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How Do You Reinforce Deck Railing Posts?

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Deck railing posts, usually made of heavy 4-by-4 inch lumber, may tend to wobble a bit, an undesirable feature where safety is concerned. Posts often benefit from reinforcement, especially those located on an end joist, which tend to wobble the most. You can reinforce deck railing posts during initial construction or as a retrofit if problems become more noticeable over time. Investigate possible causes of wobbly deck railing posts, recommends the Simpson Strong-Tie Company in "The 5 Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck" (see References, below). In older decks, check for missing or loose nuts on the galvanized bolts holding the post to the joist. Replace or tighten as necessary. Add ½-inch galvanized carriage bolts and matching washers and nuts if the post is held by nails only. Clamp the post in place, remove the nails, drill ½-inch pilot holes 1 inch from the top of the joist edge and the bottom of the post for maximum reinforcement, and bolt the post in place. Add blocking between ... more
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