Installing Deck Rail Posts
1. Determine where you want your rail posts. You will need one at each corner. Position the others as evenly spaced as possible.
2. Codes typically require that posts be no more than 6 feet apart. Mark for post centers, then draw lines to indicate the sides of the post.
3. Cut the post to length. Draw a line marking where the post should meet the top of the framing, and tack a nail there as a height guide.
4. Hold the post in position, resting on the tacked nail from step 3. Use clamps to hold it temporarily in place, making sure the clamps will not get in the way of the bolts you will install. Check that the post is plumb in both directions. If the post is out of plumb in the direction shown in the photo, use shims to make it plumb.
5. Drill two holes through the outside framing and the post. The holes should be in the center of the post, 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the top and bottom of the framing. You will need a long drill bit the exact size of the bolts’ shaft (usually, 1/2 inch). Aim to hold the drill bit straight and level as you work. When the going gets tough, pull the bit out to release wood chips, then go at it again. If the bit starts to smoke from being too hot, stop work and allow the bit to cool off. Otherwise, you will dull the bit in short order.
6. Pound the bolts through the holes with a hammer. Use at least 5" long bolts for 4x4 rail posts.
Comments & QuestionsAdd New Comment
Ledgerlok has some bolts they say can be used to attach posts. Is this safe?
Brian S - 6/5/2016 9:11:19 PM - replyShow 1 Replies
Is it practical to anchor the fence post into the ground to help support the deck?
Darren G - 10/3/2016 10:12:41 PM - reply
You say attach 5 " bolts this is incorrect the 4x4and the double beam r 6 1/2" long so a 7"or 8" carriage bolt will work
Charles B - 8/30/2017 5:42:51 PM - reply
...in between the bolts anchoring the post to the deck frame...should I add a "box" around the post?...i.e, box it in?
George M - 11/19/2017 11:58:46 PM - reply
My deck has integral support and guard posts. That is, the support posts were notched for the doubled header, and then continue up to also act as the guard (railing) post. Problem is, that guard part is rotting on some posts. Additionally, all of the guard posts (those that are part of a support post and others that are independently mounted) are incorrectly anchored. The independent ones will be an easy fix. Any ideas about how to remedy the rotted guard posts that are part of support posts? There does not seem to be an easy way to just replace them and properly anchor them.
Michael L - 8/11/2017 2:53:01 PM - reply