5 Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Posted On 25th July 2016

5 Installation Mistakes to Avoid

When choosing railings to match, complement or highlight your space there are many options. The options range from aluminum railings to wood to vinyl in all different colors and sizes so that homeowners and businesses can customize specifically to their taste. Plus it’s even easier to install railings yourself since most manufacturers offer training manuals and railing instruction kits!

Given the variations of railings to choose from, it’s still important to avoid careless mistakes that can affect the finished product, which can contribute to safety issues, structural imbalances, and the need for hours of rework. Before beginning your railing installation process read these common mistakes to make sure you don’t make them too.

Mistake #1: Not Following Instructions Properly

Any railing system should come with instructions, especially those with kits, and these are important to follow as closely as possible. The directions will provide all the specifics, including exactly what types of brackets, fasteners, and other materials to use. You’ll also know how to measure and fasten with each step.

We all want to figure things out for ourselves, but the truth is that each railing system is different and may have distinct instructions that shouldn’t be ignored.

Taking a few minutes to read over everything will make you familiar with the parts, pieces, measurements, and all aspects of the system for a successful installation. Besides, it will make the process faster and more efficient in the long-run. Who doesn’t want that?

Mistake #2: Misreading Measurement Guidelines

Read the railing system instructions carefully for proper measurement details. Some systems will give you actual sizes for measurements while others will use nominal sizes.

Make sure you understand the systems of measurement used in the directions and always measure twice before cutting once. 

Mistake #3: Mismeasuring Post Caps

For wood systems keep in mind that not all post end caps will have the same measurement. Get the exact dimensions of the ones you’re using by measuring the post’s outside diameter first before adding the cap. A common mistake is to assume the cap is 4"x4" without measuring the post only to later realize that the cap doesn’t fit. That can be really disappointing if you had your heart set on a specific end cap design. 

Mistake #4: Mismeasuring Everything Else

Consider the code requirements in your community and keep them in mind when measuring. In most cases, residential codes dictate a 36-inch height, and commercial code calls for a 42-inch height. If you do not pay attention to residential and commercial codes you could end up with a railing or another component that is too short. The best way to avoid this problem is to measure everything, including:

  • The bottom rail
  • The sweep
  • The top rail
  • The rail cap
  • The baluster

 Mistake #5: Not Cleaning Up

It might seem obvious, but it’s not uncommon to forget about clearing away installation debris like metal shavings after finishing the job. These make the deck look messy, but there’s a bigger problem to ignoring them: debris can actually become embedded in your deck and negatively affect its appearance.

It would be a shame to spend all that time on installation only to have another issue on your hands, so make sure to avoid each of these mistakes. Then you can marvel in the beauty of your new railings!


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