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Old 07-09-2008, 07:53 PM   #1
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Hi all,

I have a quick (hopefully or relatively quick) question regarding deck railing posts.

I am planning on doing inside rim-joist 4X4 posts. The question I have is - is it better to do it with from installing the decking or after installing the decking? I've previously done outside rim-joists but this one is a little different.

I've researched and seen both ways but which is the best? I'm thinking and I could definitely be wrong on this but I'm thinking it might be better to do it after the decking is on.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:47 PM   #2
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Trying to understand the question. You're mounting the posts to the interior side of the rim joists, right? If you are going to do that then you should mount the posts to the rim before laying any decking on the deck. Start your decking at the outer piece at the rim joist and work toward the house.

Let me suggest this...
Why not notch the posts halfway out to accept the rim joist? That way the outer edge of the post lays flush with the outer edge of the rim joist. It would also eliminate the need for cutting a thin piece of decking to go around the post over the top of the rim joist. The notch is cut in the post the exact thickness and depth of the rim. Use a circular saw set at the thickness of the rim to make cuts perpindicular to the grain about 1/4" apart. It doesn't have to be neat! When you've cut a bunch of cuts and formed the notch, bash the cuts with a hammer to knock out the cuttings, and clean it up with a chisel. The chisel work will be concealed by the rim so it doesn't have to be pretty. This method makes for a cleaner look, and a much more solid connection than you can get with any other way.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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Deck Railing Post installation...


thekctermite, you understood very well with the interior of the rim joist.

Am I understanding you're suggestion correctly, whereas notch the 4X4 the width and length of the rim joist just like you would do an outside (exterior) rim-joints post but switch it so instead of outside it's inside (interior). Is that correct? If so, what is the preferred manner of connection - screws with carriage bolts or lag screws? If that's not correct, then I'm not really understanding.

Last edited by davis_mc; 07-09-2008 at 09:33 PM. Reason: adjusted "whereas notch" to indicate the notch.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:22 AM   #4
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Termite, I'm normally in agreement w/ your advice on this site but I gotta jump into this one...

Notching the posts creates a weak point at the notched part and an additional chance of the post splitting up from the notch. Leave the posts whole, block around them (before installing decking) so that the notched decking has a solid surface under it on all sides, lag (or use LedgerLoks) the post to the rim joist and blocking, then deck (notching around the posts).

Attached is an example of blocking around a handrail post. 1/2" carriage bolts go through the rim joist, 4x4 and 2x blocking behind the 4x4. This was for a little TimberTech demo deck I built out front of a local lumberyard. The whole thing was set directly on the cinder fill...

Mac
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:52 AM   #5
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Deck Railing Post installation...


FWIW: In the past, we have installed deck railing posts with notches, and without (whole), and always lagged & blocked them, as depicted and discussed.
However, our practice now, is also as Mac suggested, we install them Whole for the same reasons (Less likely-hood of splitting and other issues at a notched section). We always lag and block-in.
Essentially, the steps we use are: Build deck structural frame, install whole rail posts -using lags and blocking, install deck boards, install rail assemblies.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 07-10-2008 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Clarification: Speaking about railing posts
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:58 AM   #6
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Mac, I guess I agree with your thoughts about the increased potential for splitting and checking down the road with my method. Anytime you remove material that's a possibility.

Leaving the entire post intact will certainly make for potentially stiffer guardrail posts. I almost always use 6x6, so it has never been an issue for me.

I don't agree that a bolted and blocked connection is stronger in terms of supporting the deck and the live loads on the deck. That's a connection governed by shear. Bearing the rim joist or other beams directly on the perpendicular grain of the post is a substantially stronger connection, as it is reliant on the compressive strength of the end grain as opposed to the shear strength of a bolted/lagged connection.

I'm not arguing that my way is right and your way is wrong. Both are certainly good ways of doing the same thing.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:08 AM   #7
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Mac, that's exactly what I was thinking on the inside rim-joist as what you have in the picture.

I am a little confused as to the decking in that situation though. I am using composite decking and nail it down at least 1" from the edge to avoid splitting. I take the full length of the decking and notch out where the post is about 4" inches or 3 1/2 length for the post and then how ever deep to that the decking is flush to the post? I'm using 1x6 decking.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
I almost always use 6x6, so it has never been an issue for me.

