How to install wooden handrails on a deck

Written by michael straessle
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How to install wooden handrails on a deck
Simple but lovely handrails. (

Installing a handrail around the deck can also make the deck more attractive. The good thing about this installation is that it requires a minimal amount of woodworking ability. As with most woodworking projects, you can make a handrail for a deck as elaborate or as simple as you desire.

Things you need

  • 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) pretreated timber
  • Carpenter's square
  • Electric mitre saw
  • Variable speed drill
  • Phillips head screw tip
  • 5 cm (2 inch) deck screws
  • Carpenter's level

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  1. 1

    Measure the perimeter of the deck and record your findings. Next, divide that number by the length of your timber to determine how many short pieces will need to be cut to fill in the gaps.

  2. 2

    Place two rows of the timber around the perimeter to be certain that it fits correctly. These are the top and bottom of the handrail. Starting from one end, make a mark every 40 cm (16 inches). Place the carpenter's square on those marks and draw a line across them. As you go, place an "X" on the side of the mark where the studs will be installed.

  3. 3

    Count the number of studs needed and cut them to the desired length with the electric mitre saw. This length will represent the height of your handrail. Be certain to count two studs in the corners to secure the next handrail to it.

  4. 4

    Place the studs around the perimeter of the deck where you have marked for them. Secure the studs to the tops and bottoms of the handrail with the deck screws.

  5. 5

    Stand one of the handrails up, position it on the desired location of the deck and secure it with the deck screws. Plumb the corners of the handrail along with the ends that attach to the house with a carpenter's level.

Tips and warnings

  • Drilling pilot holes for the studs will make the assembly a little easier.
  • As an option, you can use spindles instead of 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) studs.

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