There are many different styles of railings for decks. Choose a style according to your budget, time, and energy, as well as to the overall look and use of the deck. Different styles do different things. You can incorporate planters, benches, tables, and stairs into your design. A book on deck design or a ride around the neighborhood will give you some inspiration.
I have chosen to teach a rather simple design but one that is often used. If you are building something different from this, many of the procedures outlined here will still apply. If you are copying a design from an existing deck, a close inspection of the deck with sketchbook in hand should enable you to understand how the railing is put together. The main thing you want to be sure of in installing a railing is its stability. There is nothing worse than building the entire deck railing, only to discover later that it is weak and unstable, and then always worrying when a guest at your barbeque is going to make an unexpected visit onto your lawn.
There are usually codes that apply to deck railings. If the deck is more than a certain distance from the ground, often 30 inches, a railing may be required. If the deck is closer to the ground, the railing may be optional. Also, the code will allow only a certain gap between the ballusters, sometimes called spindles, 4” – 9”, so that a child cannot slip through. The height of the railing is regulated, too – 36” – 42”. Be sure you check all of this before beginning.
The railing we are showing is constructed of 2 x 2 ballusters with a 2 x 4 top railing. This is a simple yet attractive railing. Since we are not tying the railing into the foundation posts (which is often the case), stability is a concern. We provide this stability by bolting the bottom of the ballusters to the band joists, using two Hot Dipped Galvinized lag screws, and by tying the railing into the house at several places.
First, cut all the ballusters. For aesthetic reasons we have put an angle cut on the top and bottom of each balluster. After the ballusters are cut, cut the 2 x 4 top rail. Try to use pieces that are long enough to span the entire length of each section. If the span is too long and two pieces are needed, you will need to join these two over a 2 x 4 picket for adequate bearing. Determine where this break should occur for the most balanced appearance. Also, where two sections of the deck come together, miter cut the top rail to cover any exposed end grain. This looks much better.
After all your pieces are cut, it is best to bolt the ballusters to the top rail and then install the entire assembly onto the deck Mark the top rail so that the ballusters will be property spaced. Then bolt the ballusters to the rail using lag screws that are as long as possible without poking through the back side of the railing (about 2 1/2”). Be sure that your marks are correct and that the ballusters are attached to the proper side of the marks. A balluster that is off will show clearly, once installed.
Also, at the bottom of each balluster drill two holes that are one size smaller than the lag screws that will hold the ballusters to the joists and band. Drill these holes so that they are as far apart as possible and yet at least 1 1/2” from the edge of the band and joists. You are now ready to install the entire assembly onto the deck. This is done by using two more lag screws at the base where the picket meets the joists and band. Again, use a 2 1/2” lag screw and, as always, be sure they are Hot Dip Galvinized, aluminum, or stainless steel so they will not rust. It is best to align the balluster/railing assembly so that it is in its exact location and to nail a few ballusters temporarily in place to hold it there. Then use a level to locate where each balluster will meet the band and joists. By using the level at each balluster, you can be sure that they will all be level and parallel to each other.
Uneven ballusters are easily noticed. It is imperative that the assembly be in its exact location before you start leveling the ballusters. If you need to move the assembly even slightly after the pickets are attached at the bottom, the entire assembly will look askew and will need to be redone. Once you have ascertained that it is in its exact location, and have leveled your pickets, hold the picket in place while you mark the location of the holes on the band and joists. Then drill these holes on the band and joists, again using a drill bit one size smaller than the shank of the lag screw. Then bolt the lag screws in, using a socket or crescent wrench. Do this around the entire deck until the railings are all in place. Where two railings intersect at their mitered cut railing top, drill pilot holes through one top railing into the other and then nail together with 10d HDG finishing nails, two from one direction and one from the other. Your railings should now be complete.
Bathroom Floor Tile: Which Is Best for Your Bath?
While there are many bathroom floor tile options, knowing the pros and cons for each will help you make the right choice in your home.
- Vinyl floor tiles are among the most popular choices for the bath, and for good reason.
