Railing Against the Elements
With careful detailing and proper flashing, exterior woodwork should last for decades.
Synopsis: Called upon to rebuild so many porch railings exposed to the weather of New York’s Hudson Valley, the author examines why so many of them fail. He looks in particular at a railing system on a flat roof and offers suggestions for construction details that will preserve the structure. A sidebar explains how to space balusters evenly.
The moist climate of New York’s Hudson Valley isn’t exactly ideal for carpenters like myself. We have muggy summers, slushy winters and three months of rain in between. As we struggle through weeks of unremitting precipitation with fogged-up levels and wet chalklines, there is but one consolation: come April, a billion fungal spores will bloom, reaching into every water-logged mudsill, fascia and doorstep. That means a guaranteed crop of rot-repair jobs in the coming season.
Of all the woodwork exposed to the elements, none is so vulnerable as the…