What are the options for mounting?
The first question we usually ask a client is how they want the guardrail to be mounted. Side/fascia mounted, plate/top mounted or poured in place. We ask this question early on is due to it’s importance, both in cost and how the choice affects the overall dimensions of the rail. Poured in place is usually the most affordable followed by side mounting with top mounting being the most expensive.
Poured in place:
A poured railing means a railing post that is poured in concrete. To achieve this, there must be a concrete curb or pad for the post to drop into and then fill up with concrete (in other words, this does not work for wood decks). The railing has to be shimmed to made plumb and level and then poured. The advantages are that it is the easiest method to fabricate and install as long as the holes are already there. The disadvantages are that if the holes are not already there (blockouts must be installed in the concrete forms), they must be core drilled, which can be expensive and messy.
Side mounting is the most common method of attachment — it is easy to fabricate and fairly easy to install and lends itself to a clean-looking installation. All decks have some variation in deck surface, and because of the way the posts can be adjusted in heigh when side mounting, the installer is able to get the railing perfectly level even if the deck isn’t. Drawbacks are if the mounting surface is stucco, waterproof, or has a gutter on it, which makes side mounting more involved.
Plate mounting has more drawbacks then benefits. The main drawback is that there is no adjustability, so if the deck or surface is not perfectly level, it will show in the railing. The installer is not able to shim the plate to get it level because you will see the shims under the plates. Another drawback is that most decks or mounting surface do not have enough wood blocking under them to anchor all bolts into solid wood, so therefore the railing isn’t meeting the engineering requirements. There is also more cost on the fabrication end due to having to attach the plates to the posts. However,because of its aesthetic, it remains a very popular mounting technique.
What are the code and engineering requirements?
Whether your local jurisdiction requires a 36” tall guardrail or a 42” tall guardrail, all jurisdictions require that no space shall fit a 4” sphere through it at any point. The railings must also meet engineering that requires load testing of 50/lbs per linear foot for hand/cap rails and a concentrated load of 200 lbs atop the guardrail. Though our products have all been designed to exceed the engineering requirements, your local plan check may require a site specific engineering or application specific engineering. We only supply the engineering that we performed and it can be used as a baseline for your engineer to write application specific for your project.
Because we perform local installations in the Bay Area, we are familiar with California’s code requirements, but wherever the project, the client is responsible for working with the local jurisdictions and relating any pertinent information to us before we fabricate the railing systems.
What are the advantages of Deck-Rail.com railing systems?
Besides the artistry of our designs and being California code compliant, all our railings and hardware are considered non-corrosive, which means they will not rust and rot away like a steel railing. When you go to build or rebuild your deck you typically use materials that will last a long time, and our railings are a perfect match. All of our products are made to measure for your project, and we provide excellent service and prompt custom fabrication.
Do your railings meet current code?
Yes, they are engineered to exceed the current California code and if installed correctly will not have any open space 4” or greater.
What is the different between a guardrail and a handrail?
A guardrail is typically required when there is an elevation change of 30” and guardrails are either 36” or 42” depending on your local building code. Additionally, a guardrail has an fill panel to protect from falling. A handrail is only the handrail, which is required for stairs so there is something to hold onto while going up and down and is typically set between 34”-38”.
What is the difference between a caprail and a handrail?
A caprail can essentially be any size and shape whereas a handrail must be grippable and able to fit into a 2-1/4” circle.
What about the ladder effect of the horizontal rods?
Current code has no regulation on residential railings with horizontal rods that result in a ladder-like effect, though you should have your local plan checker approve all railings before starting construction. If you like the aesthetic but are worried about people or children climbing it, contact us for ideas on workarounds that will match your project’s needs.
I’m worried the glass is going to get dirty, and I’ll have to clean the glass all the time.
We recommend that the glass only needs to be cleaned as often as you have your windows cleaned.
What makes Deck-Rail different than the competition?
Our railings are custom made for your project — they are not a generic, mass produced system that is adapted to work on your project. On top of that, we are a licensed metal fabricator and install our product as well. When getting a quote from the “other guys”, ask them if they have ever personally installed one of the railings they sell. Since we install them, our technical services, both in fabrication and installation, are second to none. It also means that we’ve designed the railings to be as easy as possible for any handy person or contractor to install them.
What if I want a special height for my posts? Or angle for the corners?
Since our railings are custom made for your project, we can easily address requests for non-standard railings. For example, our glass railings have been used as tall windscreens, we often get projects that don’t have 90 degree corners, and we have made a few indoor dog parks that were very short with close picket spacing.
What if I need a gate and/or a handrail or another custom fabricated metal?
Let us know what you’re looking for. We can easily fabricate just about anything, with our 15,000 square foot shop stocked full of CNC machinery, welding and machining equipment and our large variety of metal polishing machines. Whatever your needs, we’ll help you design the right system for your project.
Where are you located? Do you have a showroom?
We are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have a showroom with all our railings on display, and we occasionally go on the trade show circuit. If you’re in the area, contact us to set up an appointment to see the showroom and discuss your project with us.