DIY Aluminum Railings

Written by bob haring
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Railings are used on porches, decks, around swimming pools, on stairs and other places where a safety barrier or handhold is needed. You can make railings of many materials, but aluminium is attractive, installs easily, is solid and is durable, resistant to weather and decay. Aluminium railings come in many colours and styles, from simple to ornate, to match any house colour scheme or decor Install aluminium railings on concrete or wood porches, against wood or steel posts or alongside wood or concrete steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Metal chop saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Aluminium railing

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  1. 1

    Measure the area for the railing with a tape measure. On a porch, deck or other flat surface, measure the distance between posts, walls or other end points where the railing will be installed. On stairs, measure diagonally down the stairs from the top step to the bottom step or the landing, depending on where the railing needs to end. Add 6 inches to that measurement to get the length needed for the top rail. Buy railing materials as close as possible to the specific dimensions, to reduce cutting.

  2. 2

    Set posts at corners and end points. Install metal brackets which screw into concrete or wood surface with screws and a screwdriver to hold posts at the bottom. Stand posts in the mounts and fasten with screws or according to manufacturer's directions. Add any intermediate posts on a porch or stair; set posts in the middle of the step on stairways. Face openings for railings the right direction.

  3. 3

    Install bottom rail brackets according to manufacturer's directions; some brackets slip into holes in the posts, others are fastened with screws. Attach one rail end in a bracket first, then put the bracket at the other end over the railing and secure it to the next post. Use special stair brackets, which are slanted, on stair railings. Cut rails to fit, if needed, with a metal chop saw.

  4. 4

    Install pickets, balusters or other upright pieces by slipping into holes in the bottom and top rails. Then secure one end of the top rail to a post on one end, add balusters in top and bottom holes and secure the other end with a bracket placed over the rail and fastened to the post. Some brackets slip into holes on the posts and hold the top rail, other types are screwed to end posts. Top-mounted railings fit over the tops of the posts.

Tips and warnings

  • Read manufacturer's directions carefully; installation specifics will vary with the manufacturer.

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