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Balcony Railing Project

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  • #16

    Good advice with regards to meeting local building codes.

    The only thing I've got to add, after seeing the scope of said project. It isn't going to be CHEAP no matter how you go. With the price of steel today, that project will cost twice what it would have 18mos ago.

    Good luck.
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    • #17
      I worked at a shop specializing in gates, railings, etc. We would use 2x1 tubing for the hand rail, 1/2"x1/2" square tubing for spindles, 1/2x1/4 flatbar for the sub-rail, 1x1 or 1 1/4x1 1/4 square tubing for posts, and on the end of the square tubing where the rail attaches to the column we would weld a piece of 2" x 1/4" flatbar (tabs) maybe 4" long with two holes drilled in it to attch using screws, on the sub-rail a 1" piece. the type of screws depends on the material you are attaching to. Any span of more than about 6' requires a post to be welded in the center of the length, so if you had a 10' railing you would want a post of 1x1 or 1 1/4x 1 1/4 in the center with a pience of flat bar on the bottom with to holes for attaching to the deck. This can go underneath the 2x1 handrail for a nice finish (a 10' piece of 2x1 with the post welded in the center. Also, in most cases the maximum distance from the sub-rail to the floor or decking is 3".

      And bodybagger mentioned the 36",42"and4" are important. The 4"is the max space between spindles so remember this when calculating your spacing. If your spacing for the 1/2 x 1/2 is exactly 4" or anything less you will only have about 3"-31/2" between spindles and this can look to small. Just never go more than 4" on the spindles and never lower than 36" on the height. For the particular job your doing its a good idea to check code and see if it requres 42". In the end you have to tack everything up and take a step back to look and see if it looks right. This is the tricky part. If you se a design similar to the one i mentioned, and you weld all joints completely with solid mig welds strength will not be a problem.

      One last point, if welding long sections it's a good idea to brace the top (2x1 for instace) by clamping a piece of thick angle iron of whatever you have. The whole thing will want to warp when you weld it and it can become a real pain to bend back into shape. This should help keep it straight.

      Good luck


      • #18
        Thanks again, i'm taking notes!

        Is there any restriction on making the railings in 2 pieces (left and right) and bolting them together? not sure yet how i'm going to ship 8'-10' sections, if it comes to that
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        • #19
          Consider steel columns and wood rails?

          I designed and built a 2 story deck a few years back that reminds me of your situation. It was a complete rehab of a failing deck. But I did the opposite - used steel for the columns and wood for the railing. Columns were continuous HSS 4"x4"x1/8" sq tubing with brackets and connecting hardware welded off site... columns were installed first and everything was bolted or nailed into place. Even the handrails were all identical - made on the ground and bolted into place.

          It was a LOT cheaper to do wood rails.

          Everything was 10 feet on center, like your columns.
          BTW rails are 42 even though it is single family residential... it's a long way to fall!

          Attached Files
          Last edited by Bodybagger; 09-23-2008, 10:02 PM.

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