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How To Attach Railing To Flat Roof Deck

How Do You Install An Outdoor Railing

How to mount railing to EPDM flat roof

Place the railing in place on the floor, place the bracket with one side tight against the rail and one side flat on the floor. Drive screws through the holes to secure the bracket to the floor, apply downward pressure on the railing and then screw or bolt the bracket to the rail. Its simple and effective.

The Value Of A Roof Deck:

Besides being a great place to take the love of your life for a romantic interlude, flat roof decks are very popular among homeowners because you can use your otherwise unused roof space to create a private retreat for yourself and increase your outdoor living space. Many condos and apartment buildings have roof-top decks, patios and balconies instead of backyards or ground level patios and decks.

How To Install Deck Railing Posts

Whether you’re completing a new deck build on your home or looking to renovate your outdoor space with a DIY deck railing makeover, learning how to install a deck post on your deck surface is an essential part of the process. You can install deck railing posts on any deck or patio surface including pressure-treated wood, composite deck boards, concrete, brick, and more easily as long as you’re using the correct fastener.

Not sure where to begin with deck railings? Worried about staying in line with your building code? Not sure how to get started with installation? No worries!

Read on for a collection of all the best tips from our team of expert deck designers so that you can build a better deck, one post at a time. For more pro tips and deck project planning, give our team a call at .

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The Importance Of Railing Posts For Deck Building

Posts are the basic support of your deck railing.

Your deck is essentially an elevated outdoor floor, supported by a frame and joists. The mounted railing is what makes it safe for people to be on your deck, especially children and pets, as it provides support and prevents falls. Railing is an essential piece of framing for any deck that’s higher than 30 inches off the ground. Railing – most importantly, the posts that support your railing – must be installed properly to function as a successful safety feature.

  • Support someone leaning against it
  • Support someone pushing against it
  • Secure built-in seating or storage
  • Hold up decorative accents like railing planters or decorative lights

While your plans for your deck may change over the years, your railing should be able to support all of them. And railing posts are the foundation of any strong deck railing.

Bolt Down Aluminum Metal Posts

Outdoor Living: Low sloped roof decks, composite pavers and cable rail.

The most common railings that utilize surface mounted posts tend to be aluminum railings or some of the PVC and composite railings.

Here we see typical aluminum posts bolted to the deck surface through a base welded to the post.

The fasteners and base are visible but the entire railing becomes quite strong as long as both ends of the railing are tied in to the wall of the home. Long unsupported runs of railing will tend to be weaker unless post support brackets are used.

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How Do You Install A Balcony Rail

Place the railing in place on the floor, place the bracket with one side tight against the rail and one side flat on the floor. Drive screws through the holes to secure the bracket to the floor, apply downward pressure on the railing and then screw or bolt the bracket to the rail. Its simple and effective.

How To Secure Hand Railing To Felt Covered Flat Roof


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If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

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Use This Simpson Strong

I completely rebuilt a deck on my own home recently. I didn’t build the deck originally.

To connect the new posts to the floor joists I used two Simpson Strong-Tie DTT2Z ZMAX galvanized 14-gauge 2x deck tension tie connectors at each post base where it passed next to the floor joists.

Here’s the connector I used on my own deck posts. You need two per deck railing post. WATCH the VIDEO above to see how it goes in. CLICK THE IMAGE HERE NOW TO BUY THESE CONNECTORS.

This important video warning was shared in Tim’s May 16, 2014 AsktheBuilder Weekend Warrior Tip.

Different Types Of Deck Railing Post Anchors

Installing a Lean-to Roof on an existing Deck

The rise in popularity of deck railing post anchors is no surprise.

Anyone who has experienced the ease and speed of installation, eliminating notching of decking and tricky carpentry skills, or all the hardware required for setting posts into joists knows this intimately.

Luxurious Looking Surface Mounted Post Anchors

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Waterproof Your Flat Roof Deck

Your roof needs to be walkable and waterproof .

Many people are opting for PVC vinyl decking, because its walkable, waterproof, and durable. It has to be installed correctly, so its incorporated into the structure of the roof and house, rather than just sitting on the surface.

Vinyl decking is a good option because it can withstand pooling water, which often happens when flat roofs dont have a positive slope. Its heat-welded, even around flashings and joints, to provide a permanent seal. Options like asphalt tar, gravel, or silicone may not look great and wont be comfortable to walk on.

