Our deck and deck railing needed to be replaced. Because we live on a lake, we wanted to use wire so as not to obstruct our view of the lake. We researched several options and decided to install hog wire deck railing. Actually, we learned through this process that we wanted to use sheep/goat wire. It consists of 4×4 squares. (Hog wire consists of rectangles and cattle wire consists of larger rectangles.) We purchased the sheep/goat wire panels from Tractor Supply Company. We purchased all the treated lumber from Ace Hardware and were pleased with the quality.
This DIY deck railing project has totally transformed our deck and YES, we have a great view of the lake.
Before we installed our new wire railing, we updated our deck (flipped the decking boards). It costs less than $60. Click HERE to see check it out; you will be amazed by the result!
So back to our deck railing project . . .
First, we decided on the height of our deck railing. It helps me to draw this out. Below is my rough sketch. The standard height for residential is 36″; we opted for 37 inches (including the handrail).
We had to remove the old deck railing. We used a flat bar, a crowbar, and a hammer to remove the old spindles. We used a level to screw an old 2×4 to the post and a circular saw to cut the 6×6 posts. The 2×4 ensured that we had a nice even/level cut for the new 6×6 post to rest on.
Next, we cut the 6×6 treated posts. Because we did not want to replace the posts down to the ground (our deck if very high on the front of the house), we cut a 2″ wedge from each post. We started the cut with our miter saw and finished it with a chisel and hammer.
This enabled the post to rest on the deck. We used 8″ carriage bolts to secure the 6×6 posts to the deck.
Here is a section in which the posts have been installed. Our posts are 36″ tall. After adding the handrail, the height will be 37″.
Here is a picture of the corner post. (I inserted this after writing the original blog post at the request of a reader.)
Building the Frame
Installing Two 2x4s on the Bottom:
We used our DeWalt miter saw to cut all the wood.
We use two treated 2x4s on the bottom and on the top. Below shows Neal installing the two 2x4s at the bottom. Notice we used a scrap piece (3.5″) to hold the 2x4s in place (i.e. at the proper height) while installing the two 2x4s.
Installing the Wire:
We purchased the sheep/goat wire (actual sheets of fencing) from Tractor Supply Company. We used bolt cutters to cut the wire. (We saved some of the excess/scrap wire to make trellises for our garden next year.)
NOTE: Be sure the wire panels are facing the same way. In other words, we made a decision for the horizontal wire to be on the inside of the railing and the vertical wire to be on the outside. It does not matter as long as you are consistent when installing each wire panel.
To ensure consistency, we used these scrap pieces of wood (see picture below) each time we installed a wire panel.
When attaching each 2×4 to the 6×6 post, Neal used a drill bit to create a pilot hole for each screw. Notice he is doing this at an angle. We also used clamps to pull the 2x4s tight against the wire.
He then used screws across the bottom of the 2×4 (attaching the 2x4s to each other.)
Installing the Top Two 2x4s:
Neal followed the same process, to attach the top 2x4s (used clamps, used a drill bit to start the hole for each screw, screwed the end of each 2×4 into the 6×6 post, and added screws to attach the two 2x4s to each other.)
Installing the Four 2x2s:
We measured to ensure the proper length of each 2×2, cut and screwed these in place (on each side of the wire and on both ends of the panel). These complete the frame which holds the wire in place. Again, we used clamps to ensure the 2×2 were snug against the wire before screwinging place.
Installing the Handrail:
We used 5/4 decking boards for the handrail. We measured and cut the exact length. We screwed these in place using the same decking screws. We cut a 45-degree angle where two boards adjoined.
We did the step railing the same way; however, we had to cut several angles. We have a handy tool (see picture below) that enables us to measure angles and then adjust our miter saw to cut that angle.
These step railing took a little longer due to all the angles. My advice is to take your time. As good carpenters say, “Measure twice and cut once.”
Pressure Washing the Exterior Ban:
After completing the deck railing, we pressure washed the exterior ban where the spindles were nailed. We love our pressure washer!
Here are a few AFTER pictures:
Here is a picture that shows the view from the inside of our living area. I like how you can see the lake through the railing. That is exactly what we wanted to accomplish!
Let’s look at one more before and after . . . even Daisy likes it!
Let us know what you think or if you have any questions by posting below.
Don’t forget to check out how we updated our deck floor by flipping the boards. You will be amazed by the result!