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When I bought my house, the deck was in poor shape. Enough to pass inspection, but the deck boards have not been sealed or washed in years. There are way too many splintering and cracked boards. I decided it would be better and easier just to cover as much as possible with Trex. I purchased a rail kit along with the Trex 4 x 4 sleeves (so the lattice and rails will be removed).

I was wondering how I could get composite post sleeves to fit over these posts. Can I forgo sleeving these posts and attach the aluminum directly? How can I make this work without it looking terrible or causing any safety issues? I am concerned that cutting the sleeve might pose a safety issue down the line.

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  • Those post are attached to the house, you would have to remove them to put a sleeve over them. What is wrong with the posts? Why would you want to move them? If you did move them then you the others are not out of alignment, you just have to modify the lattice and rail sections between post. More info on what and why you are doing this may help to provide and answer or an alternative.
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 9 '20 at 16:25
  • Thanks for the response! When I bought my house, the deck was in poor shape. Enough to pass inspection, but the deck boards have not been sealed or washed in years. There are way too many splintering and cracked boards. I decided it would be better and easier just to cover as much as possible with Trex; this would cut down on maintenance as well as look better. I ordered sleeve posts and aluminum balusters... can I forgo sleeving these posts and attach the aluminum directly?
    – bitmeddler
    Sep 9 '20 at 17:44
  • @bitmeddler the info you just provided in this comment would be much better suited in the original question, as it seems that's what you're actually asking about.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 9 '20 at 17:59
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Making some dangerous assumptions here...

You'll be removing everything between the posts so that you can slip the sleeve over the top, then reattach everything, right?

While you've got it all apart, take 2 of your post covers and cut one complete side off so that you've got a U shape and slip it on by pressing toward the house. You will likely have to cut each remaining side individually to fit exactly against the house to have a nice, flush finished look.

On the post in the 2nd picture, you can probably slip the sleeve between the wood and the vinyl siding so it won't have to be a perfect cut, just long enough to cover the gap.

On the post in the 1st picture, you'll want to scrape the paint off so you've got a nice surface on that (currently) white trim, then scribe the post cover to fit nice and snug up against it.

Once you've got each of the modified post covers fitting the way you want, run a bead of construction adhesive (like Liquid Nails™ - check the label to ensure it's compatible with wood and your cover material) on each inside edge of your cover, then slip it on and probably apply a couple of clamps until the adhesive is set.

Finish by reinstalling all the railing between the newly covered posts.

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  • Thanks for responding! I ordered a composite railing system with sleeves and balusters. The lattice is going in the trash. I like your suggestion and that's what I was thinking, but I was wondering about safety... will this compromise the safety of the railing?
    – bitmeddler
    Sep 9 '20 at 17:47
  • In what way would you be compromising safety @bitmeddler? The sleeves won't be adding any safety, and might, possibly, hinder it because I could see where they'd hold water against the wood speeding the rot, but hide it from you. Other than that, I'm not seeing the problem you are. Want to better describe the potential issue? Or, even better, ask a whole new question about safety...
    – FreeMan
    Sep 9 '20 at 17:57
  • I am concerned that if I cut the sleeve and glue it/drive some screws into it, it will break when someone leans up against it. Since there is less surface area of the sleeve and since I have to attach the aluminum balusters, I am afraid that the cut sleeve will give.
    – bitmeddler
    Sep 9 '20 at 19:36
  • Hmmm... You say "composite", I presume that's plastic or plastic/wood. It could chip, I suppose when cutting one long side off, vinyl siding will chip if you use a low tooth-count blade and the siding is cold. Once it's fitted snugly to the post and glued in place, I can't see where there's much room for it to move when someone leans on it. If the sleeve is too big for the post then I suppose that could happen, but that's a different problem. Maybe take measurements of the posts and the interior of the sleeve and see how close it'll be.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 9 '20 at 22:29
  • Yes, this will be the Trex brand composite. Thanks FreeMan for the advice. One more question, what would be the best way to cut this? Trace and cut with a jigsaw? Thanks again!
    – bitmeddler
    Sep 10 '20 at 14:07
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You don't even attempt to. They are already installed. You would have to take deck apart and some siding. Sleeve has to go on before sides. My take is that you need to seal this better and that is what caulk, paint, and wood sealer should do. If you keep up on those things it will last as long as it would be sleeved.

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  • Thanks for the response. Alright, I have a composite railing and baluster system. Could I attach the aluminum balusters directly to the wood?
    – bitmeddler
    Sep 9 '20 at 17:45

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