Installing the Deck Railing

This project covers installing the deck railing.

Step 1

Measure and cut pieces for the bottom rail. At an outside corner, hold two pieces in place and mark for a cut. You could miter this corner, but a miter joint might come apart in time. A basic butt joint is safer.

Step 2

Measure and mark the proper space between the bottom rail and the deck (check local building codes). Position the bottom rail; drive two nails or screws into each post. Install the top rails, top edges flush with the post tops. Drive two 3-inch fasteners where rails join at the corner.

Step 3

Make a simple jig that supports the end of the baluster and stops it at the correct length. Test the jig to make sure your measurements are correct, then gang-cut the balusters as needed.

Step 4

Use a jig like this to space and plumb balusters and position them at the right height. Check for plumb at every fifth baluster. Make incremental adjustments in the next few balusters as needed. Attach each baluster with one 3-inch screw or nail driven into the top and bottom rails.

Step 5

Install the rail cap so it overhangs the top rail and post by equal amounts on each side of the posts. Drive two 21/2-inch fasteners into each post and one every 2 feet or so into the top rail.

Step 6

At a corner make a precise miter joint where two pieces of cap rail meet. First, on one of the boards, cut the mitered end only, and let the other end run wild. Check the fit of the miter. If the fit is good, cut the other end of the cap rail. Drill pilot holes and drive screws to draw the joint tight.

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