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I'm planning to add a 10-foot railing to a patio that has a 6x6 wood post on one end and the exterior of the house on the other end of what will be the railing. I'm planning wood horizontal rails (maybe 2x4s) with vertical bars (wood or metal) connecting them. How should I connect the horizontal wood rails (upper & lower) to the painted wood exterior of the house, and also to the 6x6 painted wood post (which is house-high and supports a patio roof)? Should I use pocket holes, a bracket of some sort...? I'd like it to look good and be secure, and last at least 10 years if not more. Happy to spend a little more for a better connection. Must be easy enough to do myself (home improvement newbie).

Update (additional detail):
Patio floor is concrete slab/foundation (same pour as for entire house). The railing will protect against a drop-off of about 20 inches (code requires railings above 30 inches) but where the ground below is an asphalt brick walkway. I would like to avoid drilling into the slab (definitely if I keep the project DIY).

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A railing is a safety feature and should be designed to last as long as the deck. You want it to be able to support kids swinging from it, overweight Uncle Harry leaning against it, etc. 10 feet between supports seems a little far to me. –  Henry Jackson May 23 '13 at 22:36
    
Great, thanks for the comment. That's why I added some of the detail of the design. I will definitely take that into consideration. Tough part is drilling into concrete slab, which is absolutely not a DIY project for me (and why I might give up and go with a contractor). –  Will May 24 '13 at 1:06
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Take a picture of the area. Hard to answer without that. –  DMoore May 25 '13 at 4:13
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2 Answers 2

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You call it a patio, so I assume it is not a wood deck (which would be easier to add a railing). I'd avoid attaching it to the house though it seems that the other end of the patio roof may be tied to the house already. Consider driving a super spike into the ground at each end to hold a post that will be the ends of the railing. At a 10 foot span, you'll want one in the center of those two as well. If driving the spike just off the patio won't work, then remove a patio stone and drive the spike where you need it. You can break/ cut the patio stone to fit around the post once its in place.

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If it does make the most sense to attach it to the house (best if there is a roof overhead for both of these):

Nothing fancy but solid: A bracket underneath the rail. This would be the type that looks like an "L" with both ends the same length and has pre drilled holes. The wider and longer the bracket is the better. They are galvanized and durable. Use screws that go about 3/4 of the way through the rail and as for the house, make sure they penetrate your siding and attach to a structural member of your house. Of course galvanized brackets are not aesthetically pleasing but you are mentioning 2x4 railing here so Im assuming this is no modern architectural marvel.

Not quite as solid but potentially nicer looking: Attach a piece of 1 inch thick wood board flat to the house wall end of your railing with a few screws and then screw that 1 inch thick board to the house. The board can be cut in a simple but decorative shape, edges routed, etc. It requires a little more measuring to get the rail length just right. Id use 4 screws to the house and 2 to the rail. Once again make sure the screws to the house hit structural members under the siding and the screws into the rail should be probably at least 3" or more long.

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You'll need to take precautions to ensure that anything attaching to the house does not break the house wrap in a way that can allow drafts or leaks. –  BMitch May 31 '13 at 17:07
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