Railing Options for 10 Foot Gap

by Jim
(Modesto, Ca)

I am installing a railing system that has a gap of roughly 10 feet. I have split the difference and want to put a 42" 4x4 post in with a nice cap and have the railings toe-nailed in roughly at the height of 38".

The railings will connect to an existing 4x4 at one end, and to the house on the other end.

What is the best post anchor for this situation? and what railing design would you recommend?

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Mar 06, 2010
Post and Rail Options
by: Editor - Rich Bergan

You have a relatively small and simple area to install railing to.

There are a number of options from traditional wood construction techniques where the posts are bolted to the outside face of the rim joist or if you have access to the inside of the rim joist if you can remove the decking materail to gain access.

Otherwise there are a number of surface mounted railing systems on the market such as aluminum or iron railing and posts that are galvanized and powder coated.

One aluminum railing system that incorporates wood posts and everything is concealed is made by a company called Dek Rail (www.DelRail.ca). Then there is Fortress Railings and they make some great stuff too.

And then there are all the composite material systems which use a post sleeve over a typical 4x4 post installed with the traditional construction techniques mentioned above.

You only need one post in the middle by the sounds of it and the railing sections themselves will be a little less than 5 feet each.

You could place one post in the middle and then posts against each wall and connect the top rail to the walls or just rely on the posts near the walls.

Another option you could consider which might look very nice is a 6x6 post in the center with a nice copper cap and two 4x4 posts near the house walls with the top rail capping the 4x4 post tops and connecting to the house.

You could use the Titan Post Anchor for 6x6 and 4x4 posts.

It has recently undergone engineering testing with Intertek and the 6x6 post anchor with 42" post all by itself had an average load to failure of 503 lbs which surpasses the AC273 guidelines for posts tested in railing sections - not just by themselves. So its a great option.

The 4x4 post anchor and 42 single unsupported post had an average load to failure of 336 lbs. Those are some other options for you.

The one thing I would mention that you should verify is that my understanding is that California changed their building code so that all decks above 30" require guard rails that are 42". If that is the case a 38" rail will not make it.

As you can see there are several options available for you in your application. It's all up to your preference really.

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