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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

How To Install An Aluminum Railing System

Posted by Holli McRae on 6/21/13 8:42 AM

A detailed look at installing an aluminum railing system. Aluminum Aluminum Railingrailing systems are good for many different reasons. See the many different benefits of using an aluminum railing system in our blog. Although installation instruction do typically come with your purchase they can be very difficult to read and understand. We have laid it all out for you here, enjoy!

 

Parts List

A - Top rail with connector (1)

B - Bottom rail with connector (1)

C - Saddle brackets (2)

D - Bracket covers (2)

E - Bottom brackets (2)

F - 10” support block material (1)

G - Support block connectors (2)

H - #10 x 1” self-drilling screws (12)

I – 3 ½” square driver bit (1)

J – Adhesive pack (1)

 

Tools Required

Level

Drill with adjustable clutch

Hacksaw with metal cutting blade

Tape measure

Drill bit 5/32” (.156)

Rubber mallet

Touch-up paint

 

Note: Installation requires balusters kit packaged separately.

Parts List



Post Install:

1. Install the first post by attaching the aluminum base to the surface of the deck or balcony. Position the post so the fastener will do into the floor joists, and make sure the decking is firmly attached to the joists at the location of the posts. If necessary, use wood blocking as reinforcement underneath the decking where the posts are located. Fasteners which hold the 1. brackets to the surface should be able to secure to joist or reinforcement braces, not just the decking itself. When installing aluminum post on top of wood surface, screws must be lagged into at least 3 inches of solid wood. Deck boards sized 5/4” or 1 ½” do not provide sufficient material for a safe installation. If necessary, add additional material to the underside of the surface.

Note: When installing Aluminum Posts onto treated wood surface, install ACQ pad between the post and base and the treated surface. Post Install 1

2. Position the post assembly to the deck surface. Four 3/8” diameter mounting holes are provided on the base. Mark base hole locations and remove the post assembly. Drill the marked locations into the decking and reinforcement. Remount the post assembly. Insert fasteners (Not provided in the Worthington kit) then secure the base to the deck structure.

3. Finish by sliding the base trim to the bottom of the post assembly to cover the post base. Install the post capital. Silicone or water based caulking may be used to secure the capital and base trims.


Rail Install:

1. Carefully measure the opening between posts and calculate the length of rail that needs to be cut off.

Note: For the sake of baluster spacing or personal preference, most or all of the trim length could be cut from one end of both rails. Make this determination before cutting the rails. Always refer to local building code requirements to determine the baluster spacing requirements in your area (4” maximum is typical). After cutting rails, paint exposed metal for protection against the elements.

Divide the cutoff amount in half, and starting with the bottom rail {B}, transfer and mark the measurement to each end of the rail. Carefully cut the rail. Mark top rail (A) and cut. For clearance purposes the top rail is precut ¾” shorter than the bottom rail. When cutting rails to length, always remove half of the cut from each end; this allows each end-baluster to be of equal distance from the nearest post or wall.Rail Install 1

2. Install support block connectors {G} using self-drilling screws {H} to the underside of bottom rail {B}.

Note: One support block, cut from support block material {F}, is recommended for rails measuring 72” in length or less; two support blocks for longer lengths. If one support block is required, install connector {G} at center point of bottom rail {B}. If two support blocks are required, install connectors {G} equal distance from each end of the bottom rail {B}.

Rail Install 2

3. To assemble rail, begin with top rail {A} and insert balusters over pre-installed connectors. Firmly tap each baluster with a rubber mallet to ensure the baluster is fully seated against the top rail.

Note: It is recommended to use the box as a pad to prevent scuffing of the painted finish. If installing square balusters, make sure they are properly seated in the slot on the underside of the top rail to prevent twisting.

Rail Install 3

4. Attach balusters to bottom rail {B} beginning at one end and working to opposite end. Stand the assembly upside down on the surface of the box and firmly tap the bottom rail with a rubber mallet to secure the balusters in place. Stand assembly up-right.

Rail Install 4

5. Slide bottom brackets {E} with screw holes down the countersunk holes facing toward the baluster, over each end of the bottom rail {B}.

Rail Install 5

6. Slide bracket covers {D} over each end of the top rail {A}.

Note: Slide about an inch from the end of the rail for clearance.

Rail Install 6

7. Most codes require the underside of the bottom rail to be a minimum of 2” from the floor. To accomplish this, measure up 34 ½” (36” rail height) or 40 ½” (42” rail height) from the floor and mark a level, horizontal line on the post or wall.

Note: This measurement may vary by local code or personal preference.

Rail Install 7

8. Align screw holes in saddle bracket {C} on the horizontal line making certain the bracket is centered on the post. Mark screw locations. Repeat process at opposite end.

Rail Install 8

9. Attach both saddle brackets {C} with self-drilling screws {H}. Pre-drilling is recommended.

Rail Install 9

10. Set the rail assembly into the saddle brackets letting the bottom rail hang freely between the posts.

Note: Check for level.

Rail Install 10

11. At the point(s) where you installed support block connectors (step 2), carefully measure the distance from the underside of the bottom rail {B} to the floor. Cut support block material {F} to fit. Slip support blocks over connectors {G}. Slide the rail back into place and make certain the rail is plumb.

Note: After cutting support brackets, paint exposed metal for protection against the elements.

Rail Install 11

12. Slide and hold the bracket {E} firmly against the post or wall. Secure the bracket with self-drilling screws {H}. Repeat the process at the other side.

Note: Screw holes in bracket {E} are angled to make mounting brackets easier.

Rail Install 12

13. Apply adhesive tab {J} to flat, top surface of top rail {A}, near the post. Slide bracket cover {D} to interlock with flange on the saddle bracket {C}.

Rail Install 13

14. Screw self-drilling screws {H} into the top rail {A} from the underside of each saddle bracket {C} to securely fasten the rail.

Rail Install 14


Aluminum Railing

 

If you have anymore questions feel free to contact our experts!

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Topics: DIY, Aluminum Railing

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