This project is continued from How to Build a 2×6 Porch Rail – Part 4.
Install the Porch Top Rail
Here’s a close up view of the 2×6 cedar porch rail sitting on the 2×2 support picket before fastening with screws:
Complete view of the porch rail sitting on the corner post and wall supports:
Fasten the Porch Top Rail to the End Supports
The 2×6 top rail is fastened to the 2×4 support block by drilling 1/8″ strain relief holes to prevent splitting the cedar board, then three (3) corrosion resistant 2-1/2″ screws are driven. Take care to the drill and set the screws vertically so as not to break through the face of the 2×4 support block, which would weaken the joint.
1/8″ holes are drilled in the 2×4 side rail for strain relief so as not to split the wood, then the top rail is fastened to the wall picket with two 2-1/2″ corrosion resistant screws:
Take care to drill the holes and set the screws straight for maximum joint strength.
2×4 Bottom Rail and 2×2 Picket Construction
The 2×4 bottom rail is set 36″ below the subrail (which is the length of a 2×2 picket), plumbed with a level and fastened to the 2×2 support picket with two screws just like the side rail in the above photo.
The other end of the bottom rail is fastened to the 8×8 porch post with two 3″ stainless steel screws set at a slant in a toenail fashion. To set the toe screws:
- Drill a shallow 1/8″ hole straight into the face of the subrail with a 1/8″ diameter drill bit. The purpose of the starter hole is to prevent the drill bit from sliding across the face of the 2×4 bottom rail when drilling at a slant. Try it first on a scrap of wood and you’ll see what I mean.
- Slant the drill bit 45° in the starter hole and drill the pilot holes for the toe screws.
Prepare the pickets by marking and drilling 1/8″ stress relief holes for the 2-1/2″ screws in the 2×2 pickets.
Set the first picket, check for plumb with the carpenters level and fasten it with 2-1/2″ screws to the side- and bottom rails. The 2×4 spacer block is perfect for setting the pickets on 5 inch centers with a 3-1/2″ gap between pickets.
Every 5 pickets or so, check the picket is plumb with the carpenter’s level to prevent drifting off the vertical. The 2×6 cedar porch rail with after installing the pickets:
Caulk the Joints
I caulked the joints along the wall and 8×8 porch post with white GE Silicone II Paintable Silicone caulk to prevent rain water from wicking in behind the boards which would promote rot. Click on this photo for a full size view to see the caulk lines:
I also placed a dab of caulk on all the screw heads, smoothed the caulk and painted the caulk lines.
Finished 2×6 Cedar Porch Rail
Here’s several photos of the finished project – it turned out really nice if I do say so myself. I tested the rail with my 215 lb weight, leaning, pulling, pushing and sitting on it and found it to be very rigid and strong.
Outside view of the completed 2×6 porch rail:
The porch rail improves the house and gives it a “finished” look:
All the rail needs now is a couple of flower pots or maybe a flower box.
Hope this helps,
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