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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi - I managed to complete the main part of the deck this past weekend - it's a 14' 5" x 22' 6" Rectangular deck that is ~ 27" off the ground. I've been working this week on drawing up plans for the railings and the stairs and have a couple of questions.

1. I'm going to be using externally mounted 4x4 rail posts (unnotched - thanks to reading advice from this site :) ) with 2x4 top and bottom rails with the architectural balusters by Deckorators. I'm planning to put the rails on the inside of the rail posts. Is this correct? Also - would you recommend buying longer 2x4 materials to reduce the number of scarf joints or shorter material since it's easier to find shorter boards that are straight (at least it seems that way to me)

2. Since these are mounted externally to the deck - I need two at each corner. What is the best way to handle the corner rail areas? I'm going to miter the rail cap at the corner at 45 degrees...but what about the top/bottom rails? Does it make sense for them to meet at a 45 degree angle also - which mean I have to leave space for 1 baluster on each side in the corner? Or should I cut the top and bottom rail at an angle that allows it to go from post to post - mount with dowels perhaps and attach a single baluster?

3. I'm planning on extending the posts above the rail cap - so right now I'm planning to notch the 2x6 rail cap which will be screwed to the top rail running along the insides of the rail posts - this would leave a 1/4" overhang for the rail cap. How high would you recommend that I extend the posts above the rail cap? I am planning to get decorative post caps...either lighted or other.

4. The left side of the deck - if looking at it from the backyard - needs a little view obscuring. Looking off the deck that way we stare at a neighbor's eyesore car that has been covered by a tarp for months and we see the front of his house so I'd like to put a screen up to block that view and emphasize the view in the other direction - which is just trees. I'm not sure of the best way to implement this though. Right now I'm considering a "fence" - which is at the same height as the rest of the rail...with perhaps a 6 - 12" extension made of framed lattice - mounted in between the longer rail posts, but I'm not sure of the best way to frame the fence.

I've been looking at lots of pictures online - trying to find some ideas - and I like the idea of a fence that has the wood, framed, and laid at opposing angles...in each panel...if that makes any sense. But I'm not sure of the best way to do this frame since...if I used decking material ~1" and 2x4's....I'll be thicker than the width of the post...or is this ok?
 

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i have a privacy fence built on one side for the same reason you did, to block a neighbors garbage..

i did 8 foot high 1X6's in the "inside outide" method. I have no idea what to call it but its the method where i had a 2X4 horizontal at rail height and then i screwed each 1X6 into the rail with one inside the rail, the next outside the rail, then next inside, etc. So if you're looking exactly dead on straight to the neighbor its 100% blocked, but if you looked at an angle you can see through it. I think the most important aspect is plenty of wind can pass through it in hurrican force wind.

I guess its similar to your angle method stated above but instead of angle mine are all screwed flat to the 2X4 rail. I have no idea how i'd fasten them if they were angled.

to not make it look so "box-eee" as it reached the corner i started shortening the board heights so it transitioned back to rail height. It made a big difference so it wasnt like you saw a 4 foot rail and then BAMM 8 foot high wall, i slowly worked up to 8 feet over about 10 planks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why use unnotched just out of curiosity? Would be interested to know before i knotch mine out tonight!!
I'm not the pro builder here but as an engineer and from the reading I did on this site I think the general consensus is you're removing a considerable amount of strength from the post and doing so at the point where most of the stress will be applied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hmm... makes sense however the furthest i span is 4ft which still makes me wonder which way to go.
I wouldn't notch. Don't underestimate the weakness it introduces at that point - combined with the hit and miss quality of the 4x4's to begin with. I know that once all of mine had completely dried I had quite a few cracks of significance running with the grain. I was glad I decided not to notch at the base.
 
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