Planning & preparation
- Start by carefully planning your railings to scale; this will limit cutting and wastage and will help you to be accurate when ordering the materials you need.
- When planning your design, make sure the height of the top railing is at least 900mm from the surface of the deck, and that deck posts aren’t spaced more than 1800mm apart.
- We are adding ‘modern’ decking spindles to our raised deck. Bear in mind when using these spindles that the maximum deck height they can be used on is 600mm, so if your deck is any higher, you will require a different railing design.
Do it right
- To extend the life of your railings, add two coats of preservative to any cut ends or notches.
- In order to ensure your spindles are evenly spaced, create an 81mm spacer using an offcut of spindle. You can then lay this horizontally to mark the 81mm spacing between spindles and vertically to mark on the railing where each spindle will be placed.
- It is possible to assemble your deck railings on your own, but it is much easier with a spare pair of hands, so ask a friend if they can help out.
- Firmly secure the timber and take care when sawing, drilling and hammering in the nails.
- When drilling it’s best to wear safety goggles.
- Wear protective gloves when sawing, handling the deck posts or applying wood preserver.
- Wear a dust mask, ear protectors and safety goggles when using a jigsaw or circular saw.
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for drying and safety when using wood preserver.
- Offcuts of treated timber should never be burnt, but need to be disposed of safely – your local recycling centre should be able to advise.
- Once the railings are in place, add a coat of decking stain to further protect and enhance the natural beauty of the timber.
- Dirt can be removed from the railings with regular brushing or by using a specific deck cleaning fluid, but be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging.
- We do not advise using a pressure washer to clean decks and deck railings as they can damage the preservative layer on the surface of the wood.
Preparing the Deck Posts
Notch out the deck posts 120mm x 20mm up from the bottom. Or, to make this part of the project much easier and faster, you can buy these pre-notched. If you need to extend your notch further then do this using a handsaw or circular saw.
Ask someone to hold the deck post in position whilst you mark the location of two evenly spaced pilot holes on the post.
Secure the post in your bench and drill the pilot holes using an 8mm wood drill bit.
To fix the deck posts to the bearer, hang washers on the end of a 130mm exterior coach screw, then tighten the screws with a socket set.
Use a tape measure to make sure deck posts are evenly spaced, with a maximum distance of 1800mm between them.
If you want the post to be flush to the decking then you will need to notch it into the decking. Start by marking out where the post will be onto the deck and the fascia.
Remove the fascia and use a hand saw to saw off the section you’ve marked out.
Use a jigsaw to remove the top section.
Put the post into position and check that it is flush to the decking. Then, secure the post as before and reattach the fascia.
Assembling the railing
Measure the gap between the posts, so the top and bottom rails can be cut to fit between them.
To make sure spindles are placed evenly, measure and cut a piece of spindle to 81mm and use this as a marker.
Measure 81mm from the end of the rail and use a try square to mark an accurate line. This line marks where the first spindle will be placed.
When you are marking the bottom railings, mark the centre of each spindle, as this is where the pilot holes will be drilled.
Turn the 81mm section on its side, and continue to mark along the length of railing. You may need to adjust these measurements slightly to fit the length of your handrail. However, make sure all spacings are equal and do not exceed 82mm before fixing.
For the bottom rail, repeat the above but with the addition of drilling a 3mm pilot hole through each mark.
Attach the spindles to the bottom rail using 76mm deck screws. You may need someone to hold them in place for you whilst you screw.
To attach the top rail to the spindle, use a 64mm galvanized finish nail, but take care not to damage the wood whilst hammering. Alternatively, you could use a nail punch to finish the nails.
Fitting the railing
Place the long side of the L brackets centrally into the fillet slot, on the underside of the bottom rail. Check the L brackets do not stick out past the end of the rail, then fix the bracket to the bottom rail using the two 25mm screws that are supplied in the kit.
Mark on your deck post where you want the top railing to be, making sure it’s at least 900mm from the deck.
Centrally place the short side of the L bracket onto the mark and fix the bracket to each deck post using two 25mm screws.
Place the railing assembly on the fixed post L brackets and secure to the underside of the top rail using two 25mm screws.
Centrally locate the bottom rail on the deck post, before fixing the bottom rail L bracket using two 25mm screws.
On each side of the top and bottom rails, measure 25mm from the end of the rail and mark.
Drill a countersunk 3mm pilot hole approximately 30 degrees through the rails and into the post.
Finally, skew two 50mm screws into each rail to secure to the post.
Your railings are now complete!