Introduction to Porch Rails
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Handrails, Subrails, Bottom Rails and Balusters create Balustrade sections.
Handrail is the top component of a railing system and will typically have a bottom channel to accept Subrail (optional) or Balusters. Obviously, this channel must be wide enough for the Balusters and/or Subrail.
For a more traditional and substantial appearance, we highly recommend installing Subrail beneath Handrail. Subrail greatly facilitates the installation process, allowing hidden hardware. It also gives the Balustrade a more expensive look at relatively little extra cost.
The photo at left shows a very traditional and professional looking Balustrade using our Handrail, Beaded Subrail, and Sloped-top Bottom Rail.
Click any photo for more views.
"I just recently completed ... the front porch railings. There is 100% improvement in the looks of my front porch. Thank you so much for shipping my order." - J. Belt, Texas
By screwing through the top of the Subrail into the top of the Balusters, and then screwing through the bottom of the Subrail into the bottom of the Handrail, the screws will be concealed.
Once installed, Subrails add extra height to your Handrails and they appear to be part of the Handrail. However, since Subrail and Handrail are two separate pieces, they can easily be painted different colors if you wish, as seen in the third photo.
By using Subrail, Handrails can be installed after all other construction is complete. This will avoid possible construction damage. The second and third photos both use Plain Subrail (no side beading).
Sloped-top Bottom Rail
For exterior use, Bottom Rails must be able to shed water. It is critical that Bottom Rails do not have a top channel (something often found on Interior Subrail), as this will trap water and cause premature damage.
Use our Sloped-top Bottom Rails (on the right in photo above) to provide proper water drainage, simple installation, and authentic, traditional styling. It accommodates Turned, Plain Square, and Sawn Balusters, and we can notch the bottoms of any of our Balusters to fit our Sloped-top Bottom Rail.
Two interlocking pieces provide easy installation with hidden hardware. Screw through the top of the top piece into the bottom of the Balusters, and then screw through the bottom of the bottom piece into the bottom of the top piece, and the screws will be concealed. The easiest way to do this is to build balustrade sections on the porch floor and then install them into place between the Posts.
See Assembly of Balustrade Sections and Installation of Balustrade Sections.
"If your not using porch railings from vintagewoodworks.com, your not using porch railings. All the sales girls at vintagewoodworks.com are a pleasure to speak with and are very helpful. I never had a mistake in my orders." - Edward B, Massachusetts (comment during his 5th online order)