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Balustrade Section Installation
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If you have not previously assembled your
Balustrade sections, please refer to the
Balustrade Assembly section before proceeding.
Metal 'L' brackets (plated, medium weight) 4 per Balustrade section
Lag screws (hex heads) and appropriately-sized wrench
We recommend using metal "L" brackets to install your previously
assembled Balustrade Sections. These should be plated metal to avoid
rust staining. Normally, bracket legs of about 2" in length are
adequate. It is important that you buy brackets of at least a medium
weight metal, as we want your installed Balustrades to support an
adult's weight without risk.
We will use one metal bracket at each end of both the Subrail and
Bottom Rail, or a total of four brackets per Balustrade Section.
We'll use Lag screws to mount each bracket to the bottoms of the Railings and to the Posts (or wall). The use of Lag screws (with
their hex nut style heads) will allow use of an appropriate wrench to screw the Lag screws into the Posts. Otherwise, trying to use a screwdriver and screws, we would be hindered by the closeness of the end Balusters.
Verifying the Fit
Verify the fit of the first Balustrade Section between its Posts, making note of any shortness. Then lay it down on the porch. (If length varies more than 1/4" double check to be sure you have the proper Balustrade Section.) We will Lag bolt one metal bracket to the bottom of each end of both the Subrail and the bottom piece of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail. Each bracket should be centered on the
width of its Railing.
When Balustrades are installed between Posts, the metal brackets must fit snugly against the Posts. Therefore, if length verification indicates even a slight shortness to either Subrail or Sloped-top Bottom Rail, mount metal brackets for that Rail an appropriate distance beyond the end of that Rail.
The overall length from installed bracket back to bracket back must equal the distance between Posts at the height of the Rail in question. It is easiest to Lag bolt one end's brackets into place, hold the Balustrade Section back into place between Posts and mark the exact position the other end's bracket must occupy.
However, no one bracket should hold a Rail end more than about 1/8" away from the Post (or wall) when the Balustrade is finally installed. Any larger amount indicates a Rail that was cut too short, or that you do not have the correct Balustrade Section for this space.
Do not install Balustrade Sections yet.
Now, before installing the Balustrade Sections, we must mount Kickspace Blocks to the bottom of the bottom piece of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail. These Blocks will support the Balustrade Sections an appropriate height above the porch floor.
Marking positions of Blocks
Mark the positions of the Kickspace Blocks, with spacing about four feet apart. First and last Blocks should be about four feet from either end. Spacing between Blocks should be equal, and the first and last Blocks should be equal distances from the ends of the Balustrade.
This spacing is not critical. A ten-foot long Balustrade Section could have a single Block in the middle, but a twelve-foot Section should probably have one at four feet and one at eight feet.
Using an appropriate length wood screw, fasten each Block into position on the bottom of the bottom piece of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail.
Installing Balustrade Sections
With Kickspace Blocks fastened into place, stand the first
Balustrade Section into its position. Using a wrench appropriate for your Lag screws, screw the 'L' brackets to the Posts or wall. Make sure the Railings are centered on the width of each Post.
Predrill Lag Screw Holes
It will be necessary to predrill Lag screw holes into the Posts or wall. Select a drill bit slightly
smaller in diameter than the screw portion of the Lag screw. Drill into the Posts or wall to a depth at least equal to the Lag screw length. Try screwing a Lag screw into the first hole before continuing.
Install Remaining Balustrade Sections
Proceed to install the remaining Balustrade Sections, predrilling Lag screw holes as necessary. Remember that the Railings should be centered on the width of each Post.
We have purposely waited until now to install the Handrails, thereby minimizing possible damage. (Handrails were cut to length in Layout of Balustrade Sections.
Check Fit Over Subrails
With Handrails already painted, it's time for their installation. Lay each pre-cut Handrail onto the appropriate Balustrade Section, checking along its entire length for proper fit over the Subrail.
Using wood screws, screw from the bottom of the Subrail up into the bottom of the Handrail. Select screws long enough to secure the Handrail firmly, but not so long as to penetrate the surface of the Handrail.
Use one screw 3" - 6" from each end of each Handrail, with
intermediate screws approximately every 24". Be careful that the screw tips do not pierce the top surface of the Handrail. Depending upon the screws, it may also be helpful to predrill these holes. Continue to install each Handrail until all are firmly fastened into place.
We are available by phone or email for free personalized consultation.
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