Deck Railing

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  #1  
Old 08-18-05, 01:39 PM
LilReasDAd
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Deck Railing

I want to replace the railing on my deck, because it was put in pretty bad and is unstable. Problem is I don't really know how to build a railing. I know there are premade ones but the options are few and the design not what I want. What is the proper way to make a railing?
 
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Old 08-19-05, 05:25 PM
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The cedar for my deck was purchased at a local wood supplier and the happen to have a few railing designs. I picked one I liked, then I asked the salesman to supply all the material needed.

It turned out really nice.

Look for pictures and samples and bring it to your local wood supplier...they will set you up.
 
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Old 08-25-05, 10:57 AM
HomeImproveSue
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Deck Railings

Hello LilReasDAd,

I am glad that you want to make your own deck railings and even happier that you want to replace unstable deck railings.

The time it takes to make your own posts and balusters depends on the style and design you are after, victorian or twisted balusters are time consuming whereas clean lines of bevelled or square ballusters and posts can be very effective.

The most important thing to remember is that posts have to be attached to the strong sub structure of your deck, i.e. the end beam and NOT to the decking surface itself.

Another important point is that balusters should not be places so wide apart that a childs head can pass through and get stuck. Codes change from state to state but usually ballusters need to be placed less than 5" - 6" apart.

The very first thing that you should do is visit your local building office, they are not just full of rules but are a gold mine of information that will save you energy, time and money by getting your project right the first time.

Let us know if you need any more help - it would be great to hear what you decided to do in the end LilReasDAd, good luck with the new deck railings.

HomeImproveSue
 
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Old 08-26-05, 05:56 AM
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Not sure where you live HomeImproveSue as your profile gives multiple locations, but in North America, the codes state that a space must not be greater than 4" between balusters and no more than 3" to the bottom of the deck.

Becareful when giving incorrect and dangerous advice.
 
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Old 08-26-05, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by em69
Not sure where you live HomeImproveSue as your profile gives multiple locations, but in North America, the codes state that a space must not be greater than 4" between balusters and no more than 3" to the bottom of the deck.

Becareful when giving incorrect and dangerous advice.
I noticed that right off as well, since like you say its 4" max. But in her defense, she did say that he should check with his local building office, which is very good advice. Our local building inspector has been very helpful not just in dealing with local codes but also in providing information and giving advice on the deck I am building.
 
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Old 08-29-05, 11:44 AM
HomeImproveSue
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Thank you em69 for your advice to me, ouch!... I logged on today to see in LilReasDAd had managed to get any further with his deck railings and I am sure that the sender of the original message will appreciate your positive input to help him with his question.

As I said, codes change from state to state, perhaps better put from country to country and I gave a "usually less than" amount followed by the following:

"The very first thing that you should do is visit your local building office, they are not just full of rules but are also a gold mine of information that will save you energy, time and money by getting your project right the first time"

I am sure that LilReasDAd would like to hear more from you em69, if you would like to look back to the original question and share your knowledge.

jcs, you are dead right about all local building offices on both sides of the Atlantic, I would always advise anyone doing any type of home improvement, to check up on local codes and ordinances and get help and advice first before starting a project.

Forums are and will remain to be a great place for advice and positive encouragement for people contemplating home improvements.
 
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Old 08-29-05, 12:02 PM
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Deck Railing

Regarding the baluster spacing -

When you check with the local codes, keep in mind they are minimal standards and not what has to be done. You can do it better.

If you space at 5" O.C. since the code says that is permitted, you can still have problems.

Example - You go to sell the house and the buyer has a home inspection. A good inspector will probably note that the bausters are are 5" O.C. and the housing industry has found that 4" O.C. (100 mm in Marbella, Spain) is a recommended spacing. Despite the fact that you technicaly conform with a local standard, the buyer has the right to opt out on the deal or work out an arrangement ($$$'s at the wrong time). This is usually listed as a safety item.

Vitrually every home inspection course mentions 4" as the preferred spacing. Because this is the current common standard, it appears in many of the certification tests, despite what a local standard may be.

If you installing a new railing it may be wise to follow the 4" rule. Your local code could be brought into agreement with other codes before you go to sell.

A point to remember about codes - "You are not wrong by following the code, but you may not be right" - A code is a minimum standard.

Dick
 
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Old 08-30-05, 05:12 AM
HomeImproveSue
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There's more to building railings than the width of balusters!

Dicks message conveys an important point that even safety measurements provided by codes can be improved on, not only for safety but to help ensure that your home improvement project becomes an asset to your home should you decide one day to sell.

I was perhaps too subtle in my original response, - I did not give any exact measurements, because I believe that anyone's local building office is certainly the best place to start.

Yes, "less than 5" is "4" - bingo! but there is so much more to building deck railings than the very important space between balusters and while I wanted to encourage the original questioner to get the work done - I simply wanted to include an example of the fact that there are necessary rules for the dimensions of deck railings and that anyone contemplating building their own railings should start at their local building office.

I didn't want to give exact measurements then and I still don't want to now, but I will try to make it clearer to anyone without experience that there are also other rules for deck railings, including for example:

- Decks of a certain height are obliged to have railings (although many low profile decks also have railings for esthetic and extra safety reasons)
- There are rules for the height of the railings
- Very importantly how the railing posts are attached to the under structure and NOT to the deck surface.
- The size of the posts - depending on the height and load of the deck
etc...

I don't want to put LilReasDAd or anyone off building their own deck railings, it's a wonderful project if done right - but I still do want to point him or anyone else in the direction of their local building office because it really is the best place to start.

With the exact measurements that they give you to comply with your local code - you will have the information you need to start. You can then decide to err on the side of caution as suggested by Dick and then visit your local lumber yard as em69 said origionally.

Please remember, safety is paramount not only in how you construct your deck railings but for you and those around you while you are building it, so don't forget your safety equipment before you start.

All the best
HomeImproveSue
 
 

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