How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

Home Guide to Porch Post & Railing Installation

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Deck & Porch > Home Guide to Porch Post & Railing Installation
Home Guide to Porch Post & Railing Installation

One significant aspect of installing a porch is the fixing of posts and railings. These are available in a variety of materials and can be installed by amateurs and of course professionals alike. The techniques used will vary depending on the dimensions and location of the porch on your property.

  1. 1.Slight Differences

    Building codes will state that railings are mandatory if the porch is above ground level.

    Building codes will state that railings are mandatory if the porch is above ground level. Before the railings can be installed, the posts must be fixed at the desired & designated locations. The technique for installing wood porch posts will vary slightly from the others. These will also need more care and maintenance.


    A certain amount of preparation is required before you can proceed with your project. This will involve gathering all the required materials and tools, obtaining accurate measurements, and readying the porch. Temporary supports may be needed to enable the overhead structure of the porch to carry the extra load during installation.

  2. 2.Porch Post Installation

    The posts can be installed either to the outside or the inside of the joists that support the porch. You will first have to cut the porch posts to the desired height. This will have to be decided taking into consideration the dimensions of the railing also. The post must be placed against the joist and held there for stability. A hole must then be drilled into the joist through the post and a lag bolt will be inserted here and tightened into place. This is how a post is affixed outside the joist.


    If fixing the post inside the joist, you will need to cut out a notch from one end of the post and equate the length of notch with the length of the joist. Then the slot end of the post must be placed on the porch at the spot where you want it. It should be aligned to fit directly over the inside edge of the joist. Once an outline is drawn at the end of the post, you must cut along this outline avoiding the joist. Then the post is slid into this hole and bolted into place from under the porch.

  3. 3.Porch Railings

    The main components of railings include posts, finials, balusters, and rails for the top and bottom. There are different varieties of rails available in the market and some can also be special-ordered. Railings can be made of wood, aluminum, or brass. The first step when installing railings is to measure the area of the porch where you want them to be fixed. Once you get this right, you can just go to the home improvement store and find the railings of your choice. Many come in kits with instructions and installing these is a piece of cake. You will only have to use the provided screws and bolts to fix the rails in place.


    If you are opting to put in a railing the traditional way, you must first gather the required supplies which will include the rails, lumber, balusters, filler strips, and tools such as a hammer, saw, and tape measure.

  5. 4.Installing Porch Railings

    The balusters must first be connected to the filler strip which would have been cut to the length of the rail required. Holes must be drilled into the tops of the balusters and filler strips which have been aligned. The two must be secured using galvanized wood screws. The next step is attaching the top rail to the balusters in a similar manner. The bottom rail will then have to be fixed likewise. The last step would be connecting the railing to the posts. The railing and post have to be first aligned and pilot holes drilled through both of them. Big, galvanized, porch screws have to be inserted and secured to keep the railing in place.


    These are some tips to install porch posts and railings on your own. The reason you may choose to do the work yourself is if you are someone with a keen interest in home improvement projects or simply because you cannot afford to hire a professional.

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.