How to Build a Wood Railing for Deck Stairs How to Build a Wood Railing for Deck Stairs

What You'll Need
A wooden saw
Carriage Bolts
Galvanized screws
Paint Brush
Drop Cloths
Old Clothing
Eye Protection

Adding a wood railing to your deck not only is important to meet safety regulations, but it can also add to the overall decor of your outdoor living space. You may have a deck so you can grill outdoors during the warmer seasons or simply to compensate for uneven ground in your yard. Making the deck look attractive but also providing the right amount of safety for those using the stairs is important. Here is how to build the wood railing for your deck stairs.

Step 1 - Understand Terminology

Before you begin your building, it is best to understand the different parts. Below is a quick guide to your railing terminology.

    • Spindles: These are teh supports. They are the vertical supports between the top part of the railing and the bottom of the deck.
    • Newel Post: This is a type of spindle, only it is fatter and thicker around. These posts are used at the corners or beginning and end of the railing.
    • Carriage Bolt: This is a bolt and screw combination. It is used to secure the spindles and the newel posts.

      Step 2 - Check Local Requirements

      Some townships and local municipalities have local requirements regarding railing for decks. You probably have to construct the railings at a certain height in order to meet regulations. Check with your local township code enforcement office for specific details.

      Step 3 - Place Spindles

      Set the spindles at about 9 inches from one another. Set the height based on the local rules and regulations you have discovered in the previous step.

      Step 3 - Drill Holes in Spindles

      Drill 1½-inch deep holes on both the top and the bottom end of the spindle. Repeat this for each spindle you will use in your railing construction.

      Step 4 - Secure Spindles to Newel Posts

      Using the carriage bolts, secure the spindles and the newel posts together. Place the bolts on one of the sides. Best practice is to place the carriage bolts on the side of the deck that will face outward. If needed, use additional screws to reinforce the integrity between the spindles and the newel posts.

      Step 5 - Attach the Rail

      Taking the pieces of wood you purchased at a local home improvement center or using a pre-fabricated wood rail, attach the rail to the top of the spindles. Bore holes in the bottom side of the rail at the same spots and locations to meet up with the holes in the top of the spindles. Attach screws to the rail and the posts.

      Step 6 - Paint or Stain

      Now that you have built your wood railing, you need to decide on how you want to incorporate it into your deck's design and color. Pick an outdoor stain or an outdoor deck paint and apply the stain or paint to your new railing.

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