How to attach a wood rail post to side of the house?

My house has wood siding and I would like to know how to attach a wood rail post to the side of the house.

Do i cut out the siding to fit the post then anchor it to house or do I shim it out and leave the siding?

Editor's Comments

Watch this video first and then read the comments below. Be careful if you start cut away the siding to accommodate a railing post.

Comments for How to attach a wood rail post to side of the house?

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Apr 29, 2011
Be very careful about cutting away siding
by: Editor-Rich Bergman

There are a couple ways to deal with the last post nearest to the wall of a home, none of which envision cutting away the siding. Cutting away the siding to neatly fit the post into is problematic unless dealt with very carefully.

Once you cut away the siding you break the envelope of the home. This exposes your home to a host of potential moisture problems and even heat loss.

It would require some good engineering and very detailed mechanical flashing and sealing techniques between the post and wall sheeting not to mention the bottom area where the siding begins again because of snow or sleet or water tending to drain to the bottom area.

Can be done. But not recommended.

More common and less problematic is to use a post that is attached only to the deck and therefore must withstand the load imposed on that railing span.

Another technique is for the post to remain attached only to the deck but the top rail to continue over the post top and butt up against the wall of the home. The top rail is then secured to the wall of the house but mechanical brackets and fasteners. The fasteners would pierce the building envelope and would have to be caulked and sealed properly and checked annually to ensure their integrity.

This however entails only checking two or three screw holes as opposed to an entire swath of siding removed and leaving vulnerable the envelope of the home. Its risk management basically.

In addition you can place shims against the siding in a reverse or opposite profile to the siding so that a firm contact surface is created for any post that you may wish to bolt through and into the wall of the house.

This can work but again is a bit riskier because you are piercing the building envelope and if you are using a wall to connect to it should have blocking built into the wall studs while the home was constructed. This gives extra strength and reduces vulnerability to water ingress if caulked and sealed properly.

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