My railing is cuter than yours

Just sayin’. It’s really cute! We actually finished it several months ago, but I was hoping to be able to share a picture of it painted, so I waited. Unfortunately, we didn’t get around to painting it yet, so that will probably be a spring project. Here’s what it looked like when we last shared deck pictures.


Not much of a railing yet…

Since we wanted the 4×4 railing supports to be screwed into the inside of the joists instead of the outside, we installed them before we laid down the deck planks. We didn’t cut them right away, because we wanted to be able to measure the height from the surface of the deck once the planks were installed.

It’s a low deck and we don’t have to adhere to a certain height for our railing (42″ for tall decks, I think), so we decided to make our railing a bit shorter so it doesn’t obstruct the view of our yard. We’re hoping to build a bench to go in front using the railing as a “back”, so we figured 36″, about the height of the back of a chair, would be ideal. We cut off the extra, and then installed the straightest 2×4 we could find across the top.


We don’t love traditional deck railings, so we wanted to do something a little different. We also wanted to make it more comfortable for the back of a seat (if we ever get around to building a bench, of course), so we thought why not a horizontal railing? The only thing we’re nervous about is that this does encourage small children to climb it (which for tall decks means a safety hazard!), so we’re a bit worried the balusters could break. But for 98 cents a piece, it wouldn’t be a big deal to replace one here or there.

This was my inspiration.


Source unkown

So we bought several packs of these deck balusters (98 cents per baluster) from Lowe’s and got to work. First, we laid several out on the ground and decided how far apart we wanted them. Then we did the math to figure out how many would be in each section and how far apart to draw the lines.

To make sure they would line up from one section to the next, we measured and marked the line for each on the first and last support, and then snapped a chalk line across the middle supports.


Then we knew that each piece needed to line up directly under those marks.


Because the railing supports aren’t exactly the same distance apart everywhere, I held up one piece at a time in the spot it would go and marked where it should be cut.


I numbered each one as I measured. This way, we knew they would fit as snugly as possible. We didn’t want gaps on the ends, so it really was necessary to measure them individually.


Andrew cut them after I measured and then pre-drilled holes at an angle through each end.


It was slightly uncomfortable for Andrew, but we did manage to screw them in from the bottom, so you don’t see the screws at all. Not sure why this looks like there’s a smaller gap between the bottom two, but there isn’t. It’s the same as all the others.


Eventually we are going to install one more row along the very bottom (we might have to screw those in from the back and then fill the holes), but we left that row out so it would be easier to stain underneath.


And here’s the somewhat finished result! Minus the bottom row, priming and painting…


And one random spindle that was too short that needs to be redone. Also, ignore the partial staining. These were the only pictures I had of the almost completed railing.


Anyway, can you visualize how cute it will be?? I am in love with it! (And by the way, we have finished 2 coats of stain on the deck, but it was too much for one post. I’ll try to share that soon, too!)


I was a bit nervous about how to do the railing and make sure it was all straight, but once we got started it really wasn’t that hard! Thank goodness for the chalk line! It made it sooo much easier! So now we just need to finish installing the last couple pieces, fill some gaps and then prime and paint once the weather is nice again! So…next spring?

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