How To Install Deck Posts

Cut Notches In The Deck

How to install decking posts

Your decks planks probably hang slightly over the edge of the deck above the joists.

Because of this, you will need to cut notches in the planks. This will allow the posts to sit flush against the joists so you can secure them.

For 4×4 deck posts, you should maintain a maximum distance of six feet.

You will have to measure out your deck and see what a proper interval will be. This will be based on the distance between each corner.

Tools & Materials Needed To Build Deck Footings

The tools and materials you need to build deck footings will vary depending on the soil conditions and the pier design called for by the architect, engineer, or deck planner. In many cases, simple hand tools are all you need to dig the required holes and mix bags of concrete. There are also power tools and machines that can dig much faster.

Round-point shovels are the best tools to cut and dig into the soil. Traditional post-hole diggers are superb for cutting straight down to create a hole for a concrete pier. You may also need a pointed iron digging bar that can be used to crack rocks or chip away at stubborn soil.

You can rent power augers, which are in essence giant drills. These are perfect for sandy soils and clay soils that have small golf-ball-sized rocks. These augers require two people to operate.

Reciprocating saws can be used to cut tree roots. Hammer drills with small spade bits can be used to cut away at tough soil. Hammer drills with chipping bits can also be used to crack larger rocks.

How To Install Guard Or Handrails

  • Attach Bottom Rails. The easiest way is to use a 2×4 as a spacer. Just lay the spacer on the deck and the bottom rail on top of it. Attach with structural screws, not deck screws.
  • Attach Top Rails. Run them along each post flush with the top.
  • Attach Rail Caps. These run along the top of the posts and top rails. Install them flush with the top. For stairs, handrails need to run continuously without interruption meaning no posts or other obstruction interrupts the handrail surface.
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    Get The Materials You Need To Build And Enhance Your Deck

    Theres nothing more satisfying than completing a decking project on your own. Decks & Docks has everything you need to tackle your next DIY job, from quality lumber to marine-grade hardware. Dont hesitate to reach out to our experts with questions call 866-528-9663 or fill out an online contact form to talk with a member of our friendly staff!

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    The Importance Of Railing Posts For Deck Building

    Upgrading a Deck

    Posts are the basic support of your deck railing.

    Your deck is essentially an elevated outdoor floor, supported by a frame and joists. The mounted railing is what makes it safe for people to be on your deck, especially children and pets, as it provides support and prevents falls. Railing is an essential piece of framing for any deck that’s higher than 30 inches off the ground. Railing – most importantly, the posts that support your railing – must be installed properly to function as a successful safety feature.

    • Support someone leaning against it
    • Support someone pushing against it
    • Secure built-in seating or storage
    • Hold up decorative accents like railing planters or decorative lights

    While your plans for your deck may change over the years, your railing should be able to support all of them. And railing posts are the foundation of any strong deck railing.

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    How To Install Deck Railing Posts

    Whether you’re completing a new deck build on your home or looking to renovate your outdoor space with a DIY deck railing makeover, learning how to install a deck post on your deck surface is an essential part of the process. You can install deck railing posts on any deck or patio surface including pressure-treated wood, composite deck boards, concrete, brick, and more easily as long as you’re using the correct fastener.

    Not sure where to begin with deck railings? Worried about staying in line with your building code? Not sure how to get started with installation? No worries!

    Read on for a collection of all the best tips from our team of expert deck designers so that you can build a better deck, one post at a time. For more pro tips and deck project planning, give our team a call at .

    Stagger The Joints Of Your Decking Boards

    When installing decking boards, its important to stagger the joints for a more professional look. This will also help prevent the boards from warping or splitting.

    To stagger the joints, start by installing the first board at one end of the deck. Then, install the next board so that its offset from the first board by a half-joist width. Make sure to use a level to make sure the boards are straight and secure them in place with screws.

    Repeat this process for the rest of the decking boards.

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    Get Started On Your Deck Footings Project

    While it may seem intimidating to install concrete deck footings, it’s doable with research and diligence. Looking for building support, find a contractor. Taking on the deck building yourself? Find a retailer to secure the supplies you need.

    There are several types of deck footings. The following four footings are the most common:

    • Buried Post & Footing
    • Bell Pier
    • Pier & Footing

    The buried post & footing is the most basic deck footing. The hole you dig doesn’t have to be perfect all that’s important is the final 8 or 10 inches of excavation, which must be the required diameter of the footing.

