Install a Vinyl Deck Railing in 4 Steps

Lead Image
  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-500
What You'll Need
Hacksaw or miter saw
Tape measure

Vinyl deck railing is low maintenance and comes in many different styles, so it's not difficult to find exactly what you're looking for. You can install vinyl railing around patios, on concrete, and on wood decks and balconies. Installing vinyl railings yourself is a fairly simple task.

Step 1 - Layout

Lay out your plan carefully, as a measurement error can lead to major problems when you begin the installation. Plan ahead for the width of the railing to avoid coming up with strangely sized sections that may slow the installation.

Step 2 - Getting Started

Double-check to make sure you have the right posts for assembling the vinyl railing. You can either use an existing post or install new posts as needed. Stair posts are usually longer than those used for other sections of the deck.

Move the rails to the spots in which you are going to place them. Measure the rails for openings. First measure the distance of the opening, marking the measurement on the top and bottom rail. Make sure you trim equal amounts off both ends of the top and bottom rails for an even appearance.

Cut at the markings you have created and insert a footpeg in the bottom rail at the distance you want the rail to be raised off the floor. If you don't have a peg, prop up or shim the bottom rail to the right length.

Step 3 - Install the Bottom Rail

Place the mounting brackets on the ends of the top and bottom rails, ensuring that you install the bottom one first (placing it in the opening). Before you fasten the brackets to the post or column with screws, make sure the rail is level. Then insert the pickets at the bottom of the rail into the routed holes.

Step 4 - Install the Top Rail

Hold the top rail at an angle above the pickets to install it, sliding it into each picket one at a time. Check that the rail is level vertically. Screw the brackets into the post. Next, move the top rail sideways until the pickets are all vertically level. Use a leveling screw to fasten the top and bottom bracket at one end of the rail. To hide the screw holes, install screw caps.

Additional Tips

When installing posts, sometimes a vinyl post can be placed right in the ground around a cement patio. Install the post three feet into the ground using a 60-pound bag of concrete to hold the post in position.

Some vinyl railing installations need a 4-by-4 pressure treated post with a vinyl post sleeve placed over top.

When installing a post on a concrete patio or wood deck, you will need a post mount. Bolt the post mount on to concrete or wood, and then place a vinyl post sleeve over the mount. Place a vinyl post cap on the top of the post and a post skirt on the bottom for aesthetic purposes.