Railing Post Connections With Mike Guertin

Connecting 4x4 railing posts to deck framing is easy - a few bolts and it’s good to go, right? Well, not so fast … most building codes demand that those railing posts be strong enough to withstand at least a 500-pound load applied to the post in any direction (for more information, see Code-Compliant Guardrail Posts). That’s a lot of force, and rail posts are required to withstand it because they're a critical safety component on a deck, especially if the deck is high above the ground. Will the railing system you install be strong enough when large groups of friends are leaning against it during big parties?

Fortunately, manufacturers like Simpson Strong-Tie and Fastenmaster have developed and tested a number of different connection details for 4x4 wood posts that are strong enough to meet code. There are also manufactured guard post assemblies that meet code, but in his presentation at the 2018 Deck Expo, deck expert and frequent PDB and JLC contributor Mike Guertin explains that there are a couple of important details that are often omitted in the manufacturer's installation instructions for these products. We've captured Mike's demonstration on video, where he discusses the fasteners, hardware, and special blocking details that he uses to confidently install code-compliant railing posts in virtually any situation. Because this is a live performance, Mike misidentifies a few of the fasteners, but it's not hard to figure out his intention, and - as usual - his advice is rock-solid.