How to Install a Wood Railing for Your Deck

What You'll Need
Pressure treated 4x4 posts
2x4-inch lumber wood pieces
3/8 screws
Hand saw and table saw
Galvanized nails

You may already have a nice-looking wood deck in your yard for outdoor enjoyment, so your next step is to install a wood railing for your deck. Wood railings make your deck a safer place to be because you don’t have to worry about slipping, tripping or falling off of the side of the structure. Building and attached a railing to your deck can especially protect young children, who are constantly moving about. The steps below outline what you need to do to create your own wood railing.

Step 1 — Obtain Rail Posts

Purchase wood posts that are 36 inches in height or cut taller posts down into increments of 36 inches per post. They should be as wide as the rim space that is around the edges of your deck.

Step 2 — Make Notches

Insert notches in the posts that are one and a half inches deep. The deck notches should be one and a half inches deep as well. Make sure that posts fit tightly into the notches in the decking. If they are too loose, your railing will be unstable.

Step 3 — Level the Posts

Grab your level and use it to straighten out the posts so they do not lean.

Step 4 — Screw and Glue the Posts to the Deck

Use your drill to fasten the 3/8-inch lag screws from the posts to the deck. You may also wish to apply some weatherproof glue that is appropriate for wood between the post and the joints for extra security.

Step 5 — Attach the Rails to the Post

Using the toenail method, hammer or drill the galvanized nails into the rails from the post. Don’t forget to ensure that the top rail is even with the height of all of the posts. You can also add a center rail for more durability if needed, but that is up to you.

Step 6 — Nail in Cap Rails and Miter Them

Place 2x6 cap rails on top of the top rail and posts and use your drill and more nails to secure them. Make sure everything is even. Then, miter the cap rail ends where they join together.

Step 7 — Secure Balusters to Rails

Measure out balusters to be the same length as the rails and connect them to both the top and bottom rails, beginning with the middle section so that the wood does not bow. Bowing weakens the structure, and you will surely want to avoid doing that.

You have now succeeded in creating wood rails to surround your deck. Now you can envision decorating your rails with real or fake vines and flowers to make it even more visually pleasing. You might even want to paint your rails or varnish them to better match the wood of your deck. In any case, you have saved money by completing this project on your own.