    Mix, then pour the concrete into the hole, level it, and finish it somewhat smoothly with a block of wood. While this deck footing is straightforward, be sure to check with your local building department to verify burying the post in the ground is allowed, even though the post may be rated for ground contact.\

    A bell pier is achieved by using a manufactured plastic form which is placed in the footing hole and filled with concrete. Bell piers offer several distinct advantages. As the pier gets deeper into the ground the diameter of the pier gets larger. This allows the weight of the deck above to be spread out over a greater amount of soil. The other advantage is a bell pier can resist, to a large degree, the upward lift force of frozen soil that is in contact with the upper parts of the pier. The larger bottom of the pier acts like a wedge anchor you might use in a masonry wall.

    How To Install Deck Posts

    How to Install Deck Guardrail Posts | Trex Academy

    In this tutorial well be showing you how to install deck posts. We are working with the 4 x 4 Classic Deck Post, but the same process applies to all of our deck post sizes and styles.

    Read the guide below, or check our our installation video.

    Supplies Needed

    3-1/4-Inch Flat Head Square Drive Deck ScrewsAmount: 9

    Tape Measure

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    How To Make Notched Posts

    Notched posts take time and experience to cut but make a pleasing finishing touch for a deck railing. They draw the baluster closer to the deck edge and make a slightly firmer joint than surface-mounted posts.

    Cut the notch: Make a crosscut where the notch ends. With the saw set to maximum depth, cut the long lines on each side without cutting beyond the crosscut.

    Chisel away the excess: Use a hammer and chisel to crack out the wasteit will neatly pop out as one piece. Then chisel away the remnant where the saw blade could not reach.

    Complete the corner post: Make the long cuts and a shallow crosscut. Chisel toward the crosscut and split out the waste. Chisel down along the crosscut and the long cuts to remove the remaining remnant of wood.

    The First Step In Adding The Railing To The Deck Is Installing The Posts We’ll Show You How To Do It In Five Simple Steps

    Caitlin Sole is the senior home editor at BHG. She is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of interior design expertise. She has vast experience with digital media, including SEO, photo shoot production, video production, eCommerce content, print collaboration, and custom sales content.

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    A railing is one of the most visible parts of a deck and a critical safety feature. Keeping both factors in mind when planning how to install railing posts is essential. Choose lumber, for example, that’s free of cracks and splinters. After the railing is installed, sand all the corners smoothly.

    Before you begin, draw your design and double-check the sizes and measurements. In our railing the post length equals the height of the railing above the deck plus the decking thickness, plus the joist width, minus the thickness of the cap rail. The baluster length equals the height of the railing above the deck minus the gap between the bottom of the railing and the deck , minus the thickness of the cap rail.

    Also make sure to check local codes and include any requirements in your plan. Some common considerations include:

    • The minimum height of the railing.
    • Allowable baluster spacing.
    • 2×4

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    How To Install Concrete Support Deck Posts & Columns

    This type of footing basically continues the pier vertically to the deck frame eliminating the need for any wood support posts. We recommend that you do not exceed 36 in height above grade. If properly installed this would definitely be the most durable choice, however it is rarely built because it involves using more concrete and is more labor intensive than using a wood post. These columns are easily constructed with manufactured tube forms. They are a great way to save time and effort when building a deck close to the ground. You will need to install a concrete anchor at the top of the pier in order to install a post base. Eliminating the need for treated support posts also eliminates all of the problems associated with them such as severe checking and twisting. If you have a low deck, this may be an option worth considering. This footing type will make your deck look much more massive and permanent and perform with greater strength.

    How To Install & Build Deck Footings

    Building Deck Rails 2x4

    The weight of your deck might surprise you. Once finished, with a group of people gathered on it for a party or a cookout, a deck could weigh thousands of pounds. Most homes have several continuous foundation walls to spread out the weight of the house on the ground, but your deck may only have a few vertical posts that concentrate the weight at the base of these posts. Because your deck footings transfer this load to the soil beneath the deck, the footings must be large and built with great diligence, or you risk future structural failings.

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    Different Types Of Deck Railing Post Anchors

    The rise in popularity of deck railing post anchors is no surprise.

    Anyone who has experienced the ease and speed of installation, eliminating notching of decking and tricky carpentry skills, or all the hardware required for setting posts into joists knows this intimately.

    Luxurious Looking Surface Mounted Post Anchors

    Set Up Temporary Bracing For Deck Posts During Construction

    Our photo illustrates what can happen if the deck contractor is a good finish carpenter but one who is not so sharp with deck construction.

    His post was left floating atop a wood scrap that we later replaced with an excavated shallow block pier. The deck floats.

    If you are using adjustable post bases, first attach the hardware to the anchor bolts. Set a post in each post base.

    Drive one nail through the base and into the post just far enough to hold the post in place you may have to remove and reposition the nail later. Plumb the post by checking it on adjacent sides with a carpenterâs level. If you are working alone, it may be easier to attach a post level to the post to leave both hands free to continue working. With the post plumb, attach temporary braces to two adjacent sides.

