How to Build a Wooden Porch Railing using Stock Rails and Balusters. Rails and Balusters are Cut to Length On Site.

Build custom porch railing to add character and safety to your porch with a straightforward DIY project that starts with purchased upper and lower rail and baluster stock. If necessary, add a new railing post to help span long distances, decorating the post with a cap and finial and applying coats of fresh white paint to the whole project.

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measuring the distance between porch roof supports
Step 1

Mark Cutlines on the Porch Floor for a New Post

Measure the distance between existing porch roof supports/posts to determine if the porch railing stock will span the distance. If wooden railings are not long enough, center cutlines dimensioned for a new post halfway between the porch supports.

drilling a pilot hole for the jigsaw blade
Step 2

Saw the Opening for the New Post with a Jigsaw

Drill a starter hole for a jigsaw blade within cutlines marked for the new railing post. Cut precisely along the rectangular cutlines with a jigsaw. Insert the post into the hole, resting it on a leveled paver on the ground.

boring pilot holes for lag screws beneath the porch floor
Step 3

Attach the Railing Post to Porch Framing with Lag Screws

Bore pilot holes into the framing with a right-angled drill, working from a position beneath the porch. Insert lag screws to attach the new post to the porch floor joists. Snug the lag screws with a socket wrench.

chopping baluster stock to length
Step 4

Cut Balusters to Length with a Saw and Cutting Jig

Cut ready-made balusters to length using a power miter saw or chop saw. Temporarily screw the base to a plywood work surface and set up a stop block as a cutting jig to ensure railing balusters are of identical length.

driving screws through the bottom porch railing into the balusters
Step 5

Attach Balusters and Bottom Porch Railing with Screws

Space balusters according to building code along the bottom porch railing. Lay out the pieces on a flat surface and screw through the underside of the bottom wooden railing into the center of the positioned balusters.

positioning the top porch railing on the balusters
Step 6

Nail Top Porch Railing onto the Bottom Rail Assembly

Set the bottom railing and baluster assembly upright and position the top railing after marking baluster positions. Adjust the balusters as necessary on the marks and drive two nails through the railing into each baluster to stop it from rotating.

angling pilot holes for finish-head screws
Step 7

Screw Assembled Porch Railing Units to Posts

Secure porch railing units to posts with finish-head screws. First, position the piece of railing between posts, ensuring that it is level and doesn't bind. Drill angled pilot holes from each side of the rails and drive in screws.

capping the new porch railing post
Step 8

Saw off the New Railing Post to the Correct Length

Remove excess length from the new post top with a handsaw. Add a decorative cap and finial to top the new post and match any existing stair railing posts. Prime and paint the porch railings and the new post.


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