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How to Build a Lattice Deck Railing

Sal Marco

An important safety feature of any deck is the railing, which keeps deck occupants from falling off. Local building codes and ordinances for deck railings vary widely on the requirements for railing heights and spacing. After a deck and stairs are built, the railing is set in place; adding latticework from the rail to the deck flooring can increase safety and privacy and make the deck more attractive. Lattice typically comes in 4-by-8-foot sheets ready for cutting and installing.

Lattice railings add privacy to a deck.
  1. Obtain all necessary building permits and follow local codes.

  2. Cut the 4-by-4 posts with a circular saw to match the designated railing height set by the local building department. Determine the number of posts by allowing one for each corner and posts in between no more than five feet apart. If the measurement from the corner does not allow for five feet, change the spacing to a number divisible by the length of the deck side, no closer than two feet apart.

  3. Drill a 1/2-inch-diameter hole through the first 4-by-4, centered on the side and 1 inch above the end.

  4. Drill a second hole 4 inches above the first, also centered.

  5. Drive a carriage bolt through each hole with a hammer.

  6. Hold the post up to the side of the decking, as straight as possible, and strike the carriage bolts with a hammer to create dent marks on the deck wood. Drill a 1/2-inch hole through each dent mark.

  7. Drive the carriage bolt through the holes and into the decking.

  8. Place a level on the post and check for level and plumb. If the bubble is off-center, adjust the post in the appropriate direction until the bubble rests in the center. Always check for level and plumb before tightening bolts.

  9. Place a washer and nut on the end of the carriage bolt and tighten securely with an adjustable wrench.

  10. Repeat for each post.

  11. Cut 2-by-2 lumber to the same height as the posts; these are the pickets. Pickets are spaced two feet apart and two feet or less from end posts.

  12. Nail evenly spaced pickets to the side of the deck with galvanized nails.

  13. Place 2-by-6 pieces of lumber over the top of the posts and mark them for cutting to size; these will be the rails. Cut them with a circular saw.

  14. Place the 2-by-6 rails in place on the posts and hammer galvanized nails through the rails into the posts and pickets.

  15. Measure the height from decking to rail and the length between each post and transfer the measurements to the lattice. Cut the lattice with a circular saw to fit.

  16. Standing on the deck, place the lattice against the posts and pickets. Nail lattice in place with galvanized nails, every 6 to 8 inches.