Deck/screen porch balusters


JohnG
 Share

Recommended Posts

Our new house has a wooden deck that connects to a screen porch on one end of the house. The screen porch does not currently have balusters, and with small kids we definitely need to have them since it’s basically a 2nd story porch. The rest of the deck uses 2x2 (SYP I think) balusters so that’s what I am planning to use here.

I see three option for connecting them, but there may be other, better options.

1. Toenail top and bottom

2. Toenail bottom and fasten top from above the handrail (though I don’t love the idea of all the visible fasteners)

3. Attach horizontal strips to the underside of the handrail and to the floor, then attach the balusters to those, more like how deck balusters are typically attached.

I’d prefer to not have to remove the screen or the existing wood, but can certainly do that if it would be best. Using a pneumatic nailer would be quick and easy but I’m guessing that decking screws would be preferable.

Thoughts?

2131F5AB-9809-45BB-BDA6-6E39DD642621.thumb.jpeg.52b4020c96a8f9077ddf38c1d7813e00.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you care about these sort of things, there might be code where you're moving with very specific instructions on how to attach balusters. I wouldn't nail them in straight on because they could fall off. I watched my sister in law fall into a pool last year at a rental holding on to a baluster, quite entertaining since no one was hurt.

You could screw/nail through the top railing and then put another piece of wood on top of that to cover the holes. #3 could work or maybe horizontal cable but if your kids are like mine they would just climb up it.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John I think I would go with #3,  but not horizontal, if you want to leave what's there intact. Screw the balusters to a new top and bottom slide it into the space and screw the whole works to the existing structure. Easy peasy and solid so you have piece of mind.

Like this and then slide it into the opening, I would make it out of 2x2's

IMG_6307.JPG.3fe1124cbfb2f8b81c22ff9a4520b6a0.JPG

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, legenddc said:

If you care about these sort of things, there might be code where you're moving with very specific instructions on how to attach balusters. I wouldn't nail them in straight on because they could fall off. I watched my sister in law fall into a pool last year at a rental holding on to a baluster, quite entertaining since no one was hurt.

You could screw/nail through the top railing and then put another piece of wood on top of that to cover the holes. #3 could work or maybe horizontal cable but if your kids are like mine they would just climb up it.

I'll check the code. The inspector told me that code is max 4" spacing but didn't mention anything about if it needs to be attached in a specific way.

16 minutes ago, pkinneb said:

John I think I would go with #3,  but not horizontal, if you want to leave what's there intact. Screw the balusters to a new top and bottom slide it into the space and screw the whole works to the existing structure. Easy peasy and solid so you have piece of mind.

Like this and then slide it into the opening, I would make it out of 2x2's

IMG_6307.JPG.3fe1124cbfb2f8b81c22ff9a4520b6a0.JPG

Sorry, I had an image in my head and didn't put it into words well. The horizontal strips I mentioned were intended as the top and bottom pieces you drew, then attach the balusters to that. However, I had not considered making it a separate sub assembly and then inserting the whole thing. That would be easier.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's more clarification, hopefully-

Untitled.thumb.jpg.350c4b464f242335e70d0f51ae5c308c.jpg

 

For 1 and 2 I would tie into the existing flat, horizontal 2x4s seen in the original picture. for 3 and 4 I'd add another horizontal 2x2 at the top and bottom of the opening to attach the balusters to. 4 is what @pkinneb drew, a separate assembly that is inserted into the space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, legenddc said:

You could screw/nail through the top railing and then put another piece of wood on top of that to cover the holes.

That top piece is something I'll consider. I could use something wider and there would be space to put food/drink/etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a black vinyl coated wire mesh, that is plenty strong, and safe enough for kids, and pets, but doesn't block the view like ballusters do.  I just ordered some a few months ago.  I'll see if I can find the link.  We have black hardware cloth on the screened porch that's close to the ground, and it's plenty strong enough.  You can see that porch in Pam's puppy videos a lot.  Search Starbornhavanese on youtube to find the puppy videos.

I'll come back, and edit if I can find the link.  edited to add: found it.  It just goes right over top of the screen.

https://www.amazon.com/Fencer-Wire-Gauge-Coated-Welded/dp/B0155HRUIW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=black+wire+mesh+roll&qid=1591288322&sr=8-1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a couple of pictures of the puppy porch.  This is up close, and standing back a little bit.  The farther away you are, the more invisible it becomes. 

It's easy to put up.  You just staple it as you unroll it, being careful to not get any kind of fold in it.  I used an old 1" crown roofing shingle stapler, since I already had it.

I ordered the heavier stuff for the rental house.  We're going to allow pets, so not only did I want to make it plenty strong enough, but also intend to make panels that are easy to take down, and repair.  I haven't gotten around to that job yet.

The hardware cloth is plenty strong enough, but not knowing what the rental house will be subjected to, I wanted it some stronger.

These are from the puppy porch.

