All raised decks should be equipped with sturdy railings which run around all edges of the deck. These railings are designed primarily for safety, but do not have to be an eyesore. Whether building them yourself or hiring a company, a deck railing can be designed to perfectly match your deck’s color and design. Learn the basics on the construction of deck railings below.
Step 1: Set the Support Posts
The vertical support posts of a deck railing serve as the “backbone” of the railing, holding everything in place. It is recommended that these posts be square in profile and have a height between 3 and 4 feet for maximum safety. There should be one post at every corner, with an occasional post in between. Cut each one to the proper height and secure them to the deck face using galvanized hardware.
Step 2: Preparing the Railing Beams
There are two horizontal railing beams for any deck- one at the bottom and one at the top. These beams have balusters in between which are oriented vertically at equal intervals. If using cylindrical balusters, preparing the railings is easy. Simply drill holes for the baluster ends at equal intervals along one edge of each railing. Ideally, your railing beams will consist of one solid piece of wood which runs along each side of the deck.
Step 3: Install the Bottom Railing
The freshly prepared bottom railing can be perfectly installed to the posts by placing wood spacers at the bottom of the posts. Set your bottom railing beam on top of the spacers and simply nail it down to the posts, removing the spacers when done. Make sure that the baluster holes are oriented upward.
Step 4: Balusters
Take your pre-cut tubular balusters and insert one into each of the holes in the bottom railing. Then, line up the top railing with the respective holes on the bottom, sliding the balusters in firmly. You can place a piece of scrap wood on top of the railing and hammer the balusters down (recommended). Once everything is aligned and straight, attach the top railing to the posts using screws.
Step 5: Top Rail
The decorative top rail is created by cutting wood beams at 45 degree angles and screwing them down to the support posts. The beams will come together at the corners to form a sleek and elegant deck railing. All deck railing designs go through this basic process.