How To Make Porch Railing
Porch railing is often the final piece that turns a new porch project into a finished outdoor room. Before deciding to build a porch railing, it is important to know your local building codes for rail height and spacing between rails. Consult your local building department for this information and to determine if you need to obtain a building permit before starting construction.
While it is possible to purchase completed porch railing sections that are made of vinyl or other materials, the instructions here are intended to help you construct a wood railing from scratch. Wood railings have the advantage of being stronger and sturdier than vinyl railing. Additionally, you can create your own unique railing if you decide to use custom designed slats.
Measure between the posts of the porch. This will provide you with the measurement for the length of the top and bottom rails. Check each section of the porch, since measurements may vary between sections.
Find the center point of each 1 x 2 rail by measuring the length of the rail and then dividing this number by 2. Mark this point on each rail.
Using 1 x 2 inch rails for the top and bottom, attach a 20-inch wood slat between the 1 x 2 with finish nails. Place the slat so that it is set approximately 1 to 2 inches inside the ends of the rails. Repeat the procedure on the other end of the rails so that you have a rectangular frame.
Starting at one end of the rectangular frame, measure and mark every 4 inches along the entire length of the long top/bottom rails. This will be your center marker for where to place each wood slat.
Lay out the 2 x 4-inch studs. Find the center point for each stud by measuring length of the stud and then dividing this number by 2. Mark this point on each of the studs. Match the center point of each stud with the center point of the rails. Nail the top stud to the top rail, forming a cap for the new railing. Repeat this process with the bottom stud, nailing it to the bottom rail.
Sand the entire railing and remove remaining dust. Set the railing across a set of sawhorses and apply wood primer. Let dry.
Paint the porch railing with at least 2 coats of paint, letting each coat dry before applying the second layer.
Measure the desired height from the top of the porch along the porch columns. Mark this point with a pencil. Repeat this process with the opposite column. Stand the porch railings so that the top railing aligns with the mark. Attach railing to column with finish nails.
Repeat this process for each section of railing.