Please help me fix my Trex railing deck with aluminum balusters

borgtheFebruary 13, 2008

Hi all,

We had a beautiful deck built 3 years ago. We used Evergrain decking, Trex railing, and deckorators aluminum balusters. About 6 months ago, we noticed the top railings were all bowing. Some of the aluminum balusters were falling out, creating a dangerous situation.

I had a deck guy come out (not the same one who built the deck because now I don't trust him). This guy said underneath the top railing, we have just about an 1 1/2 extra Trex piece that the balusters are screwed into. He thinks it needs to be a 2 by 4 Trex piece to properly hold and not allow the railing to bow.

Do you guys think this is correct? Thanks!

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Yes that sounds right. Almost all composites need a squash block, or support block, in the middle of the railing span. This prevents the sag you are describing. Add those and you should be fine. You don't need a beefier bottom rail, just the squash block.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Is it the top rail bowing up or the bottom rail sagging. If it is the bottom rail sagging, then do as Martin suggests.

If the cap is bowing up, it may be that the caps were cut to tight to each other and with expansion it is bowing up.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Thanks for the info. We do have the squash blocks. It's actually the top railings that are bowing. We think from the heat. Is there supposed to be a 2 by 4 support under the top railing? If not, you think it's just that the caps were cut too tight? What do you mean by caps? If I could e-mail someone a picture, let me know. I took pictures of the railing to send to Trex. They are replacing the railing under warranty. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 4:53PM
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I just noticed another thing. My deck builder didn't appear to use the railing support brackets that I see on the Trex installation guide. Could that be the cause? I'd really like to know how to fix this so it doesn't happen again, but am having trouble finding the definitive answer. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 5:09PM
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Cap is the top rail. Pretty much the only way it is going to bow up is if it expands and it is easier to go up then down. Look at the ends of the caps (top rail). Are they touching the adjacent caps.

Composites expand and contract to a much greater degree then do their wood counterparts.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 2:17AM
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Once again, another happy Composite deck owner. Why don't they just get rid of this product.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Decker my Man,I could not have said it any better my very own self.

Becides all the mold/mildew problems on the decking its the rail system that seems to completly fail in a few years/months. I usually go with TimberTech decking and build the rail with TT 2x4s,that is not go with the rail kits they make.Pretty good sucess with this far as the top/bottom rail spliting.

The composite boys advertise a lot and fill the need for the Wallet that has had it with puting on finish/cleaning up a wood deck. Of course they cant deliver what they advertise but thats business thats progress.

It might be different if composite was just starting out but after 20 years or so of pratice a Person would think they could get a little closer to their claims. John

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 12:13PM
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