Thursday, September 30, 2010

Design Porch Railings

Porch railings add beauty and safety

Porches add charm and style to homes, providing a welcome mat to guests and a relaxation spot for homeowners. Porch railings add curb appeal to the front of your home while adding an element of safety to your porch. Whether building your porch from scratch or adding railing to an existing porch, take several steps in your design process to achieve a safe and visually appealing porch railing. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Contact your local building office to determine if you need a permit to add a porch railing. Ask for the specific building codes related to porch railings. The codes might indicate the required height of the railing and spacing of the spindles.

2. Assess the style of your home because it will impact the type of porch railing you choose. Keep the style in mind as you make the design plans for your railing.

3. Measure the length of your porch where the railing will run. Note any pillars or porch posts that will break up the length of the railing.

4. Decide if you want to build your own railing or use prefabricated railings. You can customize your own railing more easily than using prefabricated railings, but this option also requires more work.

5. Determine the height for the railing, which is typically between 30 and 42 inches. Make sure the height conforms to your local building codes.

6. Determine the spindle spacing on your porch railing. Wider spacing presents more risks for injury, especially for small children. Four inches is the maximum you should leave between spindles.

7. Choose the material for your railing. Common options include wood, wrought iron, vinyl or composite materials. The style of your home, your budget and your personal preferences impact this decision.

8. Choose the style of spindles you want for your porch railing. There are many different styles of spindles, including round, spiral and custom designs.

9. Choose a finish for the railing if you choose wood as the material. Stain or paint finishes the wood to create the desired look on your porch railing.

Tags: porch railing, your porch, your railing, your home, your porch railing, building codes