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Install a glass panel railing

Stylish, contemporary, practical, and a great way to enjoy an unspoiled view: glass panel railings do it all, with absolutely no compromise on safety. Expand your horizons with a deck that seems twice as large and feel part of the glorious summer landscape you built the deck to enjoy! Installation is straightforward; the results will exceed expectations.

Guidelines

The National Building Code (Canada) stipulates guidelines for constructing buildings and various structures, including decks.

The minimum height of the railing is based on the height of the deck. Railings are required when a deck is 24" above grade.

  • Under 24" – Railing is optional
  • 24" to 5' 10" – Railing height: 36" minimum. Distance between posts: 96" maximum.
  • 5' 10" and over – Railing height: 42" minimum. Distance between posts: 60" maximum.

The maximum allowable distance between balusters and between the bottom rail and the floor of the deck is 4".

The treads of a stairway should be no less than 9 ¼" deep and the risers no more than 8" high.

1

Determine the post layout

  • 1.1 - Plan and draw your project to scale, then use coloured tape to transfer the drawing to your deck.
  • 1.2 - Draw a line 1 ½" from the edge of all sides of your deck.
  • 1.3 - Determine the distance between posts according to the length of each section and mark these locations on the deck.
  • 1.4 - Place the posts for the stairs 1½" from the front and side of the step, one on the deck and the other on the last step.
  • 1.5 - Begin the installation in one corner of the deck or along the length of the wall.
  • 1.6 - Drill holes in the deck floor for the post brackets, then screw them in.
  • 1.7 - Install the posts without tightening the screws.
  • 1.8 - Use only two screws per post in order to retain some ‘give’ for the installation of the handrail and the bottom rail.
2

Install the mounting brackets

The height of the brackets will depend on the track system. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • 2.1 - Mark the location of the vertical mounting brackets for the handrail and bottom rail on the wall of the house.
  • 2.2 - Measure 3 5/8" on the edge of the deck, next to the wall.
  • 2.3 - Draw a vertical line at this distance, either 37" or 43" depending on the height of the handrail. Use a level.
  • 2.4 - On the line, make a mark 2 7/8" from the floor to locate the lower bracket and at 36 1/8" or 42 1/8" for the upper bracket.
  • 2.5 - Align the bottom railing brackets at the marked locations and center with the vertical line. Screw to the wall.
  • 2.6 - Mark the locations for the vertical mounting brackets for the handrail and bottom rail on the posts.
  • 2.7 - Remove the post caps.
  • 2.8 - Measure and make a mark 1 1/8" from the top of the post.
  • 2.9 - Measure and make a mark 32 ½" or 38 ½" from the top of the post depending of the height of the handrail.
  • 2.10 - Align the top of the brackets with the marks and center with the post. Screw in.
  • 2.11 - Use a level to ensure the brackets are straight.
  • 2.12 - Mark the location of the vertical mounting brackets for the handrail and the bottom rail on the stair posts.
  • 2.13 - Rest a level or section of the railing on the stair treads (steps) between the top and bottom posts to serve as a guide.
  • 2.14 - Rest the mounting brackets for the rails on the level and post at the top of the stairs and mark the location. Repeat for the post at the bottom of the stairs.
  • 2.15 - Remove the level from the stair treads.
  • 2.16 - Align the top of the mounting brackets with the marks already made and screw in.
  • 2.17 - Measure and make a mark 27 1/8" or 33 1/8" from the top of the mounting bracket depending on the height of the handrail.
  • 2.18 - Align the bottom of the brackets for the handrail with the marks made and center with the post. Screw in.
3

Install the handrails and bottom rails

  • 3.1 - Measure the distance between the insides of the mounting brackets for the bottom rail from post to post.
  • 3.2 - Use the same section length for the handrail and bottom rail.
  • 3.3 - Cut to the required length.
  • 3.4 - Place the bottom rail in the brackets.
  • 3.5 - Drill holes in the bottom rail every 4" to keep water from accumulating.
  • 3.6 - Install support brackets spaced 36" apart under the rail.
  • 3.7 - Insert the handrail in the brackets. If necessary, tilt the posts slightly.
  • 3.8 - Level the posts in the brackets and screw in.
  • 3.9 - Screw the handrail and bottom rail into the brackets.
  • 3.10 - Proceed in the same way for all sections of the deck and stairs.
4

Insert the glass panels

The height of the brackets will depend on the track system. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • 4.1 - Some manufacturers offer rails that can accommodate bars and panels equally well. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before you start.
  • 4.2 - Remove the U-channels from the handrail and bottom rail sections
  • 4.3 - Insert the plastic mouldings in the rails and center between the posts.
  • 4.4 - Place rubber blocks at each end of the bottom rail as well as every 12".
  • 4.5 - Center the glass panel and slide it in the handrail, then rest it on the bottom rail.
  • 4.6 - If the space between the post and the edge of the glass panel exceeds 4", you must install bars. This is to meet safety requirements and to comply with building codes.
  • 4.7 - Proceed in the same way for all other sections.

Pro tip

Apply liquid soap to the edges of the glass panels to facilitate inserting them into the mouldings.
5

Secure all posts

  • 5.1 - Ensure that all glass panels, handrail and bottom rail sections are level.
  • 5.2 - Tighten all screws.
  • 5.3 - Insert and tighten the remaining screws to secure the posts.

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