Railing Basics - Railing Terms
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Knowing the lingo will make you confident in discussing and purchasing deck railing. Some images are included below, for a full list with images, Download our Deck Railing Guide.pdf
Above: An example of deck Blocking
Above: An example of deck Fascia
Above: An example of deck Fascia-mount newel post
Above: An example of an On Center measurement
▶ Blocking – Additional support between framing to accept rail post attachments. See image on left
▶ Bracket – The hardware that attaches a rail plate to the newel post. Typically available in adjustable or straight.
▶ Graspable hand rail – A top rail or interior secondary uninterrupted handrail on a staircase. It is designed to provide a safety element that is easy to grip.
▶ Lineal measurement – Straight line measurement (in feet and inches) of rail to be installed.
▶ Surface Mount Posts – A post that is attached to the deck surface.
▶ Fascia – The vertical board framing the perimeter of the deck. See image on left
▶ Nominal Dimensions – The nominal size of a post or board refers to its “named” size rather than its actual measurements. For example, a post called 4x4 actually measures 3-1/2" x 3-1/2".
▶ Structural Newel Post – A post that on its own provides the strength required to satisfy code requirements or provide sufficient resistance for the rail system.
▶ Post Sleeve – A decorative cover that slides over a structural interior post (typically a wood post).
▶ Fascia-mount newel posts – Posts that are affixed to the fascia board (on the outside of the decking surface). See image on left
▶ Structural Post – The main weight-bearing support posts that hold up the frame of the deck.
▶ Rail Plate – Horizontal top and bottom structural boards, typically made of wood, composite, aluminum or steel, that form a connection between newel posts.
▶ Railing Infill – Horizontal or vertical elements that fit between upper and lower rail plates, designed for safety, but are often chosen based on aesthetics. See standard balusters, face mount balusters, glass, and cable below.
▶ On Center – This refers to measuring from the center of one point to the next, such as 4” on center spacing between two ¾” balusters results in an opening measurement of 3-1/4”. See image on left
▶ Railing Infill – Standard Balusters – Also known as pickets or spindles, these attach between the top and bottom rail plate.
▶ Railing Infill – Face Mount Balusters – Pickets or spindles that attach to the front or back side of the rail plates.
▶ Railing Infill – Glass – Tempered or laminated material that provides unobstructed views from the deck. Available in panels or balusters, can also be face mounted in some cases.
▶ Post skirt/flare – A decorative trim piece that surrounds the base of a surface-mount post. Conceals fasteners that connect the post to the deck.
▶ Rail Cap – A finishing element that adds a decorative profile above the top rail plate.
▶ Template A guide designed to make installation of brackets easier in their proper locations.
▶ Railing Infill Cable – Horizontal or vertical stainless steel cables.
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