Code-Compliant Guardrail Post Connections - Fine Homebuilding
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Products and Materials

Products and Materials

Code-Compliant Guardrail Post Connections

comments (4) June 1st, 2011 in Blogs
MikeGuertin Mike Guertin, editorial advisor

Click To Enlarge Photo: Professional Deck Builder cover


Fine Homebuilding covered deck guardrail post connections in ‘Start Your Railings Right’ last year.  With only 3 pages, the article stuck to the basic post to frame configurations.  For anyone who’s building guardrails on a deck and not feeling great about just bolting or screwing 4x4 posts to a weak rim board, or for those who aren’t convinced posts need more robust attachment, there’s now a good resource to turn to with additional information to what we covered in FHB.

This month’s Professional Deck Builder magazine takes three swings at the issue of mounting deck guard posts securely to the deck frame.  

Andy Engel (former Fine Homebuilding editor and now editor of Professional Deck Builder) leads with an editorial that frames the case for using best-practice post mounting methods using metal hardware.   

Andy also breaks down the forces on a guardrail post and reviews some simple engineering math in the Q&A column to show how metal hardware can resist a guardrail failure.

And I pick up where we left off in FHB with an article  that expands the post to frame details.  While many of the details aren’t vetted with independent testing, they are based on basic rim-post-joist and hardware arrangements that have been tested.



posted in: Blogs, Guardrail Post, Deck Post, Professional Deck Builder magazine

Comments (4)

EUGDuck EUGDuck writes: Just to add a tweak, I often add blocking (scrap joist pieces) staggered between all the joists (not just the rail/joist area) to stiffen it up. A little bit of an ownerbuilder overbuilder, but I hate whimpy posts and handrails. I also spec ADA ramps and on occasion have added some threaded rod to tie in the rails of the ramp, especially at the end of a ramp where the rails simply don’t have enough rigidty to keep the end of the posts and the hand rails from getting a bit sloppy. When and where I can, I also add a metal post support base set in 12” of concrete that add significantly to the stiffness of the post.
Posted: 5:57 pm on May 29th

Benjamin1988 Benjamin1988 writes: This is a much needed guide. Sometimes we forget the issues relating to zoning regulations

Posted: 7:51 pm on March 9th

MikeGuertin MikeGuertin writes: Alfred,

See page 17 of DCA 6 (Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide) for information on stringer code requirements and stringer span limits.

You will probably have to go with housed (mortised) stringers if you want just one run of stairs. The span is probably too great to use cut (notched) stringers without a landing mid-span.
Posted: 7:09 pm on November 6th

Alfred1 Alfred1 writes: I have an upper deck that is 10' above ground. I need help in designing stairs, to the ground, for it.

For the stringers, would treated 2" x 12" work and I suppose treated 5/4" for the treads.

How steep should the the stringers be and how do I lay out the notches for the treads. Would anyone recomend mortising out the stringers for the treads to fit in as notching out for the treads might weaken the stringers.

any help would be appreciated.
Posted: 5:54 pm on November 3rd

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