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How To Install Railing On Concrete Porch

Choose A Material And Style

Vinyl Railing Attached to Concrete Porch and Stairs

Porch railings can be constructed from wood, metal, stone or synthetic materials. Your home style, climate and budget are the key factors in deciding which way to go.

Wooden RailingsWood is a classic, relatively inexpensive choice that suits a wide range of home styles . A simple picket railing works well for Georgian-style homes, while a more detailed, patchwork design complements Queen Anne Victorians. Craftsman bungalows often feature square patterns, as shown above. In general, more traditional homes should have railings with a greater level of detail compared to contemporary homes.

If you don’t find the right style at your home supply store, go to a lumber yard and put in a custom order. It may not cost as much as you think, and “will add a lot to the curb appeal of your house,” Demerly says. He recommends using cedar rather than pressure-treated lumber. “When you get into two-by-two’s, pressure-treated pieces have a tendency to warp really fast. Cedar is much more stable.”

Unfortunately, wooden railings are not resistant to rot. If you live in a humid climate or an area where termites are present, it’s best to consider other options.

Metal RailingsWhile not infallible, metal products are more resistant to decay . Patterns range from fanciful to stark and should be selected based on the period of the home. Picket-style iron railings enhance a historical look and are a good option for Georgian homes in climates not suited to wood.

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Why Deck Posts Should Not Be Set In Concrete

A deck post should always be placed on top of footing, not inside concrete because it can break. Concrete tends to absorb moisture and wood expands when it gets wet, so these two factors combined will result in the wood breaking the concrete.

Bolt Railing Into Concrete To Avoid Costly Issues

A much simpler and more cost-effective approach involves using concrete bolts or fasteners to anchor railing on top of concrete rather than embed it. When properly installed, you will get railing that is stable and able to support large amounts of weight. The railing will be just as sturdy as if it had been sunk into the concrete, without all of the hassle and maintenance problems that come with embedding it.

Anchoring railing to concrete also makes it easier to change out its components as soon as you see signs of corrosion. PowderTech always recommends stainless fasteners when completing a powder coated project, they match the aesthetic quality of powder long-term and allow for reliable replacement 5, 10 and even 20 years down the road.

Below is a brief outline of how we recommend you mount your railing to concrete. This is only a simple outline and you should consult with a concrete professional before you begin installation.

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Porch Rail On Concrete

Putting a porch rail on concrete is different than a deck rail and takes some extra thought. This is a beautiful example of a wobble free railing that will keep you guests from sliding down your front steps. From

Slippery front porch? This is the answer…..a grab bar disguised as a porch rail. Your guests will be grateful.

For plans and more information go to porch hand rail

2/ 2x4x8′ Cedar 2/ 4x4x8′ pressure treated 8/ 1x6x8′ cedar 16/ 2×2 cedar 1/ tube Dap 230 caulking

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

How To Anchor A Porch Railing Post To Concrete

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Many people purchase a home with a ground-level concrete patio, then because of the addition of children or just general home improvement aspiration, the decision is made to install a guardrail system, gated fence or raised deck on top of the existing concrete slab. Having a pad in place saves you time and money, and can provide a stable platform to build from, but it is imperative the posts get anchored solidly to the concrete with an interface to avoid wood rot, termites or other insect infestation, and lateral shifting and racking of the framework from seismic activity.

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How High Should I Install My Railing For Concrete Steps

In order to determine which railings will work best with your arrangement, you need to begin by measuring the concrete steps themselves, starting at their highest point. The handrail should be approximately 36 inches tall, and it should be at least 30 inches tall at this location.

You may need to write down the measurements if you cant remember them. Youll need to know the dimensions of the stairs so that you may order the proper type of railings for the staircase. Make a note of how many steps there are. You will need to take into consideration the height and length of the stairwell, as well as the number of steps.

To determine the length of your handrailing, take a measurement from the bottom step to the top step. Next, take a straight up measurement from the bottom of the tread height to the top of the tread height to get the overall height of the handrailing.

You should be able to determine which handrails will work best for your stairs based on this information, and you will know exactly what to get. Make sure you complete your homework before placing your order to avoid making any blunders during the process.

How To Install Porch Railing

  • Written by Justin Stewart on Aug 03, 2009To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by

Building a porch railing is a way to enclose your porch and prevent guests or small children from falling over the side. Most municipal codes require that a porch structure that is at least 3 feet off the ground must have rail enclosure built, at least 3 feet high. You may also need to check with your local building inspectors office to determine whether a building permit is needed.Building a porch rail system is a task that is easy to do. You may require assistance with the building process but most home improvement centers have pre-cut and pre-made rail systems that are precut to code and only require installation.

