When it comes to installing deck railing, the first thing that most people think of is the railing. Oftentimes, the deck is what gets overlooked in the planning process, creating headaches when installing your railing. Luckily, we have gone through the process for you! Follow our step-by-step process from start to finish to navigate common pitfalls that many homeowners fall into when undertaking a deck remodel.
Once you have determined the style of Mounting you would like for your Railing Posts, the next step is to take basic measurements for your overall system. The maximum distance that cable railing can travel unsupported is 48 inches, or 4 feet. With this in mind, grab a tape measure and measure the distance that your future cable railing system will travel.
It may help you visualize where you will anchor your posts by putting down painter’s tape every 4 feet. Additionally, whenever there is a transition in your system moving either up or down, you will need to determine if you need to start a new run.
An example of starting a new run would be if there are 2 platform areas on your deck. An example of continuing the former run would be if you are moving up or down stairs. If there is transition in elevation that leads to a continued level run, you will need to add an extra post for the transition.
Since you have determined where your posts will be mounted in the previous step, you now know exactly where the blocking needs to be reinforced. However, if you do not have the ability to access the underside of your deck and have insufficient blocking, we have a solution to remedy this in our Hollow Mounting Bracket Kit.
Now that you have your basic measurements and have thoroughly evaluated your system, you are ready to place your order!
BLOCKING is what frames the structure of your deck from the underside.
BRIDGING is when blocking occurs between the joists at mid-span.Most deck builders will take scrap pieces of pressure treated lumber as the fill-in for the bridging, aiding not only in the structural support, but also in reducing the risk of premature decay.
Additionally, bridging at mid-joist reduces bounce within your deck, giving more stability to the overall structure. Another blocking technique involves reinforcing the perimeter joists with an additional board.
Think of these parallel boards as the structure that frames your deck, much like a picture frame does for paintings or portraits that hang in your home. Not only does this blocking provide greater stability on the perimeter, it strengthens railing structures that will be mounted on top of them. Additional blocking around the perimeter is an integral part to supporting surface mount railing systems.
An example of how invaluable the advice of a carpenter can be is seen in this recent remodel. This deck was built with pressure treated pine 20 years ago. The previous homeowners took care of it, maintaining an oil-based seal on it for nearly 17 years. However, neglected to maintain it for the past 3 years.
As seen in the “before” picture, the UV damage and overall weathering took a toll on much of the deck. At first, these homeowners thought that the deck would need to be completely gutted and torn out; but after an evaluation from a professional deck builder, they were advised to keep everything. All that was needed was a good power wash, some deck cleaner and brightener for restoration of the wood, sanding, and new stain. As can be seen from the “after” picture, the transformation is quite remarkable. It doesn’t even look like the same deck.
An overall evaluation of your deck’s blocking will provide much needed insight into how you will navigate mounting your railing. Our railing systems are most frequently surface mount systems, relying on sufficient blocking on the perimeter. While we do have side-mount systems and hollow mount kits that can circumvent issues with insufficient perimeter blocking, we recommend reinforcing your blocking from underneath, if possible.
This will save you time and energy later when installing your railing. Additionally, it provides the optimal conditions for ensuring safety of your overall system. Finally, it may prove beneficial to consult a trusted carpenter or contractor for a second opinion on how to best accomplish your project. Oftentimes, a consultation can help you determine how much of your deck is salvageable and how much needs to be replaced.
Deck Surface Mount Posts are attached to and anchored on the surface of the deck. This is our most common method of railing install. As long as you have a flat surface with sufficient blocking, you can anchor these posts on both level and angle runs.
If you find that you have sufficient blocking on at least one side, yet do not have sufficient blocking on the other, we have a solution to remedy this in our Hollow Mounting Bracket Kit.
Deck Side Mount Posts are attached to and anchored on the side of the deck. Often referred to as our Fascia Mount, this style of mounting is not as common for railing system installation. However, it preserves the maximum surface area of your existing deck, creating the illusion that the railing system is floating on the perimeter of your deck.
With this system, you will need at least 3.5” of horizontal blocking. If the overhang of your deck prohibits you from utilizing our fascia Side Mount Posts, we have a solution to remedy this in our Bump Out Side Mount Posts.Shop Side Mount Posts
Hollow Mounting Bracket Kit – If you have at least 4 inches of blocking on one side, our Hollow Mounting Bracket can provide the necessary support for anchoring your Surface Mount Posts.
The Hollow Mounting Bracket contains 2 L-shaped metal brackets that anchor on the underside of your deck and provide stability to the inside of the post. With 6 inches of reinforcement, our Hollow Mounting Bracket gives you the reinforcement you need to meet safety code, as well as the stability to support your fully tensioned cable railing.
Hollow Mounting Bracket Instructions: As a quick reminder, this product is only needed when you do not have sufficient blocking on one side of your posts. You will still need 4” of blocking on one side for your posts to meet code.
If you don’t have 4″ of blocking you’ll need to use our Hollow Mounting Bracket Kit. It’s to provide a strong artificial blocking for your deck railing posts. We provide the necessary components for the installation of your Hollow Mounting Bracket.
