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Railing for a quarter circle deck

richardi's picture

My new house has a quarter circle deck with a radius of ~24', requiring ~38' of railing. There is also a walkway the wraps around a courner of the house to a set of stairs down to grade. I believe there's a total of 78-80' of railing.

Since there is a partial curve in the railing, I thought metal would be the best way to go. Since this house is on a tidal river, it was recommended to use stainles steel. Also solid ss rails versus ss cable. Well, I was a little surprised at the quote; over $200/ft.

So, I have 2 questions:

Is this price per foot reasonable?

What would be an alternative?

BTW  - The decking is grapa and I don't want anything too bulky to obstruct the view. :)





Sounds reasonable to me. SS (post #207462, reply #1 of 7)

Sounds reasonable to me. SS rails are expensive and SS cable rails are out of this world.

As an alternate you coul dhave a local shop fabricate the top rail and posts from aluminum rather than SS. I've done abutr half a dozen cable rails but bought the cable and turnbuckles myself from a sailboat hardware supplier and saved a huge amount of money. But the bottom line is that no good, durable rail system for your location is going to be cheap.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Curved Ipe Deck railing (post #207462, reply #2 of 7)

I built my curved railing out of Ipe, to match the deck. See pic. Cut the curve pieces out of wider boards. Used Deckorators aluminum balusters set in and through drilled holes. I lagged the 6x6 posts into blocking from the underside. The geometry enhances the stability, but pretty stiff anyway. The ipe is so hard, I had to drill out the lag holes 1/32" less than the lag diameter, or the 1/2"dia. lags would snap off trying to pull their way into the 6x (when the impact wrench could even twist it). 

I have about 24ft of rail, and it took about 100 amateur carpenter hours to build.

Curved Deck rail.jpg
Curved Deck rail.jpg614.89 KB
deck_aerial.jpg3.51 MB

Consider EMT. (post #207462, reply #3 of 7)

I have often used electrical metalic tubing for railings, including in close proximity  to salt water, without problems. It is stronger than aluminium, very inexpensive and easy to bend. I've used it horizontally with wood posts and bent corners. Typically I use 1" for a top rail and 1/2" for lower rails. I drill the posts so that the tubing goes into the holes. With careful post layout splices can be avoided. I used both the natural galvinized finish with the printed markings removed and powder coated finishes. I've also used it vertically between wood railings.

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mike (post #207462, reply #4 of 7)

Nice looking job.

One question-emt or rigid conduit?  Span might dictate-that 250lbs of weight applied to rails might be reached quickly over spanning between the posts.  I've used 3/4 and 1-1/4 rigid and been confident up to say 5'.


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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Conduit Type. (post #207462, reply #5 of 7)

I've used emt. 1" emt is pretty strong. The whole assembly of a 1" top rail and 1/2" lower rails @ 4" o.c. will resist any outward forces. I don't know that an adult could sit on the top rail without bending it some. I like the smoothness of emt and it bends easily by hand. I have a bender for 1 1/4" emt (or 1" pipe) but it is a [CUTE LITTLE PUPPY] to use. The handle is 6' long. The 1/2" lower rails wil not take any downward weight. If there is a chance of someone climbing the rail I would not use this system. Emt powder coats nicely. Intermediate metalic conduit is not as heavy as ridgid but much stronger than emt. It might make a good choice. I don't think galvanized water pipe bends well, but I have never tried it. A metal supply would give lots more choices. A good coating specialist can galvinize and powdercoat your assemblies. If you can weld and bend (I can't) your options are unlimited.

Thanks (post #207462, reply #6 of 7)

I googled your name-partly because for some reason I think I know you-perhaps on this forum long ago............some bar in Ohio...........?

At any rate-there's a fun thing to do if you never have.  There's some different (I think)  Mike Mahan's around. 

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Industrial electricians have (post #207462, reply #7 of 7)

Industrial electricians have a conduit bender that can bend large-diameter rigid in arcs of arbitrary radius.  And some HVAC/mechanical outfits may have something similar.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville