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Old 10-26-2010, 09:18 AM   #1
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


My 6 y.o. deck is attached to the house via ledger, as is commonly the case. But my contractor, who is repairing an enormous amount of rot around the house (another story...it's less than 14 years old) had to pull the cedar 2x4 that was vertically attached to the corner board that the railing connected to.

He wants to put a post there and keep it and the railing from touching the house at all. He says that he never allows that when he builds a deck.

Is this normally needed? The corner boards are being replaced (as needed) with Azek, and figured that some combination of that and some other similar heavy piece of composite or PVC or vinyl on the house would allow the railing to remain attached.

I'm not happy with the rigidity of the railing and am afraid it won't "feel" strong enough.


Last edited by tgm1024; 10-26-2010 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


my parents house the deck rail use to be attached to the house, but they just had it rebuilt and they did not attach it with the new deck... to solve the rigidity problem they made the 4x4 most that is the rail post also be the deck support by taking it from the top of the rail all the way into the ground and cemented it in place, it wont budge an inch and is very solid

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Old 10-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #3
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


I didn't attach mine. I could not find anything about it in the code and the requirement brochure my town gave me didn't specify it either.

I wasn't happy w/ the amount of "play" if you can call it that either - so I did get the simpson brackets. I can't remember the name of them, but they basically attach w/ 4 lag bolts into the 2x10 and then to the carriage bolt holding the 4x4 in place on the other side.

One of the main reasons was I didn't feel like driving bolts through the siding and having to worry about leaks in the future.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


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Originally Posted by CoconutPete View Post
I didn't attach mine. I could not find anything about it in the code and the requirement brochure my town gave me didn't specify it either.

I wasn't happy w/ the amount of "play" if you can call it that either - so I did get the simpson brackets. I can't remember the name of them, but they basically attach w/ 4 lag bolts into the 2x10 and then to the carriage bolt holding the 4x4 in place on the other side.

One of the main reasons was I didn't feel like driving bolts through the siding and having to worry about leaks in the future.
Free standing the deck entirely seems to be really catching on. It's a bit of an obvious thing really. Houses have *enough* ways to rot out.

Particularly given that most of the flashing I've seen used on decks is aluminum...and most PT corrodes right through it. That's happening on my 6 y.o. deck already too.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #5
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


You can get brackets which bolt the 4x4 railing post to a joist or blocking. I would do that instead.

How to use Simpson Hold downs for gaurd rails
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:41 PM   #6
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


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You can get brackets which bolt the 4x4 railing post to a joist or blocking. I would do that instead.

How to use Simpson Hold downs for gaurd rails
Yeah those were the ones I bought - thanks haha.

My deck is free standing so it didn't seem right to attach the railing.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


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Yeah those were the ones I bought - thanks haha.

My deck is free standing so it didn't seem right to attach the railing.
How does it look? Is there a decking board to bridge the gap at least visually, or is there a small gutter like space running the length of the deck? I'm curious about that, because I'm fairly sure I will insist on my decking being free standing the next time.

For what it's worth, I'm also likely going with joists at 12" o.c. or (gasp) 14" o.c. (<---ick) just because there seems to be a smidgeon of sag with composites when at 16.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:06 PM   #8
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


no an exterior railing does not have to be fastened to a house.
to code, guard rails have to resist a certain amount of outward force and there are multiple ways to accomplish this, notching the posts or using metal connectors.

if you're replacing your railing, check out this wood railing

@tgm1024: you can bridge the inch gap between deck and house with the decking board no problem and there should be no visual difference between this or any other deck building method if done right. 14" oc = lots of waste
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


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if you're replacing your railing, check out this wood railing
Absolutely stunning. But it looks like it blocks a lot of between-rail visibility from that picture. Does it? My 3/4 round aluminum balusters (forest green) can be seen right through. The standard 2x2's (true 1.5x1.5) are a disaster---I'm so glad I didn't use those. They visually balloon to a true 2.12" at 45.

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@tgm1024: you can bridge the inch gap between deck and house with the decking board no problem and there should be no visual difference between this or any other deck building method if done right. 14" oc = lots of waste
Is that because of the size multiples you buy the decking in? There's endless leftover decking scrap in the deck projects I've seen. 14 makes it that much worse?
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


the view through the laurel railings changes as you walk by it. and it definitely blocks more than a simple vertical pattern.

so the deck boards I buy are generally 12' or 16'. neither of these work out to a 14" oc (12'=144"/14"=10.28...)
basically, you'll never be able to install a full length board
so if you're concerned about stiffening the deck boards, go straight to the 12"oc or a thicker deck board.
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Old 11-05-2010, 06:33 AM   #11
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Should a Deck Rail be attached to the house?


As stated by others, the post does not have to tie into the house. We do not do it as it would create a big hassle to properly flash to ward off any potential water intrusion.

For securing the handrail posts, we always use 1/2" galvanized carriage bolts.

Don't put joists 14" on center. Also, what size joists are you referring to? Does the deck have bridging? If you're talking about 2x10x16's - then put them at 12" OC.

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