Is your deck railing safe?

Real Estate Agent with Redfin

This post by Tom Arstingstall serves as a great reminder to check your decks and railings. This is such an easy repair and something so often overlooked in this area. I see it all the time. Please check your second story decks before you list your home, it really is a major saftey and liability issue with buyers walking through your home.

Is your deck railing safe?


You have had your deck for a while; you have kept it in good condition. Regular painting has protected it from water damage and rot. Pressure washing and maintenance helps in maintaining the value year after year. It looks good by all appearances. But could you be missing something?

railing unsafe

As a General Contractor, I get to inspect, repair and replace decks on a fairly regular basis. While most of the calls that I get are for the decking itself, but sometimes the deck railings are in need of repair. I recently came across a railing that was separating from the building.

This is a side view of the gap between the building and railing.


Now the second story deck in this case was sinking due to poor drainage at the base of the deck posts. But if we look at the photo closer, we can see that there are only a limited number of nails holding the railing to the building. The railing should be secured better than this. Screws or bolts would be a better choice, and it should be attached to the framing of the building, not just through the wood siding.

This would not have prevented the deck from sinking but it would be a safer situation at this point. Right now the railing is significantly weaker than it was when first built. These nails have started pulling away and provide limited protection if someone were to lean on the railing. If those nails slip, the person could fall over the edge.

Regular inspections of the deck railings are just as important as the decking itself.


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