For a Panel / Punched Post railing system like the patio railing shown here, posts are punched for the number of rails required by the panels you order.
For Panel / Rail End and Post Top aluminum railings, the posts are not punched. Instead all connections are made to the posts with rail ends or connector plates (in the case of Post Top systems).
Normally, posts use flanges to attach to the mounting surface of a deck or balcony. (See Post Flanges below.)
All three of our aluminum railing systems will meet or exceed building codes at 6' wide or less when flanged posts are used.
To use panels great than 6' and up to 8', building codes will require the posts to be "core-drilled" into the deck surface.
Post are available in the following standard heights: 37", 43", 47" and 53" depending on how the railing is to be installed. Custom heights are also available, if necessary.
Typically, a 36" Railing would use 37" posts with flanges. This allows for 2" of space beneath the railing and 1" of post above the top rail.
For stairs, longer posts are usually supplied to allow for all the variances typical with a stair rail installation, like inconsistent riser heights. A 47" post would be used for a 36" railing system and would be cut down to size during installation.
For a Punched Post System, there are 5 different types of posts available.
As an example, for a 36" Panel / Punched Post, 3 rail system, the 37" posts may be punched for:
For Post / Rail End systems or Post Top systems, Blank posts (no punches) are always used for all posts.
Stair railings, also, always use Blank Posts and vertically adjustable rail ends regardless of the type of system used.
In addition to length, posts also come in different sizes: 2" square, 2 1/2" square, and 3" square. Panel / Post railing systems use the 2 1/2" post with an upgrade to a 3" post, if desired.
Post Top railing systems always use 2" posts.
The third post dimension is wall thickness.
Panel / Post systems use either a 2 1/2", 0.100 wall post or a 3", 0.125 wall post.
Two inch posts have a wall thickness of .080", except for End/Gate posts which are 0.125". If you wish, you can order all 0.125" posts for the Post Top system for even greater strength.
Using this type of Rail End on a Panel / Rail End system creates the cleanest look as all fasteners are hidden. A hidden fastener Rail End is shown in this photo.
A Post Top system always uses hidden fastener Rail Ends to attach the Middle and Bottom Rails to the posts.
Tabbed Rail Ends are needed for attaching between existing walls / columns if posts are not used in a short run.
For more information on installing between columns, see the Existing Columns page.
Vertically adjustable Rail Ends are used for stair railings. This is a photo of one. Since there is no place to hide screws on this type of Rail End, two screw heads are visible as well as the Barrel bolt that holds the mounting plate and Rail End cup together.
These are used for all rails on a Panel / Post system and for the middle and bottom rails on a Post Top system.
Similar Horizontally adjustable Rail Ends are used any place a railing needs to turn some angle other than 90 degrees.
The Top Rail is mounted to the tops of the posts on a Post Top system using a flat connector plate.
When the top rail has to follow a slope, such as going down stairs, then a Cross-Over Cap is used, as shown here. This allows the connector plate, barrel bolted to a post cap, to tilt at the necessary angle to hold the Top Rail.
For more specific information, please see the Installing Stair Railings page.
Typically, posts are mounted to deck, balcony, porch or stair surfaces using flanges. All posts are Boss Screw Posts so that flanges can be attached to the bottom of the post.
Our patent-pending flange is unique in that it uses four boss screws to attach to the bottom of the post. Once attached, it is bolted to the surface using whatever fasteners are appropriate to the surface. These are not supplied with the railing but are commonly available at any hardware store or Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.
Once attached to the surface, the flange is covered with the four piece flange cover which snaps into place to hide the fasteners as shown in this photo!
This unique flange is available only with the Ultra Signature Collection of aluminum railing.
When you order flanges, they come pre-installed on the posts. You simply need to fasten them to the surface and snap the covers into place.
When flanges are used, posts are installed every 6' on center at the maximum.
If it is necessary to span more than 6' and up to 8' with a single panel, posts must be core-drilled or extend through the surface and be bolted from underneath.