Replacing a Stair Railing

Sturdy railings prevent deck mishaps -- and your local code probably requires them if your deck is elevated more than one step above the ground. To assure structural integrity, the railing posts must be securely attached to the stairs' stringers or, in the case of bottom railing posts, sunk in concrete.


1. Mark the rail position on the posts and remove the damaged railing. Position the new rail against the inside of the stairway posts. Align the rail with the top rear corner of the top post, and with the mark on the lower post. Have a helper attach the rail temporarily with deck screws.


2. Mark the outline of the post and the deck rail on the back side of the stairway rail.


3. Use a level or combination square to mark a plumb line at the bottom end of the stairway rail, then remove the rail.


4. Cut along the marked outlines using a jigsaw or circular saw. Thoroughly seal the cut ends.


5. Position the stairway rail flush against the top edges of the posts. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes, then attach the rail to the posts with 2 1/2-inch deck screws.


6. If the deck railing has a cap, measure and cut a cap for the stairway rail. Mark the outline of the post on the side of the cap, and bevel-cut the ends. Position the cap over the stairway rail so that the edge of the strip is flush with the inside edge of the rail. Predrilled and fasten with deck screws.



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