Outdoor Living | Projects | THDProspective | Tutorials | Video | Woodworking

How To Easily Build and Install Deck Railing

Learn how to easily build and install custom deck railing using fencing wire.

THDProspective Tool Review*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

DIY Deck Railing Free plans and tutorial on build and install- Toolbox Divas

Hey Guys! SO last week I shared with you the demolition of my old deck railing (How To Remove Deck or Porch Railing: Demolition Tips).  Let me tell you, it felt so good to see the old dilapidated rails go. OMG!

The old deck railing.

I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This week we are building and  installing the new deck rails.  I took the inspiration for the design of these railings from hog wire deck rails that I’d see on Pinterest.   The problem was hog wire panels are super expensive.  One panel can cost $40-$80.  That would seriously put me over my peanut sized budget.


Fresh start: Ready for the new railings.

So I’ve developed a solution using regular ole’ chicken wire.  Yep that’s right.  For this deck railing we will be using inexpensive fencing wire that come in a roll.  And for my deck size I didn’t need a complete $50 roll. (Where’s the head exploding emoji when I need it?)

(This tutorial is not for an elevated deck.)



OK, Let’s Get Dirty!


  1. Install the 4×4 posts.

In my case since I am installing the posts were the old posts were we notched into the 4×4 do that it could rest on the floor joist and lock in place.

Once in place we secured the 4x4s with Powerlag screws from Spax.   


2. Install the lower 2×4 rails.


Mark the center of the 4×4 posts.  Using 2 inch spacer blocks ( 4×4 cut to 2 in.) rest the lower 2×4 rail on the block and screw it in place at an angle.


Ensure that the rail is level. 3in. screws work well.


3. Lay flat and install the 2×4 upper rails.

When it was time to install the upper rail for the deck railing, I discovered a design flaw.  If the 2×4 upper railing were placed upright the railing cap would not have enough area under it.  In time it could lead to it cupping.

So we flipped the board.  Lay the upper rial flat, the top of the board 3 in. from the top of the 4×4 posts.

4.  Add the railing cap atop the upper rails.

Now with the upper railing flat and in place place the rail cap over the railing.  This can be done in 1 of two ways: you can cut the board off in between each 4×4 post or you can notch out the opening for each 4×4 and run the board the entire length.

   I recommend running the board the entire length and notching out the openings for the posts.  This will create a seamless more finished look.  

A chisel comes comes in real handy during this step because you want the rail cap to be as sung a fit as possible.

Do not over screw any of the screw, especially the ones on top.  If screwed too deep it can create water puddles and cause the wood to wear faster than normal.

The railing cap should be flush with the inside of the deck and have a 2 inch over hang on the outside of the deck.


5. Assemble the wire panels.


OK now it’s time to make the wire mesh panels. This is a relatively straight assembly.  I made it so you won’t need a router or dado blades.

Screw the 2x2s together.  The height of the mesh panels is 29 in. The width is determined upon the over all width of the deck panel. The width of the wire panel is the distance between 4×4 posts (the deck opening) minus 6 inches.  So if the opening between posts is 60 inches the width of the wire panel should be 54 in.

OK so now that you know how long you need to cut each 2×2 now its time to continue assembling the panel.  Using a staple gun staple the fencing to the 2×2 frame.  Pull it tight to eliminate any sagging.

Use a hammer to securing nail in any loose staples. Cut small strips from the 2×6 boards using a table saw of track saw.  These strips will be used to cover the staples and the ends of the fencing. Use a nailer with galvanized nails to nail the strips in place.

6. Insert the wire panels into each deck panel.

Space the wire panel in the middle 3 in. from either posts.  Screw in place from the top and bottom.

  7. Attach post caps.

Finally attach the post caps to the 4×4 posts using caulk.


Time to Stain…. well in 30 days.

With new pressure treated wood you don’t want to paint or stain it right away.  Wait 3 to 4 weeks before applying stain or paint.

I am LOVING the new view from where I stand.    

These new railing completely transform the feel and look of my deck.  I used to have the worst backyard in the neighborhood. LOL no Seriously, I saw there looks.  Hahahaha!  

But look at me know. 😉

What I learned

  • You have to be willing to modify the plans.  I didn’t expect the top rails to be a design flaw.  But once I saw it in place I knew changes needed to be made.
  • It is OK to work with others, especially when that person’s carpentry experience exceeds your. For 2 days during my deck renovation my friend offered to help me out. AND I AM SOO Grateful!  I’m always learning.  And I will be the first to admit that I don’t know everything. I always enjoy and learn so much when I work with my carpentry guys.   I LOVE the help with the heavy lifting, and it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off one another.


Stay tuned as I continue with my deck renovation.  Did you miss the demolition?  Check it out is all its glory.


Get outdoors and check out some other outdoor living projects by ToolBox Divas.

Must See DIY Patio Makeover with Pergola

Raising and Leveling Sunken Patio Pavers


I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective 2018 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Similar Posts


    1. Thank you! I really appreciate it. I love that I can finally enjoy my outdoor space.

  1. Hi! Beautiful job and very thankful you’ve shared the “how to” with us. I’m very grateful. I’m in need of a double gate on our deck. I prefer the two gates to be on wheels as to roll back to each of the 4’ sides. I have a new Goldendoodle that I’ve waited 2 years to get. However, I need gates to help keep her on our large deck. I like the option of the gates rolling back as to not always block the view we have of our pond. Can you point me in the right direction or post a tutorial on how I can make this myself? I would greatly appreciate your help. And, if this is too much to ask, would you post a tutorial on how to make simple gates from wood and wire mess that can swing in toward the deck space with a lock and hinges? I truly need some help. Thank you!

  2. Nice job
    I like the copper caps, but thought about Solar post caps instead. Also, instead of cutting some wood to cover the staples, how about some decor trim like rope, egg/dart or the leaf pattern that HD stocks? Was the trim installed facing the inside or outside? I missed that. Nice job. In my mind I was just trying to add some kind of a designer touch.

    1. Thank you so much! These are all great suggestions. I am considering the solar caps now. 😀 The trim is inside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *