How to Install a Composite Deck Railing
If you build a composite deck railing for your house, your deck will not only become more attractive, but it will also be a safer place for relaxation and play. If you built the decking yourself, you will find the installation of the railing a piece of cake.
Step 1 - Check Requirements
Find out about the local requirements for railing structures. In some states, for example, the railing should be no less than 36 inches tall and have spacing between the posts no greater than four inches. Also, make sure you are well-acquainted with the health and safety requirements regarding construction works which involve wood and wooden materials. Don’t forget to wear protective gear (gloves, goggles, etc.) all the time.
Step 2 - Determine Location
Check the plans for your composite deck and determine where the posts should be. Mark the position of the posts on the outer joists and the header. There should be a distance of four inches between the edges of every post.
Step 3 - Dent Notches
Use a saw to indent notches in the deck boards so all posts can be laid squarely against the framing of your deck.
Step 4 - Cut Posts
Cut all posts to size using a miter saw. The length of each post should be equal to the sum of the desired post height, the thickness of the deck boards and the height of the deck framing.
Step 5 - Mount Posts
Mount the posts to the composite deck using two lag bolts per post. Fix the bolts with a socket wrench.
Step 6 - Work on Upper Base
Make the upper base of the railing. Take a 2-by-4 inches board, cut it and mount to the top part of the posts by driving two screws into each post.
Step 7 - Calculate Number of Balusters
Measure the spacing between every two posts and calculate how many balusters you will need. Take into account the width of the balusters and the requirement in most states that there shouldn’t be a gap in the railing bigger than four inches. For aesthetic purposes, make sure you maintain equal spacing between all balusters. If necessary, trim them up a bit. Mark their locations with a pencil.
Step 8 - Think of the Length of the Balusters
Determine the length of the balusters. You can make them run right to the end of the deck framing, or you can cut their length above the deck boards and support them by mounting a lower horizontal board to the railing posts. Do as you see fit.
Step 9 - Mount Balusters
Cut the balusters to size and mount them at their designated places, using two screws for each end of the balusters. You may want to cut the bottom ends at an angle of 45 degrees to make them look more attractive.
Step 10 - Install Cap
Install a 2-by-6 inches cap on top of the upper railing base and the railing posts. For a greater aesthetic result, you can bevel the cap edges with a miter saw. Fix the cap into place with screws of the appropriate length.