Last Updated: March 16, 2017
Classic, durable, and great for privacy, a vinyl railing could be the perfect finishing touch on your new deck or patio. They’re easy to clean and they come in a variety of different styles, making it easy to find a railing that matches both your home’s style and your budget. Plus, if you want to save money, you can learn how to install vinyl railing yourself.
Although the difficulty of the installation will depend on your level of skill and the deck’s material (concrete, wood, composite, PVC, etc.), learning how to install vinyl railing is generally quite simple. Anyone with basic carpentry skills can assemble a railing in the course of an afternoon. In fact, some might say it compares to putting together a large toy! The posts easily slip into place, and the spindles are cut to length and fit into the prepared slots. As long as you follow the directions, make precise cuts and measurements, and check that the railing is level as you go, you should end up with a gorgeous new railing.
How to Install Vinyl Railing
NOTE: The instructions below can help you gain a better understanding of how to install vinyl railing, but every railing product is different. Use the directions provided by the manufacturer to ensure that you assemble and install your railing product properly. In addition, please note that these instructions apply to straight rail systems only.
1. Make a plan.
Before you learn how to install vinyl railing, you’ll need to do some prep work. Your first step should be measuring the perimeter of the space you’re enclosing. Be careful and precise, because if you make a mistake here, you could ruin both the railing and your deck or patio. You might also need to check local building codes to ensure your railing will stand up to code, and you should always read the materials that come with the railing product. If you have any questions, now is a great time to contact the manufacturer or distributor of your railing product for clarification.
2. Gather your materials.
Next, you’ll need to purchase the vinyl railing, which should arrive as a kit. Most railings will arrive with all of the necessary parts included, from the posts and spindles to the brackets and screws. In addition to all of these supplies, you will likely need a drill, a saw, a screwdriver, and a leveler.
3. Check your posts.
Before you begin your installation, check that you have the right posts for your choice of railing. You can either use existing posts or purchase and install new posts. Typically, posts located on stairs must be longer than those on other parts of the deck or patio.
4. Lay out your posts.
Once you have everything together, lay out the posts and balusters to ensure the spacing is correct. Most homeowners will need to purchase extra vinyl railing and then cut it down to size for the perfect fit. If you’re in that situation, click here to learn how to cut vinyl railing properly.
5. Cut the top and bottom rails.
Measure the distance of the opening between the posts, and then cut your top and bottom rail to fit. Trim equal amounts of each end of both rails to ensure uniformity. Check that the space is equal between the first baluster and post on each side of the railing.
6. Install the bottom rail.
Install the bottom rail as well as any necessary supports, fastening the mounting brackets securely. Check that your bottom rail is level and complies with your local building code; most codes require bottom rails to sit two inches or less above the flooring surface. Finally, attach all provided hardware, screws, and covers (also known as skirts) to finish off the post.
7. Add the balusters and top rail.
Place the balusters in their slots in the bottom rail. Then, set the top rail on top and gently move the balusters from side to side until they all fit in their designated holes. Tap the top rail with a mallet to ensure a snug fit. Again, check that the rail is level. To secure the top rail, add the provided brackets and screws.
8. Finish it off.
Finally, to finish off the top rail, install the covers to hide the screws. Snap these into place with a mallet. Then, apply the caps to the tops of the posts. Most systems require PVC cement to hold the caps in place.
Please remember that the installation process for your vinyl railing might differ greatly from the process we’ve described above. Read the instructions provided with your railing kit thoroughly before you begin.
Now that you have a general understanding of how to install vinyl railing, are you ready to begin the process? It all starts with selecting and purchasing a new railing system. If you’re interested in purchasing vinyl railing, check out MMC Fencing & Railing’s online store.
You might be interested in the PolyRail Vinyl Railing system, which is distinctive, versatile, and virtually maintenance-free. It provides a comfortable feel with a versatile look, including many styles that combine vinyl railings with aluminum spindles. Amongst the many available styles, you’re sure to find one that fits your home’s style and your personal preferences.
If PolyRail doesn’t charm you, take a look at the PolyRail TRX Vinyl Railing system. The styles are classic, simple, and airy, and they’re also available in a number of different colors and design variations. Plus, we have dedicated an entire blog post to how to install PolyRail TRX Railing. Struggling to visualize each step of the process? No problem! The blog post includes a handy video that is exceedingly simple to follow.
For more railing options, please check out the MMC Fencing & Railing online store, give us a call at 1-866-931-5002, or click here to request a free, personalized quote.