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How To Remove Deck or Porch Railing: Demolition Tips

Learn easy demolition tips for removing ground level deck or porch railing.

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

(These instructions exclude an elevated deck.)



A few years ago when I bought my house I updated my deck by using a deck paint that would extend the life and use of my deck.  It was a FAIL because within a year it was chipping and looked worse than when I started.  In addition, I was starting to hate the fact that I went with a dark espresso brown tone I’d painted the deck. So as a result I hated using my deck and didn’t like sitting out side.  My deck was in absolute shambles.  Now it’s time to take my backyard back.  I set out to renovate my deck on a tight …VERY SMALL budget.  The first step was to remove the old deck railings.  The floor and base of the deck was solid.  The deck rails, on the other hand, were not in worth saving.  In addition, I envisioned a completely different style.  So I came up with a plan to remove the old deck railings and build new ones using a different style.  So thus began the start of the renovation of my backyard deck and outdoor area.  First step: demolition.

Here’s What You’ll Need


Things To Consider Before You Begin

Demolition can actually be fun and liberating. There is something about taking out a hammer and going to town on a wall or structure that you absolutely hate.  It is also probably the quickest part of any home renovation.  However, there are things you want to keep in mind so that it is also a safe process.

  • When you’re ripping things apart, things are bound to go flying in the air, everywhere.  So please wear eye protection.  Disregard my guy in the picture who is not exactly ‘Mr. Safety.’ This is always an area of contention whenever I work with my guys. But we only get 1 pair of eyes.  Protect them.
  • When cutting pressure treated wood, particularly from a deck that predates the early 2000s, wear a respirator. Residential pressure treated lumber prior to 2003 was treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Yep arsenate! So be smart.
  • Gloves are great because they help with being able to grip things and they protect your hands from cuts and scrapes, splinters, and calluses.


Taking it down.

1.  Start by clearing out the balusters or spindles.  This is actually pretty quick and easy.  Just go from behind with a hammer and knock it out. And if your deck and railings are as old as mine, they will pop right off because its typically just nailed in place.

Word of caution, this can be a little hard on the knees with all the bending.

Also, don’t leave the wood on the ground.  There are tons of rusty old nails in there.  So gather as you remove it and place in a safe area for disposal.

Step 2. Using a reciprocating saw, like the RIDGID MEGAMax Brushless 18V Power Base paired with the Reciprocating Saw Attachment Head, cut the 2×4 rails and the 2×6 railing caps from the 4×4 posts.  The RIDGID  MegaMax Brushless 18-Volt Power Base pairs up with any MegaMax Attachment Head.

This thing is super powerful.  It has a smart power base that automatically identifies the attached head and configures the tool settings to match the attachments.  So when you twist it in place and insert the battery, you will hear a bell like sound that’s like computer.  It tells you the tool is ready.  And it has an On/off orbital action for faster cutting.

Also the 4-directional head positions allow the user to optimize the ergonomics based on the application.  It’s awesome!

The reciprocating saw was paired with the Diablo 9 in. 9 TPI Demo Demon Carbide General Purpose Reciprocating Saw Blade and 9 in. Carbide Pruning and Clean Wood Cutting Reciprocating Saw Blade.  The Demo Demon Carbide General Purpose blade has power to cut through both metal and wood.  So it made the job of cutting through the nails that held the rails and railing caps in place a breeze.

We were able to cut in to the railing cap and go horizontal under the rails, removing the railing cap in minutes.

Using the pry bar you can further separate the boards.

Step 3 Remove the 4×4 posts.  Using the reciprocating saw cut the 4×4 posts out.  We also cut into the area where the 4x4s were to remove any excess wood and hollow out the space.

We needed a clean space so that we could build and install the new railings.

Wood disposal

Finally with the old railings gone it was time to dispose of the old rails and wood. I once again used the RIDGID MEGAMax Brushless 18V Power Base paired with the Reciprocating Saw Attachment Head to cut down the wood so that it would fit into the back of my truck.   I also removed any exposed nails. When disposing of wood you can contact your local waste management company for guidance.

In some cities you can schedule a pick up.  In my case I simply drove it down to the county dump where they have an area for this wood and construction material disposal.

My thoughts on the RIDGID MEGAMax Brushless 18V Power Base paired with the Reciprocating Saw Attachment Head

The RIDGID MEGAMax packs mega power! I’m going to be  honest with you, I wasn’t expecting this much power.  I literally pulled a muscle when I was using it to cut down the wood.  Hahaha.  It took me by surprise.  I really love all the smart features including when its paired with the Ridgid OCTANE 18V 6Ah Bluetooth Battery.  It has over 15 different push notifications such as battery is fully charged, low battery, and maintenance is needed.  You can even locate and lock the battery from the app.  The security features are insane

This is a contractor grade tool and given the versatility it is a GREAT BUY!

Fresh Start

So now that the rails are all off it is time to get to work.  I’m fully committed now. No going back.

Now it’s time to build some new rails. Stay Tuned.

Till Next Time. ~T.



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.


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  1. One thing to keep in mind when demolishing outside cable railings is that safety first always applies since there would be a lot of things flying around in the air everywhere and they have the potential to hit someone if they’re not careful. Another thing to keep in mind is that when cutting through pressure-treated wood, you should be wearing a respirator due to the chemicals that the wood would be released into the air as it can cause respiratory problems if done unattended. While I have no experience in dealing with outside railings, it’s always important to practice safety first when engaging in demolition projects!

  2. Hey! It has a smart power base that automatically identifies the attached head and configures the tool settings to match the attachments.

  3. Thanks for this! I’ll use this a reference as I remove my deck too.

  4. The post you posted is very thoughtful. I am very cheery to read this post. It’s so knowledgeable post for me and even for other people also.

  5. It’s smart to leave the wood in a safe place so you don’t end up stepping on rusty nails because that could end in disaster. My deck is really old and I’m hoping to replace the rails, at least. It’ll be good to know that they’re sturdy and the nails aren’t rusty.

  6. I am so inspired to do this! Hubby is home a couple weeks outta the month, so I can start by knocking the wooden spindles out. Thanks for sharing

  7. Such valuable tips and insights on how to efficiently remove deck or porch railings, making it a must-read for anyone undertaking a demolition project. Thank you for sharing.

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