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Should A Deck Railing Be Attached To The House?

When building a deck, one of the most important decisions you'll make is whether to attach the railing to the house. So, how should the deck railing be installed? We have researched this to compile some of the things you need to consider.

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Attaching to the house is not a requirement. However, there are pros and cons you should consider when determining the best railing installment for your situation. 

Pros of Attaching Deck Railing to House:

  1. Increased Stability
  2. Added Support
  3. Enhanced Safety
  4. Improved Appearance

Cons of Attaching Deck Railing to House:

  1. Difficult to Attach
  2. Challenging to Clean
  3. Prone to Moisture
  4. Limiting the Chance to Update Your Deck

In this post, we will discuss the considerations for attaching a deck railing to your house. Let's get started with a look at some of the things you need to consider.

Attaching a Deck Railing to the House: Not Required

Wooden walkout deck with white railings

A lot of people assume that deck railings have to be attached to the house. However, this is not always the case. While some municipalities do require deck railings to be attached to the house, in many cases, this installation method is not required.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you consider not attaching your deck railing to the house.

  • First, securely anchor the support posts into the ground.
  • Second, make sure that the railing is high enough to meet code requirements.
  • Finally, make sure that the railing is sturdy enough to support the weight of people leaning on it.

If you keep these things in mind, you should be able to build a safe and stylish deck without having to attach the railing to the house.

How Do You Decide Whether to Attach a Deck Railing to the House or Not? 

Attaching the deck railing to the house has advantages and disadvantages. Deciding whether or not to attach the railing should be based on what is best for the deck's structure, function, and appearance.

Advantages and disadvantages of attaching deck railing to the house, Should A Deck Railing Be Attached To The House?

Pros of Attaching a Deck Railing to the House

Decks and patios provide an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors while still being close to the comforts of home. However, if a deck or patio is not properly constructed, it can pose a safety hazard.

One way to help ensure safety is to attach the deck railing to the house. There are several benefits to doing this, including:

1. Increased Railing Stability

One of the benefits of attaching the railing to the house is that it can provide more stability. If the deck is not attached to the house, it is subject to more movement and shifting. This can be dangerous, especially while people are on the deck.

2. Added Deck Support

Another benefit of attaching the railing to the house is that it can provide more support for the deck.

When a deck is not attached to a house, it is supported by posts in the ground. This can lead to instability, particularly in areas with high winds or heavy rains.

3. Enhanced Safety

By doing so, you create a physical barrier between the deck and the ground, which can help to prevent falls.

In addition, attaching a deck railing to the house can also help to prevent objects from falling off the deck and harming people or property below. As a result, attaching a deck railing to your house is an easy way to improve safety and peace of mind.

4. Improved Appearance

Another benefit of attaching a railing to the house is that it can provide a visual connection between the house and the yard. A detached deck can feel like it is its own separate space rather than an extension of the home. An attached deck railing often looks nicer than a freestanding one.

Cons of Attaching a Deck Railing to the House

While an attached railing  can give the deck a cleaner look, it also has some drawbacks.

1. Difficult to Attach

First of all, it can be difficult to attach the railing to the house in a way that looks good and is structurally sound. If not done carefully, the railing can appear crooked or uneven.

2. Challenging to Clean

Additionally, attaching the railing to the house can make it more difficult to clean the deck. It can be hard to reach the underside of the railing when it's attached to the house, which means dirt and debris can build up over time.

3. Prone to Moisture

Moisture is the enemy of any wooden structure. It can cause rot, deterioration, and mold growth.

When attaching a deck railing to a house, it's important to take steps to prevent moisture from seeping in and damaging the wood decking or siding. Add enough space between the deck and the house so that air can circulate, and use a waterproof sealant on all connections.

4. Limits your Options in Remodeling

Finally, attaching the railing to the house can limit your options when it comes time to remodel the railing. If you decide to switch to a different railing style, you might need to hire a professional to detach the old one and attach the new one.

How Do You Attach a Railing to a House?

Backyard composite deck rail close up

The most common method is to use brackets that are mounted directly into the brick or siding. Another option is to use stand-off posts that are mounted on the deck or porch and extend up to the handrail.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to use corrosion-resistant screws or bolts and keep the railing tight against the house to prevent gaps.

Attaching Deck Railing Using Brackets

To attach brackets, start by drilling pilot holes into the brick or siding. Then, hold the bracket in place and use a drill to drive screws into the pilot holes. Repeat this process for each bracket, spacing them evenly along the length of the rail.

Attaching Deck Railing Using Stand-off Posts

If using stand-off posts, first mark the locations of the posts on the deck or porch. Then, use a drill to create holes for the posts and secure them in place with concrete anchors.

Finally, attach the handrail to the posts using screws or bolts. With both methods, it may be necessary to trim the ends of the handrail to create a clean, finished look.

See deck rail brackets on Amazon.

How Tall Should the Deck Railing Be?

Wooden deck of a house with white railings and a view of the backyard, Should A Deck Railing Be Attached To The House?

When it comes to deck safety, the railing is one of the most important features. It acts as a barrier, preventing people from falling off the edge of the deck. It is important to make sure that the railing is high enough to provide an adequate level of protection.

The minimum height for a deck railing is 36 inches. This means that any taller person will be unable to lean over the edge of the railing, and any smaller person will be able to grab onto the railing if they start to fall.

In addition, a 36-inch railing will also provide a degree of privacy for those on the deck.

How Far Apart Should the Balusters or Cables Be?

Deciding how far apart to space your balusters or cables is an important design consideration.

One factor to consider is the width of the deck or stairs. For example, on a standard 4-foot wide deck, you would want to space the balusters or cables no more than 4 feet apart. This would ensure that there are plenty of support posts and that the opening between them is not too large.

Another factor to consider is the height of the deck or stairs. If they are high off the ground, you may want to space the balusters or cables closer together to prevent anyone from falling through.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what looks best and provides the level of safety you are comfortable with.

Are Railings Required on All Sides of the Deck?

Wooden deck with white and brown railings

While railings are not required on all sides of the deck, they are necessary on any sides not against a wall. This is because railings provide an important safety barrier, preventing people from accidentally falling off the deck.

How Do You Secure a Deck Railing?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when securing your deck railing.

  • First, make sure the rails are properly anchored to the deck itself.
  • Second, check that the balusters are spaced closely enough together so that they can't be easily pushed out of place.
  • Finally, inspect the railing regularly to make sure that all the bolts and screws are still tight.

What Can I Use Instead of a Wooden Deck Railing?

When it comes to deck railings, there are many options available. However, not all of these options are equally suited for all applications.

For example, wood railings are a traditional choice that can provide a classic look. However, wood is also susceptible to rot and insect damage, and it requires regular maintenance.

As an alternative, composite railings are made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, making them more resistant to damage.

Another option is stainless-steel cables, which offer a modern look and can be adjusted to fit any size deck.

Finally, metal tubes are another popular choice for deck railings. They come in a variety of styles and can be either powder-coated or painted to match the rest of the deck.

Final Words

When it comes to deck railings, there are a few things you need to consider. What is the purpose of the railing? Is it meant to keep people from falling off the deck, or is it simply for decoration? Overall, it's up to you to decide what's most important and make a decision based on that.

To get more ideas on styling your decks and home, see our posts below:

Balcony Vs. Patio Vs. Terrace Vs. Porch: Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

5 Best Sealers For Your Wood Deck