Deck Handrail Ideas


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Handrail Ideas for Decks

We have built hundreds of different styles of Handrails over the years on our decks. Our handrail ideas have been developed long-term and checked for durability after decades. It is not enough for a handrail to be sturdy at the time of inspection.  Handrails must be sturdy long-term for safety. If rot sets in prematurely due to the choice of materials or details that catch water and cause rot, that rail is dangerous.

To experiment with ideas for deck handrails, you need some woodworking background. Stairs and handrails are not the places to cut corners or make mistakes. When people fall off decks or through stairs, people get sued! Besides, do you really value your friends and family so little?

Cheap and Simple Handrail Ideas for Decks

The cheapest and most simple handrail ideas are the standards. Builder’s rails with an angled nail on picket are a basic long lasting rail. Add extra support posts bolted to the frames and it should last 20 years.  #2 cheap handrail is anything from Deckorators line of balusters. All you do is mount a 2×4 or 2×6 to the posts and then fasten the aluminum parts they provide.

Designing Unique Ideas for Handrails

Guardrails need to be sturdy and safe and they need to exceed specifications set out by the building department. The railings in the photos above have plenty of lateral and horizontal strength. This is why engineers often like our rails. They make sense to technically minded folks.

Posts need to be bolted and blocked into the frame of the deck.  Moisture should shed away from the critical parts. The design should last 20 years of real service. This means no spruce or pressure treated that has been milled. Designs must have no pockets for moisture to fester. If it is red cedar it should be prefinished with good quality stain.

Where do Handrails Code Requirements come from?

Where do these rules come from?  Basically, whenever someone is injured due to a failed guard railing, lawsuits follow, and the building department that inspected the project gets sued as well. They are supposed to use these guardrail failures to improve code, but often there is a knee-jerk reaction.

Here in Ontario they actually go so far as to mandate 3 railing details. All 3 designs are ugly, and two are flawed. This is why most modern deck builders are using prefabricated aluminum rails that provide their own engineering. This reactionary effect is not good for the trade or the business of decks.

Check the DIY Plans area, you may find plans for sale so that you can build safe handrails yourself. Keep in mind that you will have to have the details for the railings stamped by an engineer in many areas. It should not be a problem. Finding an engineer that specializes in woodwork, however, could be difficult to find in some areas.

If you would rather have a professional build your deck handrails please click on “Find a Builder” to connect with a quality minded builder. If you are looking for a deck company in Toronto pls Call 416 951 9998.

To find more deck ideas, check our Large Decks Gallery and our Small Decks Gallery.

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