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Builder
Builder, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 30
Experience:  Fifty years of hands-on home construction and remodeling experience.
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Need advice on railing x 10 porch....

Customer Question

need advice on railing for 17 x 10 porch....
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will be glad to help you.

Can you give me more details about your question? For example:

what is your deck made from.

How high off the ground is it.

Does it have steps to the ground.

and anything else that may give me some direction as to your needs.

I will look forward to your reply.

Steve

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

hi

it is a cement top porch, brick on the exterior, 10 x 17, about 36" off the ground, with 4 steps down the front

Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

OK. That information is helpful.

There are a few options, but for any, fastening it to the concrete and or brick face is key.

It would be helpful if I had a picture or 2... they would narrow the options considerably. Can you attach a couple of pictures of the porch and the brick face?

If you are unable to supply pictures I will have a few more questions, and I will likely send you a sketch of the typical porch/ face situation to make sure we are on the same page.

I look forward to your reply.

Steve

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

This picture was very helpful (nice porch, by the way). I have devised a way to do the railing.

I think that the best way to put handrails on this porch is to NOT anchor the balustrade/ railings to the porch, for the following reasons:

1) the brick border probably will not stand up to the hammer drilling for the kind of fasteners that would be required, and if it would, it would gradually loosen bricks at the mortar joints.

2) There is no practical or attractive way to mount the posts and balusters below the brick overhang.

However, with eight posts in the ground at appropriate places, you can hang the handrails and lower bands, and then fasten balusters between them. This has the advantage of being completely independent of the porch while providing an attractive handrail system on the porch and steps. You can put in any number of balusters, but the height of this porch might fall into certain code restrictions, if you are in a municipality that issues permits and inspects things like this.

If this sounds workable to you I will send you a sketch that will be sufficient to build this.

I'll look for your reply.

Steve

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes please send sketch

Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

OK. I will put it together and send it by the end of today. You will get it by AM tomorrow.

Steve

Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I have attached the sketch that I promised. It is not to scale, but it shows the relative placement of all the parts. Click on the link below (If you have trouble with the link please let me know):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/164tiab3vplf7sg/sketch%20of%20handrail.jpg?dl=0

The parts should either be pressure treated or Western Red Cedar for rot resistance. Fasteners should be deck screws (not drywall screws... so they do not rust). Pre drill holes for all screws (about the diameter of the screw) through the first member to be fastened and let the screw self tap through the second piece of wood.

Begin with the holes in the ground, then...

Place the posts and plumb them. You do not have to mix concrete with water. The moisture from the soil and rain will set it. Make sure the posts are long enough for the height of the handrail that you want.

Next, install the handrails from post t post on the porch side of the posts.

Next install the bottom bands.

Then install the balusters. Balusters should be installed plumb.

If you give this some thought at every step and place the parts temporarily until you are sure you have it correct, you should be able to do this well. Remember, I sketched this the way that it should be assembled (general placement of posts, balusters, locations. and joints)

Give it plenty of thought before you begin.

I am ready to be rated, but if you have questions, I will continue.

Thank you,

Steve

Expert:  Builder replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I haven't heard from you yet. Do you have questions about the sketch that I sent? If so, I will be glad to answer them. Or, if you need some revision to it I will try to accommodate.

Thanks,

Steve

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