Once you have removed the post, grab a speed square. Using your sharpie, draw an X connecting one pre-marked pilot hole to the opposite marked hole.. Mark the very center of the “X”. This will be the center of the Hole you will cut for access to the underside of your mounting structure.
Now, take one of your mounting brackets and insert it into the hole. Make sure that you do not let go, as you could lose your mounting bracket. Holding firmly onto the bracket, continue to thread the bolt through the mounting bracket until it passes through the bottom of the bracket. Once the bolt is threaded through, the bracket will lock the bolt in place, allowing you to let go of the mounting bracket. Continue threading the bolt until there is only 1.5” remaining above the surface.
If you are installing two of these, repeat these steps for the other Mounting Bracket. Otherwise, you can move forward to mounting your post.
Re-attach the crown cap nuts and secure them to your post. Grab your remaining Mounting Screws and complete the mounting process of your post. Check for overall system leveling with your post level, adjusting as needed by loosening your screws or bolts and using the provided shims to level out the post. Once level, re-tighten all your mounting hardware and check again to make sure your post is now level
For best results, you’ll want to have one handrail terminate on the outside edge of the post and the other on the inside edge of the post. Make sure to be aware of this when measuring.
If your run length is greater than 20′, you’ll need to use multiple pieces of handrail. Be sure to measure to the center of the bracket the run will end on, not the end of it. Once you know the location of your post cuts, put painter’s tape on the handrail to guard the area and use a sharpie to mark your cut line.
Place the cut, capped handrail on top of the handrail brackets , making sure it’s in the desired position. Then, clamp the handrail to the outside handrail brackets on the first and last post of the run. If you are mounting to a corner post, attach the clamps to one edge of the handrail bracket. Pre-drill all holes using a 9/64” drill bit.
Once the holes have been pre-drilled, use the provided mounting screws to attach the handrail. Now, move the clamps to the inside handrail brackets on the same posts. For corner posts, move the clamp to the other edge of the handrail bracket. Pre-drill and attach the mounting screws in the same way that you just did. It may be easiest to remove the handrail brackets after you’ve installed at least one mounting screw on each side. This will let you access the middle holes as well.
You’ve installed the first handrail in your system! We recommend working one handrail at a time, rather than cutting all of your handrail first. When you mount handrail, it will pull the posts together, securing the system. If you cut all your handrail first, this could cause the measurements to be incorrect.
Once you have the measurements of your first run, you’ll need to subtract one of the following amounts, depending on what tensioning kits that run is using.
Level Tension Kit to Level Tension Kit – 2 ½” Angle Tension Kit to Angle Tension Kit – 1 ½” Angle Tension Kit to Level Tension Kit – 2” ⅛” Level Tension Kit to KeyMount Kit – 2 ¾” Angle Tension Kit to KeyMount Kit – 2 ⅛”
Now, transfer that new measurement to your cable, using a sharpie to mark your cutting spot.
If your run utilizes keymount kits, we’ll start by installing those before we install the tension kits. Slide your adhesive sleeve or insert sleeve onto the cable, making sure the attaching side is facing the inside of the post. Crimp the keymount fitting onto the end of the cable, making sure that the “ears” on the keymount fitting are facing away toward the rest of the cable. Then, crimp the fitting onto the cable, making sure to crimp twice.
Now, put the keymount fitting into the hole that has been milled with notches to match the keymount fitting. Then, turn the fitting 90 degrees so that the “ears” can’t pull out of the post when it is pulled tight. Repeat this step for each of the cables on that run.
If you had a keymount fitting on one end, you must have a tension kit on the other end. You may also have tension kits on each end. If one end of your run has already been attached, make sure, before you run the cable through the intermediate posts, you put your adhesive and insert sleeves onto the cable.
Make sure you also put your adhesive or insert sleeve onto the cable for the attachment post. Now, crimp your threaded crimp fitting onto the end of the cable, making sure to crimp twice. Then put your tension receiver through the back side of the post and meet it with the threaded crimp fitting coming from the inside of your post.If this is an angled run,make sure you put your angle washer onto the tension receiver before inserting it into the post.
On angled runs, it is helpful to use the guidepin to help the threaded crimp fitting and tension receiver meet. Slide the guide pin through the back of the tension receiver and into the threaded crimp fitting. This will make sure they meet correctly.
Now, take the provided insert tool and slide it into the hole so that the tabs fit into the slots on the threaded crimp fitting. Hold the insert tool with one hand to keep the cable from spinning while you turn your tension receiver two full revolutions onto the threaded crimp fitting with the provided allen wrench. Do not tighten the cables all the way until each cable in the run is installed.Now repeat these steps for each of your runs.
Tensioning Once each of the cables in the run have been installed, we need to back through and make sure each cable is fully tightened. Use the insert tool again to hold the threaded crimp fitting and then use the allen wrench to tighten the cables, starting with the middle cable in a run and following this diagram.