No room for post base skirts/collars

We have installed the posts and railings and had planned to add skirts/collars around the base of all the posts.

However, the clearance (between the decking and lower rail) is so slight that none of the examples we've seen out there, including some basic ones we ordered from Lee Valley Tools, fit.

Is there a type of base trim either sits very low or is almost flush?

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Aug 31, 2012
Thanks for your feedback
by: pmikk

Thank you for your feedback.

You are correct that the clearance is about 1/2". Aesthetically, the railings look very nice. If we had it to do over, I suppose cutting the metal rails would have been advisable. Doing it now would mean taking the whole thing apart. Guess the first winter will tell the tale.

Aug 29, 2012
You need 1" clearance for our post skirts
by: Editor-Rich Bergman

The problem I see here in your picture is that the bottom rail is virtually in contact with the composite decking below. I see maybe 1/2" of clearance.

We make a very durable two piece snap fit post skirt but it requires 1" of clearance. There are not other types that I have found less than 1".

This situation exists because you probably just used the aluminum balusters at the set length they are sold to you in. I don't know why the manufacturers to this but it causes problems. Railing can be either 36" or 42" high depending on local codes.

They make two sizes of balusters for 36" or 42" rails but I notice that they cut them to a length that invariably leads to a very low clearance between the bottom edge of the rail to the decking.

The codes allow a maximum gap spacing of 4" from deck to underside of the bottom rail. Yet none of the balusters are cut to the length to allow a DIYer to easily install in this manner. I have had to cut my balusters to that correct length using a metal cutting blade on my miter saw and a jig for accuracy.

If you have snow or you want to spray or sweep off debris, you are in trouble with this kind of a super low bottom railing. From an aesthetic perspective, and I am a stickler for design and proportion that looks artistically pleasing.

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