Step 1: Purchase Porch Railing

Select pre-formed porch rails and balusters. The balusters are the supports between the top and bottom rail. You will need to purchase enough 2 X 6 railing and 2 X 2 balusters to form the railing.A home improvement center or lumberyard maintains an inventory of these materials. You may also choose to purchase pressure treated 2 X 6 lumber for the rails and 2 X 2 lumber that has been cut to size to form the balusters.Step 2: Assemble the Bottom Rails

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Connected Stairs Can Complicate A Project

Stairs attached to a porch or patio can also make a project more complicated. In order to keep the height of each step equal and consistent, it will be necessary to increase the height of the treads to match the new height of the patio. When possible, placing composite decking over concrete steps is a particularly simple way of solving this problem, again ensuring you are allowing the manufacturer-required air flow and water drainage.

Consult with a local contractor or to see if it’s safe to install composite decking over concrete. Theyll assess the project and help you make the best decision.

Brushed Stainless Steel Handrail Railing

Vinyl Railing Attached To Concrete Patio & Stairs

When you want a piece of railing for one to three concrete steps, this is a product thats bound to feel like a solid investment. Its made from 304-grade stainless steel and consists of a grip pole and a vertical post. Probably one of the biggest benefits of choosing this particular rail over others is the fact that you can install it with ease. The five-step process implies pre-assembling the parts, positioning them above the stairs and onto the wall, using the drill bits to drill the required holes, using masonry bolts to mount them, and the wrench to tighten them. All the hardware pieces needed as well as the assembly tools are included with the purchase.


  • Hardware components and tools included.
  • Adjustable grip pole angle.

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Concrete Fasteners Past And Present

Good fasteners that would allow you to attach something to concrete werent available for a long time, and one of the reasons for my friends father-in-laws improvisation was that he hasnt worked with his hands for decades. In the early part of the twentieth century, you would use masonry nails to anchor wood to the concrete, and then youd anchor things to the wood. Alternatively, you could drill a hole into the concrete, stuff a wooden plug into the hole, and drive a screw into the wood, relying on the friction between the wood and the concrete to hold the screwand whatever it was holdingin place. These wooden plugs were later replaced with plastic, and this technique is still used to hang pictures on walls.

Neither of these methods of anchoring to concrete is really strong enough to hold a railing that people lean on, which is why old brownstone iron railings were usually buried in the concrete. People would chisel out holes in the concrete for the railing posts, plant the posts into the holes, and then pour concrete patch into them. So the wall of stakes I saw at my friends father-in-laws home was just his way of trying to secure the railing without having to use a chisel.

Embedding Rails Into Concrete Can Lead To Big Problems

One way to attach railing to concrete is to embed it directly into the concrete. The thought behind this is that it will make the railing stronger if it is actually mounted in the concrete.

However, the fact that the metal railing is embedded can create a huge problem. The problem with such an installation method comes down to moisture transfer. Concrete is porous and easily absorbs and retains water. The water that is absorbed by the porous concrete can then be transferred to the wrought iron or metal that is embedded in it causing rust to form. This corrosion can reach a pretty advanced stage before you even see the damage.

But thats only part of the problem. Once you discover the rust, the only way to repair it is to cut or drill out the concrete that is holding the railing and replace it. This approach is time consuming, costly and labor intensive, often leading to damage in both your concrete and your railing.

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Don’t Get Railroaded By Your Railings

My house is nearing its 100th birthday. A house that old goes through several iterations of most items that make a house: roof, furnace, flooring, etc. My porch was looking every bit its age and needed a facelift.

The deck of the porch had been well preserved by the numerous previous residents. Instead of stripping the current coating of paint before applying a new one, they just added a new layer, after layer, after layerthen carpet on top of that. While that practice is insane, it did keep the deck wood in pretty good shape. And except for that scorched spot where a homeless person built a fire while the property was vacant, stripping and sanding followed by some wood preservative had it looking great. The railings on the other hand were hopeless. There was no way to get all of those coats of paint off of the nooks and crannies of the balusters, and the status of the wood itself was questionable.

