Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Feedlot panels as Deck Railing

Albany_Chris's picture

In the September 2011 issue (p51), an architect described and pictured using agricultural feedlot panels as deck railing panels or free version at

These are 16' very heavy gauge galvanized steel welded 4"grids, and the author had them boxed in at the top (with a rope light), set into drilled holes in the side posts, and set into drilled holes in a 1" steel pipe as the bottom. I am considering using this idea on a project, but had a few concerns and would appreciate your thoughts or conjecture. especially if anyone has ever seen this done.

- I will ask at Tractor Supply, but how long before these panels start rusting?  Should I use a galvanized steel primer and spray paint them first?  They will actually be at my own house, so if they last long enough (10 yrs?) I can just replace them ($50 each) rather than painting them upfront.

- My other concern is water will enter the 1" steel pipe at the bottom through the holes drilled every 4" up top, with no obvious way for the water to get out.  (Insert architect joke here...)  Just drill a few 1/4" holes in the bottom?  WIll this overly weaken the 12' (for me) length?  Will I gt rust spots on the decking in those spots?  Wil galvanized 1" pipe last as long as the panel before rusting?

Chris (post #206226, reply #1 of 4)

Wherever you drill or cut the pipe or wire, it can rust.  How long till failure ?   

I have one inch and inch and a half rigid conduit as hand rails outside my house.  The protected (overhang, but wind driven rain and snow) pipe has been up for 23 yrs-no discernable rust (the cut ends are run into/thru 4x4 posts.

The unprotected on a small deck stair show light rust at the ends where they enter the 4x4's.


How is the wire attached to the pipe and side posts?....................just stuck into the drilled holes?

I ask because the whole railing system needs to withstand a couple hundred pounds of side pressure to be compliant and safe.  Don't want your hundred pound rotweiller plumeting to her death.  Is this deck within 30" of grade?

And a twelve foot span for even a boxed rail is quite a bit with nothing to keep the sag out in between.

Best of luck.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Paint (post #206226, reply #2 of 4)

The galvanization on these "farm" panels is prone to rust, especially at the welds.  I used 4x4x1/4" welded wire mesh, meant for concrete reinforcement, the panels come 7'x20'.  After all of the panels were custom cut for their specific location, had them sandblasted, galvanized and painted. This is a much more durable product, 10 yrs. now and no problems.

Gary- Research and Development


helpful (post #206226, reply #3 of 4)

Thanks, both replies are helpful.


Gary,  any idea how much you paid for this?  And where would I look for a company that can do that kind of sndblasting and painting on large panels?

Did you use the panels for deck railing panels?  Sounds like you are happy with the results?

Wire (post #206226, reply #4 of 4)

Don't know where you are located, can't recall what I paid (10+years), but I do remember thinking it was very reasonable, considering the options.  In Portland (Oregon), I bought the wire at Western Wire Products.  The painting/blasting/galv.  were also done in Portland at a shop.  Mason's Supply should also carry the wire.  Good Luck!

Gary- Research and Development