railing, usually an inch and a half. Mark the width of the railings on the posts and make several passes with the saw. This will allow you to notch out the post with a chisel to set the railing into the post flush. The result will be a stronger rail and a more finished appearance.

Thanks to manufacturers that are always seeking new and better products to market to the do-it-yourselfer, deck railing installation can now be as easy as installing the joists. Railing connectors attach to the inside of the posts in much the same way as joist connectors do, but are far more attractive. Then all you need to do is drop the railings into the slots and attach them with a couple of screws or nails. Ah, the wonders of modern technology!

Remember to finish the tops of your posts if they are left exposed. While some deck railing installation techniques will have you covering the post tops with the railing itself, others need for you to deal with the exposed cut. If you leave the cut post top as it is, water will seep into the grain and split the post. Cut diagonals across the post and attach a metal cap or finial to protect the wood and add a more finished appearance.

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