How To Build A Deck On A Roof

Video Playback Not Supported

Watch this video to find out how to construct a deck on a roof to turn it into a great place for outdoor entertaining.

Roof deck topics covered include:

  • Using deck supports, which are adjustable in both height and pitch, for the foundation.
  • Notching posts to fit deck band joists for added support.
  • Composite Decking: Installing tongue and groove composite decking with hidden fasteners.
  • Composite Railings: Assembling and installing composite handrails and balusters.

Read episode article to find out more.

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Roof Decks On Flat Roofs: Benefits And Considerations

Roof Decks on Flat Roofs: Benefits and Considerations

This is the time of year when decks are used more than in other seasons. Do you dream of having a large deck for relaxing with your family but dont have enough room to build it? If you have a flat roof, perhaps you could have a rooftop deck installed. If youre considering a roof deck for your flat roof, here are some of the flat roof deck benefits & advantages, along with a few considerations and warnings.

Benefits of Having a Rooftop Deck

Rooftop decks offer several benefits:

  • One of the main advantages of having a rooftop deck is that it adds additional seasonal living space.
  • A rooftop deck is ideal for entertaining.
  • It provides homeowners with outstanding views.
  • Having a deck built on a flat roof gives it fire resistance and high-quality thermal performance. This type of deck also provides your roofing system sound, structural support.
  • It creates a slope for improved wind-uplift performance and a slope for drainage.
  • Rooftop decks offer a large space for growing vegetables and plants in container gardens. Consider that vegetation grown in large planters can take advantage of full-sun exposure in open areas.
  • A deck on your roof can add personality to your house, making it stand out in your neighborhood. Whats more, you can increase the value of your home.
Flooring Materials Used
Considerations and Warnings
What to Consider When Searching for a Roofing Repair Company

Building A Wooden Handrail

Foolproof Guard Posts
  • 1.

    Measure the length of the deck span to receive the railing with a tape measure. Lay out positions for the posts evenly spaced along the rail, no more than 8 feet apart. Also measure the height of the deck from the bottom of the rim joist to the top of the deck planking.

  • 2.

    On a 4-by-4-inch board, measure the length of the post by adding the height of the deck to the desired height of the handrail, and place a pencil mark at this length on the 4-by-4. Cut the post at the pencil mark using a circular saw. Repeat for each additional post required for the railing.

  • 3.

    Measure the distance of the height of the deck on the bottom of one post, and make a pencil mark. Using a combination square for a straight-edge, draw a line perpendicular to the long axis of the post through this mark. Set the depth of cut on your circular saw to 1-1/2 inches and make a cut at the perpendicular line. Then, notch out the area between the area between the cut and the bottom of the post, using your circular saw and a chisel. Repeat for each post.

  • 6.

    Measure the distance between the center point on top of two adjacent posts, and cut a 2-by-6-inch board to this length. Place the cut board in position centered over the two posts, and attach to the posts with 3-inch treated deck screws. Repeat until the handrail extends fully across all deck posts.

  • Read Also: How To Become A Licensed Roofer

    Become A Gba Prime Member And Get Instant Access To The Latest Developments In Green Building Research And Reports From The Field

  • |#1

    I sympathize with not wanting additional penetrations in the roof.however not knowing what the roof structure looks like it is hard to tell if a railing could be attached to the edge or not.

    The standard answer would be screw posts through the roof and use boots on each one.

    A code compliant railing can be made with posts 8 feet apart, so maybe not that many posts.

    Perhaps it would be just as easy to replace the doors with a window unit, or fixed glass

    I guess the cheapest possible way is to ask the local building inspector how many screws in the door make it not a door any more……..

  • |#3

    Thank you for the replies. Ill post a photo later, but we could secure part of the railing adjacent to the door frame, FWIW.

    Jonathan, the edge of this roof has flashing and a 6 gutter. How did you address similar issues?

    Also, here is the YouTube video I found – the approach looks solid, but how stable? and too few details.

  • One other solution is a ballasted system such as this: .

  • Expert Member|#5

    I would shy away from any ballasted rooftop systems. Those type of things have been disallowed in many/most commercial buildings for years due to unpredictable failures and then blowing off the building and hurting people or damaging property.

