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Installing a rail on a flat roof

Posted by aliciaandbilly (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 24, 10 at 12:43

I need some help with an issue I've come across while trying to find contractors to replace the flat roof walkout over our sunroom and install a rail along the perimeter.

When we asked the first roofing contractor about putting in a railing, he said we would need to do this at the same time as the roof so that the flashing could be installed properly around the support posts.

This is fine with us, but he said that the railing contractor would need to do this and thus far the railing contractors have said that the roofers should install the supports.

Has anyone had a railing installed on a flat roof before? If so, who installed the posts for the rail?

And presuming we can find a roofer who will agree to install the support posts, do we really need to hire a railing contractor to put in the rail when we're looking at doing a PVC system like Azek?

Also, we'd eventually like to add decking on top of the roof. To do so, the deck contractor said that the posts/rail would need to be taller than the standard 36" height to allow enough clearance under the lower rail for decking installed on sleepers. My question is - do we have to extend the deck under the railing? Or could it just stop at the railing?

Any help / past experience / advice shared would be greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Installing a rail on a flat roof

Upstairs rail post bolt into the rim joist after the roof is on. Usually its not a good idea to install them thru the roof.Carpenters install rail posts like your deck builder.
Over here the permit store requires 42'' handrail height measured from the top of the decking. J.


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RE: Installing a rail on a flat roof

I'm not sure that I understand. The roof currently has a built in gutter, which we'll be covering over to switch over to standard exterior gutters (due to leaking issues). Are you saying the rails should be attached at the edge of the roof on the side? I'm assuming this can't be done if you have a gutter, plus I think there was some trim work under the aluminum siding, so there isn't enough support? Here's a pic of the house to get a better idea of what we're working with.

Maybe the rails should be secured to a deck that just rests on the roof so nothing is actually bolted in?


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RE: Installing a rail on a flat roof

You can
A use steel post conectors,bolt them to the roof framing, roof over them with all needed flashing and hope the roofers did not make one single mistake doing it.

B.roof the thing,lay down stringers in the direction of the flow,screw the decking to the stringers fasten the posts to the deck.

Or C. remove the gutter and the siding and the trim so you are down to the rim joists.Put on high quality facia. Roof the thing with a torch down modified they will use 4 x 4'' flashing with a drip edge. Back your rail posts with rubber flashing and bolt them to the rim joists thru the facia after counter sinking the bolt holes in the rail posts. Back up the rubber flashing with tightbond const adhesive on the top. Forget the gutter or install it so the drip edge drains into it.

I have and never will do A or B now C I have done 50 times or so. J.


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RE: Installing a rail on a flat roof

Thank you so much! I'm not sure why no one has suggested going the extent of C thus far, but we will definitely go back to the roofers and ask them to redo their proposals with this in mind.


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RE: Installing a rail on a flat roof

This install will require a Carpenter or a Deck Builder who knows what your talking about and has done it before.

Also if your roof is actually flat your Carpenter needs to install fall to the outside for all of this to work as well as corect flashing to your building. J.


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