Starburst and Chippendale rail patterns offer a unique and interesting alternative to a standard vertical baluster rail style. However keep in mind that you will need to arrange the rail infill to prevent a 4" sphere from passing through. Also longer balusters or pickets are weaker than shorter vertical pieces. Because of this we recommend spacing rail posts less than 4' apart.
A starburst rail uses a cluster of balusters
at the bottom center point of the rail and fans out across the top and sides of the rail section. Start by installing the 2x4 top rail 36" high in between rail posts and the 2x4 bottom rail 4" off the deck floor using 2-1/2" screws. The next step is to mark the center of the bottom rail and install your first 2x2 baluster vertically. Position the next baluster directly to the side of the center baluster on the bottom rail and rotate it at the top to create a 4" opening. Repeat this process on both sides of the center baluster to create the starburst pattern. Make sure that you cannot pass a 4" round ball through any area of the rail when you are finished.
A Chippendale rail uses an X pattern with diagonal balusters. We recommend using 2x4 for the infill members to increase the strength of the rail. We also recommend spacing rail posts less than 6' apart.
The first step is to install the 2x4 top rail 36" high in between rail posts and the 2x4 bottom rail 4" off the deck floor using 2-1/2" screws. The next step is to install a diagonal 2x4 running from the top corner to the bottom corner of the rail section. You can measure the board by holding it behind the rail and marking it with a pencil. The spacing of the rail posts will determine the angle of the diagonal balusters. The next step is to measure and mark the center of the diagonal baluster and installing diagonal balusters in between this center point and the remaining corners of the rail to form an X. Finally install evenly spaced balusters to fill each triangle created by the X following the angle of the diagonal members. Make sure that you cannot pass a 4" round ball through any area of the rail when you are finished.