How to Install a Vinyl Deck Railing

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Pressure-tested wood
Metal post

A vinyl deck railing doesn’t need much maintenance. It keeps its color well, even after several years out in the weather. The ease of maintenance is one big reason why people will buy a vinyl deck railing. Installation is quite simple and can be accomplished with tools you already have around the house. The more time you take in the planning, the more smoothly the installation will go.

Step 1 - Planning

Take time to plan the installation. Draw the deck to scale on a piece of graph paper. This will allow you to calculate exactly what you need in the way of materials. Make a list before you go to buy what you need and allow an extra 5% in quantities to allow for miscalculation and errors in assembly. Doing this will stop you having to run back to buy more materials in the middle of the job.

Step 2 - Post

Start by installing the posts for the vinyl deck railing. These will be at the corners of the deck and where it meets the house. In some cases the posts can be driven directly into the ground. Depending on the ground, the post might be to slide over a metal post. Where this is necessary the post should be driven 3 feet into the ground to give proper stability to the vinyl deck railings. If the railing is being attached to a house, use a vinyl sleeve around pressure tested wood. Screw the wood to the house and then slide the sleeve over the top.

It’s vital to measure properly and accurately for the posts so that the rest of the railings will fit correctly. Measure before putting each post in place.

Step 3 - Bottom Rail

With the posts in place, it’s time to install the bottom rail of the vinyl deck railing. There are mounting brackets on both ends of the bottom and top railings. It’s important to make sure you put in the bottom rail first. It should slide easily into place and click down to secure against the posts. Use a level to make certain the rail is level. Once you’re satisfied you can start to insert the vinyl deck railing pickets into the bottom railing.

Step 4 - Top Rail

The final part of the installation is the top rail of the vinyl deck railing. Although straightforward, it’s actually the trickiest piece of the job. Place it carefully so that each of the pickets is lined up a hole. Then push it down into place against the posts at each end and use the level to be sure all the pickets are vertically straight. Leveling screws should be used to attach the brackets at the ends of the rail of the vinyl deck railing. Apply in conjunction with the spirit to make the top rail perfectly level before hiding the brackets with screw caps.