Wooden porch railing components

Written by cheryl l. krueger
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Wooden porch railing components
Front porch (Porch Hammock image by Andrew Kazmierski from Fotolia.com)

Wooden porches or verandas grace the front of many homes and create a welcome-home feeling. Wooden porch railings are available in many styles and can be painted in basic white or coloured patterns. Cypress wood is considered the best type of wood for outdoor porches. Cypress holds paint very well and is resistant to the affects of weathering and decay. It is recommended that all porch wood is primed first before painting. Oil based or latex paint can be used. However, always use the same paint type when repainting or touching up wood. Switching between oil based and latex paint will cause peeling.

Porch Post/Column

Porch posts or columns extend from the porch ceiling to the floor of the porch and support the porch roof. Railings are attached to the porch posts. Posts are available in many styles such as, square, rounded or ornately carved. Posts are positioned in porch corners and evenly spaced along the front of the porch.

Wooden porch railing components
Decorated porch (cape may bed and breakfast porch image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com)


There are two parts to porch railings, the base railing, (spindles are attached to the base railing) and the top handrail which covers the base railing. Porch railings provide a safety barrier along porches. Railings are available in several styles. Whether square, rounded or carved with details, railings offer support and outline the perimeter of porches.


Balusters, or spindles, are usually 36 inches tall and are offered in varying widths and styles. Balusters are placed between top railings and the bottom rail. Balusters are usually spaced 4 inches apart. Styles of balusters come in an array of choices and set the decorative tone of the porch.

Wooden porch railing components
Inviting porch (home sweet home image by David Dorner from Fotolia.com)

Newel Posts

Newel posts are used as a shorten version of porch posts and are often decorated with carved tops in the shape of balls or points. Newel posts are positioned at the end of porch railings either in front of porch steps or near porch entrances. Newel posts are as thick as corresponding porch posts and should match the porch post design.

Bottom Rail/Kickspace

Bottom railings support porch balusters and are usually positioned a few inches from the porch floor. The space between the bottom railing and porch floor is known as the kickspace. Kickspace blocks are small pieces of wood that are attached between the porch floor and bottom rail and provide railing support.

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