It is also an excellent way to evaluate the workability and durability of a composite material before investing in a larger project.
Be Safe: Know Your Local Building Code
Keep in mind when installing any type of handrail that your local building code should be consulted for height and spacing between balusters, as well as other requirements. By following these guidelines you can help ensure that your new composite handrail will not be a hazard.
You should also consider whether what type of composite handrail will best fit your home.
Some composites can be stained or painted, while others are made to meet specific colors. If maintenance is a concern, you should obviously choose the latter.You should also be aware that the corner posts are often hollow, or sometimes sleeves that are meant to be placed over an existing post.
Corner Posts Get the Party Started
Always start by installing the corner posts first. If there are existing corner posts, place a composite sleeve over the post and screw it into place. For decks or porches without a corner post, use L-brackets to attach a solid or hollow corner post.
Step-By-Step Instructions to Install Your Composite Handrail
- Measure between the corner posts to determine the required length for the rails.
- Then begin the installation by deciding on the spacing between balusters and how many you will need on each rail. Plan to install a baluster at both ends of the rail, but save these for later.
- For the remaining balusters, mark the midpoint of the rail, as well as where each baluster will be installed.
- Drill pilot holes into the bottom rail, then using a galvanized screws attach each baluster.
With the balusters attached to the bottom rail, use the same technique to attach them to the top rail.
- Now, take the reserved balusters and attach them to the center of each corner post, appropriately spaced from the top of the deck.
- Lift the rails and balusters into place, balancing it on the end balusters.
- Screw from the top and bottom of the rail into the baluster to secure the rail.
A Rail Cap Tops It Off
Finish this project by installing a rail cap that will conceal the screw heads on the top rail from view. Attach it by screwing from the bottom of the top rail between the balusters and into the underside of the top rail.
Consider Your Carpentry Skills Before Attempting
Building a professional looking handrail depends on your ability to measure accurately and use a cordless drill with ease. If you haven’t had a lot of experience with either of these tasks, consider calling a professional who will do the job for you.
I have a lot of hands-on experience in the home construction industry, with a good deal of experience in sustainable building. I’m mostly interested in home restoration and home renovations.