I don't agree that a bolted and blocked connection is stronger in terms of supporting the deck and the live loads on the deck. That's a connection governed by shear. Bearing the rim joist or other beams directly on the perpendicular grain of the post is a substantially stronger connection, as it is reliant on the compressive strength of the end grain as opposed to the shear strength of a bolted/lagged connection.
Hey guy, couple of replies.
First, I don't remember the last time I used 6x6s for handrail posts - all my stuff is 4x4s, so notching 1 1/2" out of the bottom takes you down to 2" of meat. 4x4s are a much more common handrail post so advice given here should reflect that.
Second, we're talking about handrail posts, not support posts. There's no way in hell I would lag or bolt a support beam to the side of a support post - you need to transfer the load positively all the way to the ground -that means beams sit on top of the support posts. So yes, we are in complete agreement...on both topics!

Mac
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:42 AM   #9
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Quote:
Originally Posted by davis_mc View Post
I take the full length of the decking and notch out where the post is about 4" inches or 3 1/2 length for the post and then how ever deep to that the decking is flush to the post?
I read through this a couple of times and still have no idea what you're asking!

If you are installing composite handrail post sleeves over the pt 4x4s, you can be a little more generous with the notched cuts in your decking - the sleeve and post skirt will cover 1" of decking all the way around the post.

For decking running in parallel w/ the handrail posts, start your first deck board hanging over the rim joist by 1" (go 2" if using fascia). You'll then need to notch out about 3" or 4" x 3 3/4" for each post. That board is going to be VERY prone to breaking at the notches so when you move it from the cut table to the deck edge, support it with another (uncut) deck board.
Your next board will have notches too so the hr posts are fully surrounded by decking.

Clear as mud?

For decking running perpendicular to hr posts, just line up the deck board, make marks where the notch needs to go, cut and fit.

Mac
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Mac,

What I'm referring to is this attached as a jpg saved from MS Visio.


I tried 2 depictions. One there it's all on one decking and one where it's split on 2.

The post sleeve goes on post (obviously. :-) ) and only goes down to the decking. It doesn't go below the decking...right?

The parts on the rim joist needs to be screwed in but that has to be at least 1" from the end. The rim-joist is a 2" (about and 1" 1/2 - 1" 3/4") so I'm risking a crack correct?

Am I making sense on the picture and all? I know I'm probably not giving it justice.
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Last edited by davis_mc; 07-10-2008 at 11:14 AM. Reason: I goofed a little on the right site arrow showing the post. The "POST" text is missing and the arrow is going into the space.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:07 AM   #11
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuiltByMAC View Post
Second, we're talking about handrail posts, not support posts. There's no way in hell I would lag or bolt a support beam to the side of a support post - you need to transfer the load positively all the way to the ground -that means beams sit on top of the support posts. So yes, we are in complete agreement...on both topics!
Mac
Ahhh...I totally missed that these were only rail posts and not support posts. Guess I'm eating crow for lunch! Yup, we agree in full!!!
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:18 PM   #12
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Quote:
Originally Posted by davis_mc View Post
The post sleeve goes on post (obviously. :-) ) and only goes down to the decking. It doesn't go below the decking...right?
Post sleeve sits on top of decking - that way it hides the generous notch around the post.

Attached is a diagram of decking notched around posts - the black dots are screws, the red dots are screw holes that should be overdrilled - predrill w/ #10 countersink to completely hollow out the board. That way the screw doesn't exert any pressure on the deck board, merely pins it to the joist.

If the notch is less than 2" into the board, I don't usually screw right next to the notched part. If you're notching out a big chunk of the board, running screws in to those notched edges (next to the posts) will keep the deck board from lifting up down the road.

Make sense?

Mac
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Gotchya, makes sense now. I didn't even think about the predrilling but thanks.

Thanks for the valuable information and appreciate it very much!
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:56 PM   #14
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Deck Railing Post installation...


DIYEthan,

Great information and thanks. I do have on question and the timing was impecable. I'm not entirely sure but I wanted to check. I'm not sure how much is athestics vs. strong support. To me they are the same.

Here is the question:


Basically should I bolt from the rimjoist or the inner joists? They are both 2X8 so support I would thing would be the same. But I could be wrong. On the one with the post in the middle I would fill the space with like another 4x4. Bolting from the outside. I don't have a facia so the bolt heads would be visible.

It might be an asthetic thing but I wanted to get other information as well.

Please let me know.

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:51 PM   #15
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Deck Railing Post installation...


Actually, the more I think about and and correct me if I'm wrong. But the putting the carriage bolts from the outside of the rim joist or header through to the post 4X4 is the better way to go because of potential maintenance. It would be must easier to replace the joist (if need be) if there weren't carriage bolts through it.

I could always do a facia over the rim joist to cover the carriage bolt heads.

Is that a good approach?
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