You could put it over the inside of your sections, and cover the edges with batten strips of wood.

 

IMG_2526.JPG

IMG_2527.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spray any porch ceilings with Suspend SC, to keep spiders from liking them for homes.

https://www.domyown.com/suspend-sc-p-40.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32b1Xlvbefm4rLjKC1V1BVHITUtQhRiOTY2DIwD47edXxK5BlYT8QZBoCo2MQAvD_BwE

Peppermint essential oil mixed in a spray will also work, but not for very long, if you prefer all natural. 

The Suspend has no odor, and is non-staining.  I spray it in Spring, and late Summer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess if this was me I'd attach them the same way I'd do a furniture slat. I'd create a u channel on both top and bottom that the baluster fits into and then use spacer pieces in between. As long as the top and bottom u channel are securely attached the balusters for all intents and purposes could be loose. in the event that you do nail them the toe nail at the bottom would be hidden by the spacer in the u channel.

Probably overkill on trying to hide fasteners but it's how I'd do it. I'd also construct it in a way that could be removed in the future when the kids are no longer bent on self destruction. Adding the u channels would allow me to attach it in place with minimal nails so when it was removed it wouldn't leave huge screw holes.  I used dashed lines to indicate hidden lines.

Drawing1-Model.thumb.jpg.45a909317dea0c528f6ccdb75e9e4133.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Tom King do you think it would hold up to many strikes from a 20lb bowling ball? Because that’s basically what my youngest kid is :lol:

I do like the ease of install and low visibility of the wire mesh. I may look for a heavier gauge just to give us peace of mind if we go that route. I’ve got a 18ga pneumatic nailer/stapler so I could use that to staple it in place. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even hardware cloth would, if you put a Lot of staples in it.  I know the larger mesh would.  It's available in a bunch of wire, and opening sizes, all the way up to Hog Panels.  Air flow is better too.

I'd want something heavier than 18 ga. for the thicker wire, but would be okay for hardware cloth.  I'd use stainless staples, because even the best galvanized ones will rust much sooner than you might think, unless you're using the roofing staples, which seem to have a stronger galvanized coating.  I have staplers I use for wooden shingles that shoot 15, and 16 ga. staples.  The 15 ga. staples are noticeably thicker than the 16's the smaller gun shoots, and 15 ga. would be the minimum I'd want on that heavier wire that I bought.

If you were closer, I'd loan you a gun.  I have them modified so they don't sink the staple.  You can buy stainless staples in small packages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Tom King said:

I spray any porch ceilings with Suspend SC, to keep spiders from liking them for homes.

https://www.domyown.com/suspend-sc-p-40.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32b1Xlvbefm4rLjKC1V1BVHITUtQhRiOTY2DIwD47edXxK5BlYT8QZBoCo2MQAvD_BwE

Peppermint essential oil mixed in a spray will also work, but not for very long, if you prefer all natural. 

The Suspend has no odor, and is non-staining.  I spray it in Spring, and late Summer.

Tom do you think that would work on cedar shake roofs? We get those big American cockroaches around here and I saw them all over our roof last night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty sure it would wash off in the next rain.  I spray it up under the ceilings, in the corners, and places where spiders like to build webs. 

Have you pressure washed it?  There must be something on it they like other than the Cedar.  I pressure wash ours about every 1- or 12 years.  You have to be careful what tip you use, so you don't erode the wood.  Here, under the canopy of large Oak trees, it gets a pretty thick coat of lichens on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, JohnG said:

@Tom King Have you had to replace the screen after installing the wire mesh? Are you able to pull the staples without them breaking?

I haven't, but I put that hardware cloth up years ago with the 1" crown roofing stapler.  The screen is some high quality black coated aluminum (I think Aluminum) that's been there for well over a decade.  I just put the hardware cloth over it when puppies started using that for a play area, but that was a long time ago too.

 Those 1" wide staples are easy to get a hold on with end cutting nippers.  On the rental house, I'm putting up the screen in little aluminum extrusions, and the big mesh will be on removable panels, both for ease of repair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I already had this picture here, of our 40 year old Cedar Shake roof, right after I pressure washed it.  The shingles on that gable are White Oak, as is the siding.  That gable doesn't look like the proportions are so weird, like it does in that picture, for some reason.  The shakes are on open purlins, so they won't have all the stuff growing between them like roofs installed as recommended by the Cedar Shake, and Shingle Bureau.  They engineered the life out of wooden shingles.

That was maybe the fourth time I've pressure washed that roof, over its life so far.

This roof was installed with galvanized staples, many years before I ever saw stainless staples.  I'm sure the fasteners will fail before the wood does, just like the 150 year old Cypress shingle roofs of old.

 

IMG_1572.thumb.JPG.4f0dbb2d01aa024f71140500343c39cd.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 64 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Forum Statistics

    29.8k
    Total Topics
    404.4k
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22474
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    desklog
    Newest Member
    desklog
    Joined