    Play it safe. Either securely fasten the rail to the structure so that it will safely prevent someone leaning on it from falling over the edge, or remove the door so that the roof becomes inaccessible.


  • How To Attach Railing Posts To A Flat Roof

    As a homeowner, you may decide to set up a portion of the flat roof on your house as a deck. Typically, this requires installing a deck system of some type and railings that provide safety. For stability, the sections of railing install between posts that attach to the roof. Those who have the expertise, tools and equipment can notch and bolt wooden posts to the fascia board. For the average do-it-yourself homeowner, manufactured metal handrails provided safety as well as an attractive railing. Similar to installing any handrail system, the first step is installing the posts.

  • 1.

    Access the roof using an extension ladder. Measure from the edges of the roof and mark the line of the handrails at several points. Depending on the location of the access to the roof, you may have handrails that border two or three sides of the roof, with sections that return to an opening at the access.

  • 2.

    Snap chalk lines on the roof that define the line of the handrails. For handrails at one or more edges of the roof, snap the lines 1 1/2 inch in from the edge of the roof.

  • 3.

    Determine the spacing of the posts by measuring the sections off manufactured metal railing. Star at one corner of the layout and mark the locations of the posts at the chalk lines. Include marks for a corner post at each end of each line, and additional marks for posts at each side of an opening to the roof access.

  • References

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    Irc Code On Height Of Door Sill To Rooftop Deck Surface

    Anon I’d pass the question to your local building department who may tell you what applies in your area. Interestingly some codes want an exit porch or walk to be the same level as the indoor floor – worrying about trip hazard. In my opinion that’s a terrible design that invites leaks from rain or melting snow if you’re in a snow area. Ideal would be a standard step height down – say 7″ but less, even a couple of inches, can if properly flashed, at least address the leak risk at this location.

    In a follow-up comment I’ll paste in some relevant portions of the IRC on Exit doors:

    IRC citations on exit door details:

    R311.2 Egress door.

    At least one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches when measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees . The minimum clear height of the door opening shall not be less than 78 inches in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.

    R311.3 Floors and landings at exterior doors.

    Exception: Exterior balconies less than 60 square feet and only accessible from a door are permitted to have a landing less than 36 inches measured in the direction of travel.

    R311.3.3 Storm and screen doors.

    Better Option Surface Mounted With Raised Base Plates

    Building Balcony Railing over flat roof 7-11-13

    Pedestals are covered in the same vinyl as the rest of the deck surface, so they blend in and are hardly noticeable. Water wont settle where the screws secure into posts a point of waterproofing vulnerability.

    In this close-up example, weve covered the pedestal in a different color to demonstrate its application. You can see how the extra height provides clearance underneath the railing for easy cleaning.

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    How To Install A Wood Deck Post

    The quickest and most secure way to mount a wooden 4×4 or 6×6 deck post to an existing deck surface is via a Titan Post Anchor. Titan Anchors provide a solid, powder-coated steel connection point for your wooden post to attach to the surface below. Be sure that you have at least 4 inches of blocking or substructure beneath your post location for a secure attachment.

    Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in our and learn deck parts and terminology in the DecksDirect Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

    Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the : the quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a strong, composite railing line.

    The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you’re looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our deck designers a call at or send us an email at . Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for an awesome deck completely personalized to your needs!

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    How Do You Install A Flat Roof Railing

    How to Attach Railing Posts to a Flat Roof

  • Access the roof using an extension ladder.
  • Snap chalk lines on the roof that define the line of the handrails.
  • Determine the spacing of the posts by measuring the sections off manufactured metal railing.
  • Place a manufactured metal post flat on the roof at each mark.
  • Recommended Reading: How To Build A Roof Over A Trailer

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    Technical Reviewers & References

    How Are Stair Railings Attached

    Attaching Bottom Deck Posts

    Place the railing in place on the floor, place the bracket with one side tight against the rail and one side flat on the floor. Drive screws through the holes to secure the bracket to the floor, apply downward pressure on the railing and then screw or bolt the bracket to the rail. Its simple and effective.

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    How To Build A Deck On A Flat Roof

    • Written by Justin Stewart on Aug 25, 2009To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by

    Building a deck on a flat roof is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Two people can install a brand new deck in a weekend, with little or no previous construction experience. Before beginning, however, it is important to do two things: inspect the roof to make sure it is in good condition, and acquire any permits that may be required by the local zoning board.


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