Deck railings make your decks safer. They help older people and people with disabilities move around the deck safely by guiding their movement when they hold on to the deck railings.

Deck railings also keep children from falling off your deck. Deck railings are square or rectangular in structure. Rails and posts make up the deck railing.

Rails are horizontal bars that serve as a barrier, while Posts are vertical pieces that hold the rails up. In between this structure lies the infills, a sort of miniature post.

Deck railing separating from posts is quite dangerous as it compromises the safety of the whole deck. A single rail separating from its post due to a loose screw can make the whole deck railing wobbly and unsafe. The instability could eventually lead to a collapse of the whole deck railing.

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Primary Reasons why Deck Railing Separates from the Post?

Deck Railing Separating from Post

Posts support your deck railing from falling apart. The deck railing design depends on the firm attachment of both posts and rails.

If your deck railing is separating from its post, then a total collapse of the structure is not far off.

A deck railing separating from the post suggests a weak connection between the framework and its posts.

Below are the primary reasons why a deck railing separates from its post:

  • Missing screws or bolts can cause the deck railing to become wobbly. If screws or bolts get missing from the connectors, the rails can easily slip out of place. 
  • So screws and bolts are what primarily hold the whole system together. And even a few missing bolts can destabilize everything.
  • If nails connect the deck railing and posts instead of proper connectors, your deck railing is bound to be shaky and soon separated from its post. Connectors are more reliable than regular nails for holding rails and posts together.
  • Old connectors can begin to rust and not fit to hold the deck railing and posts firmly in place, leading to a possible separation.
  • If the deck railing wood begins to rot due to exposure to moisture, it can slowly leave its point of connection to the post. 
  • Insects such as termites eating the wood of your deck railing can cause massive damage to your deck railing. Eating through the corners of your rails and post joints can cause a rift between them.
  • If initially your deck railing structure was poorly constructed, it may have flaws in its entire structure, like wrong wood measurements. 
  • Over time, due to pressure, these gaps in construction will begin to show up, separating the deck railing from the posts.
  • An old deck railing will start slipping from its post and become wobbly due to the pressure it has endured through the years. 
  • Harsh weather conditions like strong wind or heavy precipitation can weaken the deck railing system and separate it from the post. 
  • This weakening usually happens when the deck railing undergoes these conditions over a long period.
  • If the posts begin to split due to pressure, they can cause the structure to become wobbly and eventually separate.

If you notice the slightest instability between your deck railing and its post, quickly check it out and make the necessary repairs and replacements.

This replacement will help avoid any further damage that could lead to a collapse of your deck.

How do you Secure Deck Railings to Posts?

Since deck railings help you make your deck safer and make your deck look more attractive.

Securing them firmly in your posts should be of topmost priority. Here are some ways to secure your deck railings to posts. 

  • Connectors are those small fixtures that attach railings to posts. Bolts and screws hold the connector firmly in place. Tighten loose bolts or screws on your connectors to cancel out any wobbling. 
  • If your deck railing is separating from your post, there’s a high chance some of the deck railing’s hardware, like the connectors and rail brackets, is worn. Inspect and Replace any worn hardware that connects the post to rails.
  • Secure posts with post skirts to avoid any future damage like post splitting.
  • Re-check and replace all wood measurements in the deck railing and ensure they meet the required standard.
  • Inspect and replace any rot, warped, or rusted rails that could slip out of their posts.

Tools to Secure Deck Railing to Posts

If your deck railing has separated from its post, you can decide to call a professional to help you make the necessary repairs or do it yourself.

If you decide to do the repairs personally, you will need measurement, driving, marking, and safety tools.

Here’s a table of all the tools you need to secure the deck railings to the posts and their uses.

ToolbeltThis is to hold all your tools and keep them organized.
Tape measure This is to take linear, accurate measurements so you know the distances of the repairs and adjustments to make.
Chalk lineThis is for marking long measurements taken
HammerFor driving in nails
Flat Pry BarTo pull out unwanted nails and  plywood or clapboard sidings
Screws and BoltsTo replace missing screws and bolts
Nail bar [catspaw]To also pull out resistant nails by tearing up the wood around the 
Utility KnifeCut rough fiberglass and plywood.
Wood chiselTo separate and tear any lapping wood that needs replacement
Rafter squareTo take dimensional measurements 
Carpenter PencilTo mark clear lines on your work
Impact driverTo effectively drive in bolts and screws
PPE[Personal Protective Equipment] like Glasses, gloves, and earplugs.Glasses to protect your eyesGloves to protect your hands from injuryEarplugs protect your ears.

Things to know about Deck Railing Attachment with Posts

Basic guidelines ensure a firm attachment between deck railings and posts. Here are some things you should know about the deck railing attachment with posts:

  • Distance between the deck railing and posts -The IBC (International Building Code) recommends a maximum distance of 6 feet between the deck railing posts when using solid infill like wood. 

However, if you use other infill materials like cables, the distance between the deck railing and posts should not be more than 4 feet apart. This guideline aims to make up for the cables’ weakness.

  • The IRC [International residential code] requires that the deck railing system[railing, poles, and infills inclusive] withstand a 50 pounds weight vertically and horizontally to the railing
  • The height of the posts and railings are supposed to be uniform. Do this by measuring the height of the deck joist, adding it to the thickness of the decking then subtracting the thickness of the top cap[if there is one. Then you will get the perfect height for your post, matching your railing.
  • It’s better to attach the end of railings to a post than directly to the house. Attaching the railings directly to the house can cause a collection of moisture and lead to rot rust at that joint.

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Deck railings can get separated from posts mainly because of loose bolts or screws. Other factors such as weather and rot can also dislodge the attachment.

You can repair the damages of a separated deck railing yourself with essential construction tools or decide to get professional help.

Ensure that your repairs follow all safety guidelines, so you do not need future repairs.

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