- Photo: BathroomDesignIdeasX tile is available in a surprising number of materials. Ceramic, porcelain and vinyl tiles are what come to mind first, and for good reason. They are the most popular choices and perhaps the most practical. But there are many options available today, from wood and cork to stone and glass. Here is a quick guide to help you determine the best floor tile for your bath.
Vinyl is the most popular bathroom flooring material, because of its low cost and high degree of practicality. It is well-suited for every bathroom in the house, from the master bath to the powder room. Hands down, it beats other popular choices for safety, comfort, and durability. Almost as important, vinyl tiles have come a long way in aesthetic appeal and ease of installation. The material is self-adhering and can be cut with a utility knife.
CERAMIC AND PORCELAIN TILES
Nothing looks better than ceramic or porcelain, whether your tastes run to stone or wood lookalikes or brilliant colors and surprising patterns. Ceramics score high with regard to maintenance, too, but they are not nearly as comfortable to the bare foot as vinyl. Installing radiant floor heat helps to change that, but a hard surface is hard whether or not it’s warm. Ceramics are not as easy to install as vinyl, though it is a job the adventurous do-it-yourselfer can tackle. When protected with a high-grade glaze, ceramic will resist wear and scratches. Porcelain tiles are harder than clay-based tiles and may have through-body color, an advantage if chipping occurs.
PLASTIC LAMINATE TILES
Plastic laminate tiles (more commonly available as planks) are also a good choice, especially if you’re remodeling. Similar to the laminate material that covered kitchen countertops for a generation or two, the tiles don’t significantly raise the height of the existing floor, which makes it easier to plan transitions from room to room. While durable and easy to keep clean, laminate falls short when it comes to moisture. Standing water can infiltrate the fiberboard core, causing the material it to expand and buckle. With laminates, it’s critical to caulk gaps along the walls, around tub, and surrounding other fixtures to prevent water infiltration. Another con: Laminates don’t come in the same variety of styles you’ll find with ceramics and vinyl.
Stone tiles were once confined to the foyer. In the past decade, however, they have become popular in other rooms as well, bathroom included. Made from limestone, marble, granite and slate, stone tiles are available in colors that range from creams to blues, reds, greens and golds. Available textures are nearly as numerous and including cleft, tumbled, sandblasted, etched and flamed variations. Stone requires more maintenance than ceramic tile; regular cleaning and sealing are recommended. Plus, stone is typically more expensive than similar looking ceramic or porcelain tiles.
WOOD FLOOR TILES
Wood is only for the fearless. Once water penetrates the finish, it will stain—probably for good. During installation the wood parquet tiles must be carefully sealed around the room perimeter and at all other joints. Two coats of polyurethane must then be applied as protection. Use it in a powder room but avoid wood floor tile in full baths that get a lot of use.
LINOLEUM FLOOR TILES
Linoleum is made of linseed oil, cork powder, wood flour, ground limestone and pigments. It is at home in contemporary or retro settings and well-suited to the bathroom. It’s touted as naturally inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and being able to repel dust and dirt, all while retaining its color. In my experience, that’s hype. Click-in-place plank designs make it easy to install, and there is no doubt that the stuff looks great. The look comes at a cost, however, as linoleum is relatively expensive.
Cork is warm to the touch and very easy on the feet, and the tiles come tinted in a variety of colors. Installation is not difficult, but if you purchase unfinished tiles, expect to protect them with two coats of polyurethane. Generally, cork tiles are installed with a troweled-on adhesive, but click-in-place floating floor products are also available.
Glass floor tile is about as different as you can get. Installed properly, this type of tile holds up well and if textured, it can resist slips. Small glass tiles with lots of grout joints are also slip-resistant. The aesthetic appeal is twofold: Covering the floor in a thin layer of glass creates the illusion of depth, and if the glass is tinted, you get a lovely stained-glass effect.
Tips: When buying glass, ceramic, or porcelain tile, be sure it’s rated for use on floors. Choose ceramic tile with a grade of 1 or 2 for floors. (Ceramic tile also comes with a coefficient of friction (COF). For safety, choose one rated .50 or greater.) The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating system counts the other way; opt for tiles that are at least PEI III.