How to Build a Metal Deck Railing

What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Carpenters pencil
Mounting hardware
Decorative post toppers

A metal deck railing is a durable and attractive option for your deck. Some metal deck railings have metal balusters and wood top railings. There are also railings made entirely of metal.

Step 1 – Check Building Codes

Before adding a deck or its railings check with your local building code enforcement office to see what the requirements are and if you will need a permit. They may specify rail height or space between balusters for safety.

Step 2 – Design the Railings

Take careful measurements and lay out a plan for the railings. Note where you will need posts and if there are any steps involved. Make sure that if you buy a kit it will work for your deck. Calculate the number of each component that you will need and the dimensions of each piece.

Step 2 – Choose Railings

Metal deck railings can be assembled from individual components but most often are purchased as a kit with the railings and fittings included. Aluminum railings are easy to cut with a saw but wrought iron railings are made into panels for easy installation. Metal railings can also be made of copper, bronze or steel.

Step 3 – Measure and Mark

Take the pencil and measure and mark the position of the railing posts and balusters on the deck floor where they will be installed.

Step 4 – Prepare the Parts

Referring to your plan cut out all of the pieces for the railings. If you are using a pre-made system then count all the parts to be sure you have the correct number of each.

Step 5 – Pre-Drill Pilot Holes

Drill pilot holes for all fasteners that will go into the deck. For any hardware attached to the deck floor put it down on the deck and mark the holes to be pre-drilled for the fasteners.

Step 6 – Install the Posts

Put your first post in the place that you marked on the deck. Level the post and shim it if necessary to make it level. Now put the fasteners in the foot plate and tighten them. Install the remaining posts in the same way, being sure to level each one.

Step 7 – Install the Balusters

If you are installing panels of metal balusters then fit them to the posts and secure them with the fasteners provided. Otherwise assemble the balusters with the bottom rail and fasten together creating a panel. Fasten the panel to the posts.

Step 8 – Add the Top Railing

Now fit the top railing over the uprights and be sure it fits correctly. Use a level to be sure it is horizontal.

Step 9 – Add Post Tops

If you plan on including decorative tops for the posts then add them now. There are even lighted toppers available.

A metal railing will last for years and add style to your outdoor living space. Installing it yourself will give you bragging rights for years as well.