Replacing a Deck Stair Railing

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If you have a deck rail that’s damaged, here’s how to replace it and keep your deck safe

Replacing a Deck Stair Railing

Sturdy railings prevent deck mishaps, and your local code probably requires them.

This guide will teach you to safely replace a deck stair railing that may be damaged or improperly secured.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT

1
Remove damaged railing and temporarily attach new rail

• Mark the existing rails’ position on the posts, and remove the damaged railing.
• Position the new rail against the inside of the stairway posts. Align the rail with the top rear corner of the top post and with the mark on the lower post.
• Have a helper attach the rail temporarily with deck screws.

2
Outline the post and deck rail on back of stairway rail

Mark the outline of the post and the deck rail on the back side of the stairway rail.

3
Mark plumb line at bottom of stairway rail

Use a level to mark a plumb line at the bottom end of the stairway rail; you can then remove the rail.

4
Cut along outlines with a saw

Cut along the marked outlines using a jigsaw or circular saw. Thoroughly seal the cut ends.

5
Position new stairway against top of posts and secure

Position the stairway rail flush against the top edges of the posts. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes, then attach the rail to the posts with 2 1/2-inch deck screws.

6
Position and secure railing cap

• If the deck railing has a cap, measure and cut a cap for the stairway rail.
• Mark the outline of the post on the side of the cap, and bevel-cut the ends.
• Position the cap over the stairway rail so that the edge of the strip is flush with the inside edge of the rail. Predrill and fasten with deck screws.