When it came time to repaint the porch as part of our exterior upgrades, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with just painting the existing railings. They were old, rickety and did not match the architecture of our house. But, I was not certain replacing the porch railings would be a project we could easily tackle. I am happy to report that you can easily, much easier than I thought even, replace tired porch or deck railings as a DIY.
The products we used created a porch that is classic, clean lined, extremely sturdy and very professional looking.
Here is a look at the before from the inside.
And the outside.
I am so thankful I asked my husband to demo that railing even before we really knew what we were getting ourselves into. I just couldn’t bring myself to even paint the old ones!
Now, it hardly looks like the same house!
Granted, there were big changes happening all around our house over the last year. We removed all of the undesirable Dryvit and replaced it with Hardy Plank. Trust me when I tell you that removing that dated railing was the final step in the transformation of the back of our house.
So, now that I’ve peaked your interest with the possibilities, let me walk you step-by-step how easy replacing your porch or deck railings can be.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Supplies for Railings
1 pair of 2×4’s in between each post
2 pair of Precision Black Plastic Railing Connectors in between each post
Precision Black Square Balusters (We used on average 7 between each post)
These products are available at The Home Depot, but I would recommend ordering them in advance to ensure they have enough to finish your project.
Here is a photo describing the basic parts. The only thing missing from this photo is the 2×4’s.
How to DIY Porch or Deck Railings
STEP 1- Remove all existing railings. Verify that all posts are relatively level and secure.
STEP 2: Paint existing structure if necessary. For a detailed tutorial on how to “paint” a porch (FYI, you don’t really want to use paint.) CLICK HERE FOR THE POST.CLICK HERE FOR THE POST.CLICK HERE FOR THE POST
STEP 3 Attach railing caps on both sides of the bottom of the posts.
We used a 2×4 as a spacer from the bottom of the existing porch.
STEP 4: Measure the distance between the posts and cut a 2×4 to fit inside the railing connectors. You can cut two 2×4’s but be forewarned that occasionally the variance between the top and bottom became enough of an issue that the top 2×4 railing needed to be recut.
STEP 5: Mark the center of the railing and then mark and space the balusters on center. We marked each top and bottom board together as a pair to be sure they would align properly once installed.
We used a distance of 4 1/2 inches from the center of each screw, which resulted in the spacing between balusters of 3 3/4 inches. Be sure to verify the building codes in your area.
STEP 6: Screw plastic baluster connectors and steel balusters, one on each side as well as the top and bottom.
STEP 6: With bottom railing and 2 steel balusters in place, add the top railing connectors and place cut 2×4 into the connector and mark the bottom height of where the cap should sit. It is extremely helpful to have a helper hold this in place while you mark the position.
STEP 7: Screw the top railing connectors on both sides and add the top railing.
This may seem like quite a process, but it was a very accurate way to install the rails and was easy to do one after another.
We had actually tried creating a jig, but on our porch, the distance between each post was not exactly the same and eventually scrapped that idea.
But, in no time at all, we had the railings installed.
STEP 8: Pilot drill the holes for the plastic baluster connectors.
STEP 9: Paint or stain your railings. I chose to “paint” the plastic railing connectors in addition to the railings for a more seamless look.
STEP 10: Attach the rest of your baluster connectors or caps and balusters once your paint or stain is dry.
One person can easily attach the steel baluster to the caps at the bottom and then have a helper come along and assist with the alignment them all and then hammer the steel balusters onto the top caps.
Instead of adding a top horizontal board or handrail we countersunk a screw from the outside through the railing to the post at a diagonal. This ensured that all of the rails we secure. This structure is extremely strong. My husband even stood on the rails to paint the inside fascia board!
Then step back and admire your handy work! See, not at all as hard as it seemed! We couldn’t be happier with the result.
Want to see more of our porch makeover and Outdoor Living room? CLICK HERE FOR THE POST.