Top Rail Support Question - Need unique solution

by Mike
(Valley Forge, PA)

I'm getting to the point in my deck build where I will be adding the railing.

I plan on doing a cable railing system which will run the cable horizontal and I plan on using PVC decking (matches what I put down for the floor) for my top rail.

My issue becomes top rail support, the PVC material can't span more than 16" without risk of sagging. Obviously I can run a 2x4 on edge and that should offer adequate support on a 6'run.

However I didn't want any bare pressure treated wood showing. I have post covers for all of my 4x4 railing support posts, so throwing in bare pressure treated 2x4's as the top rail support would ruin the look in my opinion.

Does anyone have a different solution to offer?

I've looked for 2x4 PVC sleeves and they don't appear to exist so I'm in a bit of a pickle on how to finish this part of the deck.

Not sure what material I can run that will offer the strength as wood 2x4's.




Editor's Comments

You have a nice design in mind and a flat cap rail that ties in color wise with the decking is a nice classy touch.

I would not use a 2x4 on edge either for all the reasons you just mentioned and because it will look cheap.

A Simple Solution

This is where I think you could do a really nice job by taking a bit more time and going down to a local metal shop. There are lots of them around like Metal Supermarket and many more.

Aluminum Tubing

Take a look at aluminum tubing and select a profile with an adequate wall thickness that would provide the rigidity you require.

Also pick up some L shaped angle bar and most shops will cut it on site for you for a small charge. Get a bunch of them cut into small enough pieces that they would fit inside the profile and they will be used to secure the bar to the posts.

You can even hide them inside the tubing if you want to.

Powder Coating

Then spend a few dollars at a local powder coating shop do an exact color match with the decking cap rail. Just show them the board and they will pull out all the RAL paint charts and get a match.

This would not be expensive to do.

And voila! You are. Just one idea. If someone else has a nice idea, please share with Mike.

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