With so many deck railing choices available you will need to start somewhere and our goal is to
help you sort through and find the optimal balance between what looks the best for your project and budget and how the deck railings that we will supply and install for you will compliment the appearance of all other component aspects of your deck and house for added value.
South Coast Sundecks & Exteriors is a comprehensive deck and railing company so you will find that our service, industry experience and advantages will provide you with excellent value and remarkable appearances that are on time, on budget that will meet building code safety requirements.
Top mount or Side mount railing options
Top mounted and Side mounted railing options refer to the location where the supporting posts that hold all railing systems to the deck or patio are attatched. Since the 2012 Canadian building code amendment, side/fascia mounted railing systems are mandatory for all New Construction waterproof deck building applications. (i.e. Decks requiring permits) Side mounted or fascia mounted sundeck railing systems are attatched to the side of the deck perimeter fascia or parrapet wall with the mandate being that waterproof membranes should not be punctured with new designed deck builds.
Sundecks built before the 2012 building code amendment were mostly top mounted railing systems with exception to some commercial applications. The reasoning behind this amendement was due to examination of water ingression failures and their causes that mostly stemmed from the leaky condo crisis. The biggest underlying issue was that most of the decks were not purpose built or structurally blocked properly underneath the plywood substrate by the contractor or builder to accomodate the typical 4" aluminum post mounting plate and offset with its 4 screws or lag bolt fasteners. When the railings where installed they would be 'blindly' screwed through the deck membrane with the intention of all 4 fasteners going through the plywood into the structural framing.
Unfortunately in a lot of instances only the 2 outer fasteners would end up in the sub fascia framing and the 2 inner fasteners (towards the house) would only go into the plywood. This would cause the plywood to flex up and down everytime someone pushed up against the railing thus causing the inner screws mounted only to the plywood to work loose and eventually cause water ingression and deterioratation to the wood holding the screws that would be compounded by the deck sloping away from the building where water would flow towards the effected posts. These fastener holes are commonly sealed with caulking. Rubber gaskets also known as ring or condo railing gaskets used in commercial applications and quality installations by knowledgeable or caring professionals combined with thorough structural attachment prove to be more reliable.
Side mounted railing disadvantages come in 2 considerations besides overall appearance with the first consideration being wether or not a gutter or eavestrough is required. Typically deck gutters and eavestroughs would be installed right under the drip edge of the deck to effectively catch the rain water. With a side mounted railing system the mounting posts will now take the high position on the fascia board that will consume the top 5-7" leaving the remaining amount of fascia board to 'Hang' the gutter with the required sloping that still won't be able to effectively capture all the rain water. Suitable options are no gutter system at all or building a parrapet wall, curb stop and/or directional sloping with floor drains or downspout scuppers that will require structural changes and plywood substrate removal to create the right sloping with associated plumbing and carpentry alteration costs as well as logistical considerations.
Side mounted deck railing conversion consideration number two. All new deck builds 'should' incorporate design attributes for a side mounted railing system. However, if you are not building a new deck and thinking about reinstalling or upgrading the railings during a vinyl waterproof membrane replacement it is important to determine if your existing fascia system consists of a minimum 2 plys or layers to securely anchor the railinings to. More importantly is the necessity that exsiting fascia boards are structurally attatched well enough to the deck framing to accommodate the additional load bearing weight and inherent leveraging of a sidemounted deck railing system if there wasn't a side mounted railing there before. Topless and all glass deck railings are very heavy with high leveraging and new applications will require structural design modifications and reinforcement.
Regardless of your requests, appearance requirements or budget restraints we always recommend a side mounted railing system on a waterproof sundeck as a top mounted railing may effect the performance longevity and warranty on some waterproof decking membranes.