How to Level Deck Posts

Written by jane humphries
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How to Level Deck Posts
Levelling deck posts produces a straight line around the deck perimeter suitable for railings. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Levelling the posts that border your deck provides a finishing touch that elevates a standard do-it-yourself deck installation into a professional-looking result. The human eye naturally spots uneven lines and height differences in objects that you expect to be uniform, so it is important to know how to level your deck posts to prevent you and your guests been drawn to the post inconsistency instead of appreciating the success of the whole deck design.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line
  • Carpenter's level
  • Straightedge
  • Wood saw
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Post caps (optional)
  • Respirator
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Measure the height of all your deck posts, using a measuring tape, to determine the smallest one so that this post becomes the base height for the rest of the posts. Determining the shortest post prevents you from cutting a height measurement that is too tall for some of your posts, so the measurement preparation can save you a considerable amount of time and effort.

  2. 2

    Hold a chalk line along the top edge of the shortest post, and between the shortest post and the next deck post in line. Hold a carpenter's level up to the taut chalk line and adjust the line at the taller post end until the chalk line is level. Snap the chalk line onto the side of the post to mark the level.

  3. 3

    Draw a line around the other three sides of the post to meet up with the chalk line using a straightedge and a pencil, and with guidance from a carpenter's level. Cut through the post with a wood saw using the lines as your levelling guide. Rub the top of the post with medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the sawn edge.

  4. 4

    Repeat the chalk line levelling procedure between the newly levelled post and your next post in line. Use the same method as you did before to mark, saw and smooth the next post. Continue to level each subsequent post in the same way as you work around your deck.

Tips and warnings

  • Fasten post caps on the top of the sawn posts to create a design aesthetic and to keep rain from penetrating the post. Design a railing between posts to add further interest now that your posts are level.
  • Wear a respirator and safety glasses when sawing the posts to protect yourself against airborne sawdust.

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