    If you are using adjustable post bases, first attach the hardware to the anchor bolts. Set a post in each post base.

    Drive one nail through the base and into the post just far enough to hold the post in place you may have to remove and reposition the nail later. Plumb the post by checking it on adjacent sides with a carpenterâs level. If you are working alone, it may be easier to attach a post level to the post to leave both hands free to continue working. With the post plumb, attach temporary braces to two adjacent sides.

    Use 1 x 4s for braces, securing them with screws to stakes in the ground and with clamps to the posts

    Details about permanent deck post bracing are below at

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    Three: Locating Intermediate Posts

    Once you have marked the location of these primary posts, layout the locations of the intermediate posts, or the posts that will be installed between corner and stair posts. Intermediate posts are set between primary posts with spans not exceeding six feet between posts. Do this before cutting and installing so you will have an accurate figure for purchasing the required amount of stock.

    Rail Sections Sharing A Corner Post

    Easy Way To Install Deck Rail Posts

    If a square post is being used on a cut corner of the deck cut the 2x4s of the rail section around the rail post. Be sure to keep the same inset from the outside faceplate as the other rail sections.

    Rail sections share a 4×4 corner post when 22½° posts do not permit. This often happens with maintenance free posts.

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    Attaching Bottom Deck Posts

    I have always been on the lookout for a better way to make a more secure rail post connection at the bottom of a set of deck stairs. Over the years, I have tried the old ways of mounting the post on the outside of the stringer and adding a couple of boltsa technique that never worked, and especially wont work today because of the way that building codes have changed: Deck posts must now withstand 200 lbs. of lateral force. This new code requires a lot more thought, and the installation requires a lot more hardware.

    Two years ago, I worked on a large deck project with a good-sized set of stairs. Because of the overall length and height of the stairs, and the span limitations for the composite railing, I had to move the bottom posts back a few inches to make sure I could span between the mid-post and the bottom post. Thats when I came up with the first technique in this article.

    Since then, Ive started using a second approach that is a bit more acceptable given recent changes in code requirements for continuous handrail. Ill review my second approach as well.

    Start with the Stringers

    First, youll probably notice in some of these photos that there are a few more stringers than normal. That is due to the decking manufacturers span limitations for stair stringersin this case, about 11 in. on center. With some PVC decking, it can be as close as 9 in. on center .

    The post is secured to the hanger board and blocking with FastenMaster ThruLOK bolts.

    How To Install Balcony Posts

    House balcony

    This article is about how to install balcony posts, so consequently you have to measure it, by using a tape measure. Work with great care, especially if you are not a professional. Do not walk close to the edge of the balcony and work with patience.

    Use a good tape measure as to make sure you tale the right dimensions. In addition, you should use a laser level to check the alignment of the post hardware.

    Aligning the post hardware

    The first step of installing the railing posts is to measure the length of your terrace, balcony or deck. Afterwards you have to decide the distance you want between the post. Usually the distance between posts is roughly 3, but in this project we have chosen to install posts at a higher distance, due to the unique design, as you will see in the following steps. Nevertheless, remember that the distance between posts must be equal, otherwise your railings wont be symmetrical.

    As you can see in the image we used a chalk line in order to make sure the posts are perfectly aligned. Afterwards, we used a permanent marker to mark the spots where to drill holes, in the concrete surface. However if you have a wooden surface, then the post should be anchored to the deck joist with lag screws and washers, checking the level and adjusting it, if necessary. Pre-drill the posts with holes for lag screws, as to avoid splitting the wood. In addition use a countersink, to hide the bolts heads.

    Fixing the post hardware with screws

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    Attaching Deck Railing Posts

    The problem is that the railing post acts like a lever, exerting a very large force on the connection at the bottom. The weakest link is not the post-to-rim-joist connection, but the rim joist to the floor framing.

    One practical way to resist this force with 4×4 wood posts is to use specialized steel framing connectors. Both Simpson Strong Tie and USP now make connectors designed for this application. The connectors fasten to a deck joist with heavy ¼ x 1½-in. wood screws and bolt through the post with a ½-in. diameter through-bolts or threaded rods.

    The Simpson connectors can be purchased prepacked with the approved screws and a washer for the bolt head in the post. The USP version installs with the companys polymer-coated WS15-GC screws. Both companies also sell stainless-steel connectors and screws, designated SS. As an engineered connection, its always best to use the fasteners specified by the manufacturer and not to stick with the same company for connectors and screws.

    While the connectors are moderately expensive at $8 to $10 each , they install quickly and provide a rock-solid connection that is virtually impossible to achieve any other way.

    The installation details differ somewhat depending on whether the post is installed inside or outside the outer joist and whether the rim joist runs perpendicular or parallel to the deck joists. To avoid confusion, well refer to parallel rim joist as an end joist.