How To Install Railings In Concrete For Safer More Stylish Outdoor Living

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I was going to pick up a couch from my friends father-in-law, and when I arrived at the house, I was shocked to pull up to the black gate of Mordor. His father-in-laws house is built on a hill, and has a seven-foot-high retaining wall in the front yard. Below the wall is a large koi pond. Normally, behind this is an area made out of pavers, with patio furniture and a cloth-covered pavilion. When I visited, though, this seating area had been replaced with piles of dirt and a series of four-inch-wide steel tubes driven into the dirt behind the wall. They were crooked, and the overall aesthetic was that of an evil overlord from a fantasy novel.

When my friends mother-in-law answered the door, I asked her if theyd beaten the medieval army. Laughing, she replied that her husband was putting up a railing to keep the grandkids from tumbling into the pond, and that they were still working it out. It dawned on me then that the average DIYer is not always familiar with how to install railings in concrete, and that I might be able to help.

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Regular Drill Can Be Used To Install Porch Railing

Q: I want to install a waist-high railing between the exterior wall of my home and a column on my front porch. The railing has holes at the bottom so that it can be mounted into the concrete, but therein lies my problem. How can I do that?

Q: I want to install a waist-high railing between the exterior wall of my home and a column on my front porch. The railing has holes at the bottom so that it can be mounted into the concrete, but therein lies my problem. How can I do that?

A: Securing the railing into the concrete is surprisingly simple: Choose an anchoring method, drill a hole and secure the railing.

Mounting something into concrete uses the same principle as that of a toy that I remember. I think it was called Chinese handcuffs, and it was a little tube just large enough so you could stick your index fingers into each end. It was made of a woven bamboo-type material and after you stuck your fingers in and then pulled to get them out, the weave in the handcuffs would stretch and not let go of your fingers.

The beauty of this gadget was that as you struggled to remove your fingers, you were defenseless to protect your lunch money. Oh, the horrors of the playground.

Anyway, the hole you drill into the concrete will house a fastener that will expand to hold down the rail. The more you tighten the fastener, the more pressure is exerted against the concrete walls and the tighter the object is held to the concrete.

Choosing Your Railing Type

When you choose your railing, you should be taking three things into consideration the style of your home, your budget, and the purpose of the railing. A purely decorative railing can be made safe and secure, but you might place the posts farther apart than you would if safety were your primary concern.

You have several options for railing types that go far beyond the style. When youre choosing, you can mix and match to have one material for the posts and another for the guardrails to get the look you want.

Wood is a classic choice that fits a wide range of home styles and can be painted to blend into the house colors. You should consider building it of cedar as it doesnt warp, which improves long-term stability. One downside is wood can rot, especially if you dont maintain it properly.

Metal resists that decay and can come in detailed patterns that make it easy to fit the style of your house. Stainless steel is commonly chosen for modern and sleek looks, while painted aluminum is inexpensive, but short-lasting. Wrought iron provides an upscale look, is stronger, and can last for years as long as you keep it painted to prevent rust.

Synthetic options combine wood particles with resin and vinyl and can be colored and textured to mimic wood. Its more expensive up front, but it doesnt fade, splinter, or crack and needs no sealing. There are limited styles and colors available, though.

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Attach Balusters To Top Rail

Lay the top rail on the ground on its side. If you use a sawhorse, the weight of the baluster will bend and possibly break at the attachment point. While the length of your screw might vary, I needed 3 1/2-inch screws to sufficiently attach the balusters to the thick top rail.

Start the screw into the top rail and screw it in until the point is barely poking out of the bottom of the top rail. Align the hole in the baluster with the screw . Use a power drill until the baluster is snug against the underside of the top rail and the screw is slightly countersunk. The drilling may twist the baluster some, you can twist it back with your hand. Repeat for all balusters.

Finished railing assembly

Tom Lohr

Porch Railing Installation Steps

Installing the BEST Aluminum Railing for a Concrete Porch

Lets turn to the steps for how to install porch railing. Depending on the size of your porch, a professional crew should be able to get everything installed in a day. If youre trying to do it yourself, your skill level and how many family members youre able to rope into helping will have a lot to do with how long the job takes.

The process starts by installing the posts also called balusters which provide vertical support. These are secured to the supporting structure below the porch floorboards, not the porch floor itself. This means they can be installed directly into a concrete foundation if you have one.

Its important for these to be properly aligned and secured to ensure your installation is stable. Wobbly balusters mean a wobbly railing. The distance between them needs to be precise to ensure the horizontal rail fits perfectly.

Next, the balustrades or guardrails go on. These are screwed or nailed in place depending on the type of material you chose.

The last step is to tackle any finishing touches. This involves caulking joints as needed, covering screw heads, and applying a final coat of paint.

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