Railings for Decks | Free DIY Construction Algorithm

Deck Rail Plans

Learn how to build a sturdy wooden rail around a deck with this free guide. This guide includes a framing detail and step by step DIY instructions.

Build a Deck Rail Step by Step

Often there are local building codes that govern the height of the rail and the spacing of the spindles. Sometimes they require the rail to be graspable. Check with the local building inspector for more precise detail. A building permit will most likely need to be obtained anyway.

Use 4 x 4 post cut 34 1/2″ for a 36″ rail. If the planks on the deck hang over, then they need to be trimmed off flush with the outside beam. Set the post 1 1/2″ in from the outside and space them no more than eight feet apart.

Nail a 2 x 4 flush with the top on the outside of the post. This will be the nailer for the spindles. The spindles are available pre-cut for installing them in this manner. The angled end goes down. Space them with a 3 1/2″ block spacer and check them often with a level. Cap everything with a 2 x 6. If you want graspable handrail the their are commercially available oval shaped rods that attach with mounting brackets.

Building rails down steps is a little more complicated. It will be easier for you to get a sturdy rail if the post extend up “wild” from the ground and are set in concrete. This will make the design of rails a little different. Attach the 2 x 4 to the inside of the top of the posts and make sure it is parallel with the ends of the steps. Cut the tops of the posts and add the spindles. they will need mitering on the top this time. Cap everything with a 2 x 6. Chamfer or round off the exposed ends to reduce the possibility of accidental injuries to children.

deck rails

Closing Thoughts on Railings for Decks

This railing system will work for any kind of deck or balcony. It does not matter if it goes around a pool or is twenty feet high. This method is very versatile, safe, easy to build, and offers great cosmetics. Good luck with the railing around your deck!