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Step-by-Step Guide to Trex Signature® Horizontal Railing

If effortless style, exceptional strength and unique customization are railing qualities you’re looking for, then search no further than our Trex Signature® railing options. Its sleek rails and curved edging provide the perfect complement to your surrounding yard and garden below. Follow along with this simple 9-step guide on how to install Trex Signature deck stair railing.

Step 1: Install Pressure-Treated Posts, Post Skirts and Post Sleeves, OR Install Trex Signature Posts on Wood

For more details, see our Trex Railing Install Guide.

Trex Signature posts should be installed 6’ or 8’ CLEAR SPAN to account for appropriate railing length.

Install two 2” x 8” cross bracing frames between joists at 7-¼” using 12 pressure-treated compatible 3” wood screws.

Install two 2” x 8” boards as blocking under post location using 24 pressure-treated compatible 3” wood screws.

Using post baseplate as a template, mark location of holes and drill through the decking and blocking with a ⅝” diameter drill bit (a longer drill bit will be required).

Attach posts using four ⅜” x 6” HG bolts, washers and nuts with the Trex aluminum backing plate underneath the blocking (acting as a large washer). (SKU: ALPOSTHWDECK)

Step 2a: Install Horizontal Fixed Brackets (Pressure-Treated Posts and Posts Sleeves)

Measure 1-7/8" up from deck surface to bottom of bracket. Slide skirt up to allow for proper measurement. Mark with light line. Push skirt back onto decking surface before attaching bracket. Center lower bracket on post above the marked line and attach using two 2" wood screws.

Then, measure up from decking surface 33-15/16" for 36" rail height or 39-15/16" for 42" rail height. Mark with light line. Center upper bracket on post above marked line and attach using three 2" wood screws.

Tip: Use a clamp to help hold brackets in place while fastening with screws.

Step 2b: Install Horizontal Fixed Brackets (Signature Posts)

Tip: Use the Trex Signature rail templates to attach brackets (sold separately on shop.trex.com).

If you are not using the template, measure 1-3/8" from top of post base plate or 1-7/8" from decking surface. Mark with light line. Then measure up from post base plate 33-7/16" for 36" rail height or 39-7/16" for 42" rail height. Mark with light line.

Next, center the lower bracket on post above the marked line and attach using 2 self-tapping screws

Then, center the upper bracket on post above the marked line and attach using 3 self-tapping screws.

Step 3: Cut Railings for Horizontal Brackets (Post to Post)

Measure the distance from inside of the bracket to inside of bracket. Take this measurement and transfer it to your rails, ensuring the distance from the last baluster to each post is even.

Before cutting, ensure that the baluster holes on both the bottom and top rail align.

Next, cut the bottom rail and bottom rail cover. Cut the bottom rail to the measurement between the bottom brackets. Slide each rail insert out and cut ¾” from each side of insert before sliding back inside rail and centering.

Mark and cut the bottom rail cover 1-1/2” shorter than bottom rail. Cut the top rail to the measurement between the top brackets (same dimensions as bottom rail).

Next, slide the rail inserts out and cut ¾” from each side of insert before sliding back inside the rail and centering. Mark and cut the top rail cover to be the same length as the top rail for all top rail configurations.

Step 4: Attach Center Baluster to Bottom Rail (Post to Post)

Attach the shorter, center baluster in center slot in your bottom rail using two of the provided #8 x 1-1/4” screws.

Tip: To prevent damaging the screw avoid using an impact driver

Step 5: Attach Bottom Rail Cover and Bottom Rail to Brackets

Attach the “flat” bottom rail cover to the bottom rail by first centering the cover on bottom rail. This will help ensure a gap on each end of the bottom rail for placement into brackets. Align cover on one side of the bottom rail in slot on the side of rail. Starting from one side of the rail, begin snapping the cover onto the opposing slot. Continue working your way down the length of the rail until complete.

Tip: Gentle tapping with a rubber mallet may help facilitate with snapping into place bottom rail cover. Do not attempt to slide cover onto the rail from an end.

Set the bottom rail into the bottom brackets (tabs on brackets will be inside of the bottom rail and not exposed).

Attach the bottom rail to the bottom bracket by fastening on top of rail into tab on bottom bracket using one provided self-tapping ⅝” screw on each side.  To ensure that you hit the bottom bracket tab, measure ½” from side of post and mark rail.

Note: Pre-drilling is required for attaching railing to bracket using a 9/64” drill bit.

Step 6: Install Remaining Balusters into Bottom Rail

Firmly insert remaining balusters into the lower rail holes. Gentle tapping with a rubber mallet may make it easier to fasten securely.

Step 7: Attach Top Rail and Top Rail Cover

Work your way from one end of the top rail to the other by inserting balusters into the upper railing. Fasten the center baluster into the center slot using the two provided #8 x 1-1/4” screws.

Tip: Impact drivers are not compatible with the fasteners in this rail system

Fasten the top rail to each bracket by installing screws through the upper rail into the bracket via the two provided self-tapping screws on each side.

Note: Pre-drilling is required for attaching railing to bracket using a 9/64” drill bit.

Install top curved rail cover in a similar manner as the bottom cover. Use of a mallet will likely be required.

Step 8: Attach Bottom Bracket Covers and Caps

Attach corresponding bracket covers over opening in top and bottom rails. Attach the provided two-piece post skirt to the bottom of posts by snapping it together.

Attach post caps to your Trex Signature posts. A rubber mallet is recommended to ensure a secure attachment. If a Trex post sleeve was used, attach post caps using appropriate construction grade adhesive.

Step 9: Attach Footblock (Required for all clear span applications over 6’)

Start by ensuring you have the correct location. To do this, place a foot block under the center of your bottom rail and mark the desired placement location of base.

With the smaller side facing down, place the base onto your decking surface and attach the base of a footblock using one screw at an angle through base and into decking.  Pre-drilling is recommended using 1/8” bit for attachment of base to decking surface.

After you’ve attached the footblock base, use a rubber mallet along with a piece of scrap wood to tap the footblock until it locks in place.

There you have it! Easy, step-by-step instructions to adding the perfect finishing touch to your decking project.

For more detailed instructions, download our helpful PDF with visuals and more to help make the DIY installation process that much easier.

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