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Old 11-21-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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Load test on a porch railing


Hello All,

I am new to the forum. Thanks for having me. I tore down a small house in Nashville and rebuilt. I am not a carpenter, but a DIYer. I did everything except the concrete footers and concrete front porch with the help of a young man I hired from a Craigslist ad. He is the best worker I've ever hired. It turned out pretty well, but far from perfect. It is a very plain house. It is an 1100 sf rectangle 32'x34'. I probably have 60-70k in it, plus the 40k purchase price. In order to get a C of O, I have to install a front porch railing and a rear porch/deck. I'm way out of money and my permit is set to expire end of November. The porch is 32' wide and 8' deep with 5' steps about 18" off center on the 32' side. I have four floor to ceiling wooden posts 7"x7" along the edge of the porch - they are just clear 1x6 pine nailed together and painted. The porch has a 2' overhang all the way around and doesn't see a lot of water. The two center posts, like the steps, are not evenly spaced. I have about 12' between two posts and 10' between the other two. I've looked at thousand of pictures online and I've attached what I would like to accomplish and I hope you good folks will answer a couple questions/solve a couple dilemmas.

The picture appears to be a vertical 2x4 for the bottom rail and a horizontal 2x4 for the top rail and 2x4 balusters flush with the bottom rail.

I thought I'd use clear southern pine and three coats of paint. And KregJig and screw the whole thing together and somehow fill all the holes. Does this make sense?

Do you think a railing built thusly would meet the IRC 200 lb force minimum without newel posts between the 12' and 10' openings? I would install a few blocks between the bottom rail and the porch deck.

Lastly and one of my dilemmas, on the two ends of the porch, the 7" post is not centered with the 3 1/2" vertical corner board of the houses when viewed from the front, so I cannot secure the rails to the house without having a strange step in the rails where they meet the house. The house is sided with hardi. Any ideas?

I will get to the step railing dilemmas later, if you choose to help me. I'm sorry for the long post.

Russell
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:13 PM   #2
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Load test on a porch railing


Really need a picture of your house.
All the railings need to be a rot resistant wood or pressure treated.
Just plain pine is going to rot.
Check out Lowes they sell a top rail that has bevels on the top so water does not just lay on the top, act's like a mini roof.

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Old 11-21-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Load test on a porch railing


Here is a photo - I think.

I will look at Lowes for the pt top rail. My concern is that it is not easily painted and tends to twist and crack.

Thanks,
Russell
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #4
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Load test on a porch railing


The photo is somewhat old. The house is now painted. The trin is all painted gray, like the facia. The body of the house is a dark green and the front door is orange.

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Russell
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:51 AM   #5
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Load test on a porch railing


Looks like it's to late now but I think I would have used wider outside corner trim on the front corners of the house so I'd have some place to attach the railings or at least some solid siding blocks.
Are those preformed steps?
If so your going to find there not going to hold screws well. Consider setting the post beside the stoop, not attached to it.
The idea way to do this would be with a composite rail system. Main reason is the way the post could be mounted to the slab.
Here's a just an example.
http://www.thedeckstoreonline.com/36...ost-mount.html

Main reasons why wooden railings fail is lack of mantaince.
Coating before allowing it to dry out.
Using paint instead of solid stain.
Having any of the rails laying flat.

One trick I do is once the railing in place I add composite decking material to the top of the top rails using construction adhesive and screws put in from the bottom.
Gives you a nice look, a place to set a drink, no screws showing, protects the wood below it.
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Last edited by joecaption; 11-22-2013 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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Load test on a porch railing


Thanks for the replies, Joe.

Yeah, i wish I had installed wider corner board - poor planning. I think I'm going to remove the corner board and cut the siding back and install a wider board. It's gonna be a lot of work, but it has to be done. I'm thinking I need a 7 1/4" piece of Hardi. It's 3 1/2" right now.

How bout the KregJig? Do you think that's a good idea? It sure makes for a strong joint. Lotta holes to fill, though.

And I reckon I will place one newel post between the left two posts and one between the right two posts for rigidity.

The steps are poured solid. I will put two posts at the top of the steps and two at the bottom of the steps. I was thinking 4x4 newel posts wrapped in something, then a premade cap to go on top.

As far as the pt lumber goes, why would a pine railing be more susceptible to rot than the pine fascia and the pine posts?
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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Load test on a porch railing


Hello,

I am installing a porch rail and I wonder how to test the rail to ensure that my posts meet the 200 lb code requirement? Will the inspector have some sort of gauge that he uses when he inspects?

Many Thanks
Russell
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:37 AM   #8
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Load test on a porch railing


I have never seen an inspector perform a scientific test on a railing. No doubt it can be done, but I have not seen it. Around where I live, they check to make sure the railing and posts were installed in accordance with the Prescriptive Guide to Residential Decks. If you build it in accordance with the book, they pass you. If you deviate, I suppose you have to prove to them that it works. Everyone builds to the book.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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Load test on a porch railing


Posting a picture of the railing might help to see if your on the right track.
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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Load test on a porch railing


I will post a pic and a drawing as soon as I can. But not on Turkey day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And go Lions.

Russell
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:51 AM   #11
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Load test on a porch railing


And one more thing. Thanks for the replies. And the house is in Nashville, Tennessee.


Russell
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:06 AM   #12
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Load test on a porch railing


if you deviate from the norm, instead of them testing your new way to put up railing they will fail you and tell you to take it down and install it correctly and then charge to come back and pass if you succeed. good luck
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:17 PM   #13
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Load test on a porch railing


Just build it to code and you will be fine. and don't go opening your mouth saying this rail will support x number of psf etc... or the inspector will want proof. a lot of times they show up look at it and drive away.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:40 PM   #14
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Load test on a porch railing


Some folks at Virginia Tech found that several popular post connection details do not technically meet the 200lb load requirement:
http://www.jlconline.com/lumber/stro...den-decks.aspx

They found that metal connectors provide the needed strength, and such connectors are in fact now prescribed by the AWC deck guide. See page 16:
http://www.awc.org/publications/dca/dca6/dca6-09.pdf
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:26 AM   #15
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Load test on a porch railing


Attached are a couple of drawings of my railing. For the newel posts, I was planning to sandwich two 2x4s together and run 1/2" threaded rod down the center and epoxy the rod into the concrete slab and put a nut and washer on top to hold it down and then wrap it with finish material. i was gonna do the same thing for the posts on the steps, which are poured concrete.

I have two threads started and I think they should be merged into one. Not sure why I started two different threads.
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