Labor cost to install deck railing ranges from $10 to $30 per linear foot
When it comes to replacing outdated deck rails, the labor cost to install a deck railing is $30 per linear foot on average. Decks and porches with complex angles and corners typically demand higher-than-average rates. Installing rails on a freshly built deck is generally cheaper than replacing rails on a comparable deck. Keep reading to learn more about deck railing installation costs.
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Deck Railing Installation Labor Costs
Most contractors charge per linear foot for deck rail installation labor, ranging from $10 to $50 per linear foot. That means that bigger decks will cost more to update. Let’s take a look at the cost factors to consider when budgeting for this project.
As mentioned above, the linear footage of the railed portion of your deck is the biggest factor in determining the deck railing cost for labor. You can expect to pay more for larger decks and porches.
Railing contractors may charge more for labor for replacing rails on a hard-to-access deck or porch. For instance, a "balcony" deck requiring a contractor to work on a high, cramped space could bring in a higher estimate than a deck situated on a flat, large yard with plenty of room for tools and equipment.
In addition to your deck’s location, your home’s location also plays a factor in pricing. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, like New York City or San Francisco, you can expect to pay higher labor costs than an area with a more affordable cost of living.
Some contractors prefer to charge for deck railing installation by the hour instead of charging by linear foot. The typical labor cost to replace deck and porch railings is around $70 per hour.
Factors Impacting Deck Railing Installation Cost
The existing deck setup helps to determine how much a new railing installation will cost. Here's a look at some factors that can impact cost.
Removing Current Rails
If you're planning to tear off existing rails to add new rails to a bare-faced deck, this decision generally makes a railing swap less expensive. Expect to pay between $10 and $15 per linear foot for this scenario. In addition, sticking with standard factory-length railings will also keep pricing in that same price range per linear foot. In these scenarios, the railing pro will be able to tear off nailed-in railing from the wood to install new factory-length rails.
Fitting New Rails With Current Support Posts
If you're planning to fit new rails between existing support posts, that could increase labor costs due to the customization and detail required. Contractors could charge as much as $25 to $30 per linear foot to accommodate for the necessary cuts. Expect to pay on the higher end of that range if your deck has lots of angles and corners. If you can fit new rails between existing posts that are in good shape, the cost might be closer to $20 per linear foot.
The cost range might also be closer to $20 per linear foot if your posts fit a factory-available vinyl railing length. Considering that the cost of vinyl railing is $20 to $40 per linear foot, it's possible for a deck or porch with existing posts that need to be worked into the job to still be updated on a budget. The cost savings from fitting new railings between existing posts might be eaten up just a little when choosing metal deck railings instead. The cost of metal deck railing ranges from $40 to $70 per linear foot.
If any existing posts need to be replaced due to rot, damage, or style preferences, the cost per new post ranges from $20 to $120. Your railing contractor should inspect your existing posts to determine whether they need replacing before diving into the project.
Additional Costs to Consider
The age, state, and original composition of your deck could impact labor costs. For example, your deck fascia impacts the type of hangers or brackets that will be needed. If a contractor needs to spend time sourcing legal fastening that works with your existing fascia, you may be charged for this aspect of the labor process.
Cost to Install New Deck Railing Yourself
When doing a DIY deck railing installation, the cost of your new railing is the biggest project cost. Materials required to complete a 100-foot section of a porch or deck range from $150 to $6,000, depending on the product’s quality. Wood, aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic/poly railings will cost between $40 to $80 per linear foot. Trex and vinyl both range in price from $20 to $40 per linear foot. Starting at $15 per linear foot, composite is the budget option when replacing deck railings.
Choosing high-end railings will significantly increase the price of your DIY deck railing project. For example, glass-panel deck railings can cost up to $600 per linear foot. Cable deck railing costs between $100 and $600 per linear foot. Finally, wrought iron offers a luxury upgrade at a medium-tier price by coming in at between $50 and $120 per linear foot.
Cost to Install Deck Railing Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor
When deciding whether to install your new deck railings on your own, you might save around $700 for a project that would be a 10-hour job for a pro. However, this task requires making accurate cuts on various railing materials, which can be difficult and dangerous without a
In addition to creating a sturdy, appealing finished look, handrail experts in your area can also ensure that your new railings comply with all local codes. This is important because rails that aren't considered safe by code standards could create liability at your property. Loose, uneven rails are both unattractive and dangerous.
How You Can Save Money on a Deck Railing Replacement
While you may not feel confident about installing new deck railing on your own due to the complexity of this project, you can still cut your deck or porch railing installation cost by taking on some of the "demolition."
If your deck or porch configuration is relatively simple, consider pulling off your existing railings to create a clean slate for your contractor that will shave time off the labor process. You can also cut down on project costs by choosing a more budget-friendly railing material, such as composite.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s important to note that compromised deck railings create risks for falls. Signs that you need to replace your deck railings include unsteady railings, visibly rotting railings, cracks, warping, and rusted hardware. If you address issues like missing or broken spindles right away, you can likely make DIY deck repairs.
Vinyl is generally considered to be the best option for homeowners seeking railings that are both durable and affordable. Vinyl provides protection against the mold and rot that can develop within wood railings. Composite is another budget-friendly option. However, people building high-end decks often prefer the look of glass panels or metal rails.
When pulling off an existing deck railing to install a new one, homeowners should take the opportunity to replace deck boards that are rotted or missing. This is also a time to replace or repair deck fascia while it's exposed.