I always get customers asking me how to attach their railing to their application. While there are many different ways to attach your railing, though the most popular methods are mounting to the fascia or mounting to the surface. Fascia mounts are also referred to as a side mounts or joist mounts and surface mounts are occasionally referred to as deck mounts, floor mount, or even top mounts.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both…
I find that most of our customers prefer to fascia mount their railings and here is why. If you are tight on space, the fascia mount will be located on the outside of your deck, giving you a few more inches of room. Most people spend time sitting on their deck looking out at their view and with the fascia mount, the attachment of the post is hidden behind the backside of your deck. This means that the hardware will not be seen either. When your railing is indoors, this can be beneficial because it will not collect dust and you won’t be stubbing your toe in the middle of the night. This also means less to sweep or vacuum around. The same applies for outdoors- there will be less to rake or shovel snow around. Overall, fascia mounting is generally considered a stronger attachment method than surface mounting.
There are disadvantages to fascia mounting that you should also consider. Installation is a bit tougher. Typically, it’s a two-man job. One person will need to hold the post in place while the other person marks the holes to be drilled. Metal railings can be heavy and if you have lots of linear footage, your arms will get tired. Another consideration is the overhang, also referred to as a bull nose (typically about ¾” to 1” long). If you have one of these on the edge of your deck, you will need to accommodate it. Your options are to purchase a post that has a z-shaped bend (like the Keuka Style), purchase our metal spacers (or make your own from wood), or you can always notch out the overhang in each post location.
I find that the biggest advantage to surface mounting is how much easier it makes your installation. Thanks to gravity, the posts will stand up easily by themselves which means your project can be a one-man installation job. There’s no overhang to avoid here. Just put it down, line it up, and screw it in place. Also, it is one of the most common methods to attach posts to concrete or tile.Surface mounting has a few disadvantages to consider. Surface mounting typically is considered a weaker attachment method in wood unless it was planned for properly by installing wood blocking under the decking.
Hopefully you will find this informative for your attachment method decision. If you still can’t decide which way to go, you can always do a combination of both!