Deck railing posts are often notched at the bottom to create a lip that extends a few inches over the floor of the deck. While the practice of using these notched posts is common, it has many drawbacks. Not only is the process of notching posts before installing them more labor intensive, but notched posts are weaker near their notches and more susceptible to cracking. Also, moisture problems often occur between the notches in the posts and the deck itself. As an alternative to this type of deck post, read the following steps to learn how to install deck posts without notches.
Step 1 – Install a Strong-Tie
To support the post, first crawl under the deck directly beneath where the post will be secured. Locate the nearest joist and install a strong-tie onto it sideways. A strong-tie is a bracket shaped like the letter, “L,” and has holes in it that allow bolts to pass through. Place the long end of the strong-tie against the deck joist so that the top of the strong-tie is flush with the bottom of the deck’s floor. The short end of the strong tie should be flat against the deck’s band joist (the board that runs around the perimeter of the deck) where the post will be installed. Use through bolts that are half of an inch in diameter and washers to secure the long end of the strong-tie to the deck joist.
Step 2 – Pre-Drill Bolt Holes
Use a drill to bore a hole through the hole in the short end of the strong-tie and through the band joist. Then, have a friend hold the deck post up to the area where it will be secured. In general, posts are usually 4-inches by 4-inches, and should be long enough for the bottom of the post to be even with the bottom edge of the band joist, while still extending high enough above the deck to function as a railing. While the friend holds the post in place, poke a pencil through the hole drilled in the joist band and mark the post. Once done, pre-drill a hole in the post at the mark that was made.
Step 3 – Secure the Post to the Deck
Once again, have a friend lift the post into place, this time making sure that the hole in the post lines up with the hole in the band joist. Slip a through bolt through the holes in the post and the strong-tie and tighten it with a ratchet and wrench. Finally, drill an additional hole through both the post and band joist below the strong-tie. Insert the final through bolt into this hole and tighten it in the same manner as the first one. Secure all subsequent posts in a similar manner, checking to make sure they remain level along the way.