A deck is a great addition to your home as it extends your living space to the outdoors and provides an area outside where your family can enjoy the warm weather and entertain guests, whilst also adding good value to your home.
However, having a deck does come with some upkeep requirements for it to remain a safe place for you and our family to regularly spend time together.
One regular thing you’ll need to check is that all your railings are secure, especially if your deck is high above the ground as it’ll be the only thing that stands in the way of you falling off.
Extensive use, time, and the elements can cause joints and railings to loosen and cause a potential hazard for you and your family.
That’s why we’ll be sharing our tips for fixing a wobbly deck railing and some preventative measures you can put in place to minimize the chance of this occurring.
How To Fix a Wooden Wobbly Railing
Tighten Loose Bolts or Screws
Check each bolt or screw that connects your railing to your deck joist and frame use a power drill to ensure each one is fully driven in and tightened so that it doesn’t wobble.
Add Blocking Between Rim Joists
If your railing is still wobbly, then try adding some pressure-treated blocking between the rim joists of your decking so that it’s more secure and doesn’t move. We’d recommend adding the blocking in a zigzag pattern to ensure ultimate security.
Remove and Replace Hardware
If you’ve tightened your hardware in your decking but the railing is still wobbly, then further inspection may show that the hardware has loosened due to corrosion and has moved permanently from its original position.
If the wood is still in good condition then remove the hardware and replace it with new durable steel hardware.
Remove or Replace Wood/Rails That Are Warped, Rotten, or Damaged
Rain, heat, and the sun can cause railings to warp, rot and be permanently damaged beyond repair so they’ll need to be replaced with new wood. However, if the damage is extended to the majority of your railing then you may want to consider replacing it with a whole new rail system made out of a more durable material like metal.
How To Fix a Metal Wobbly Railing
Clean and Remove Any Rust on The Railings
The elements can easily cause your metal railings to rust and become loose, so take the time to clean off these rusty areas with some white vinegar and a microfiber cloth. Pay special attention to railing connectors and screws as these are the parts that keep your railing most secure.
Tighten the Post-mounting Hardware
Inspect each rail post and see if the screws or bolts feel weak or loose, if they do then use a power drill to secure them into the joists so that nothing moves.
Replace or Repair Worn Post Connectors
Replace any worn bolts or screws that are currently anchoring your deck posts as soon as you can as the pressure and stress of the damaged post can affect the other anchors and cause more serious damage to your deck and potential harm to your family.
Repair or Replace Rail Brackets
Take a look at the rail brackets example this one (on Amazon) on the posts and see if this area is loosened due to breakage or if it’s not been put properly in place. Adjust it if necessary to make sure it’s tight or consider replacing the piece if it’s been damaged.
Add Post Skirts or Fill With Anchoring Cement
Adding post skirts like this (on Amazon) to the bottom of your rail posts will be able to keep them more secure and shield the screws away from the elements that cause corrosion. If necessary, you can also secure your rail posts with anchoring clement so they are still in place and won’t move regardless of weather conditions.
Why Do Railings Become Loose or Wobbly and How To Prevent It
There are various reasons as to why your railings can become wobbly or loose.
One major factor that can contribute to this problem is the elements like sun, heat, windy conditions, and rain. Many people use wood as the material for their outdoor deck for the natural look it gives their yard, however, wood is prone to expanding and contracting when exposed to high temperatures and the sun which can then cause the screws and bolts to loosen.
The rain can also cause the wood of the railings or the joints to rot, which will then make them loosen and possibly come away from each other. Strong winds can cause railings to bend and even break especially when endured for long periods.
Putting excessive weight on the railings of your deck by leaning on it or even climbing over it will cause wear down and loosen the railing and the hardware, which could even lead you to fall through.
This is why as soon as you notice a loose railing on your deck, you should try to fix it as soon as possible or at least barricade off the area so no one goes near it so they can’t lean or fall through it.
How To Prevent It
Sometimes wear and tear of your railing and decking is inevitable due to the weather and elements around it. However, there are some things you can do to minimize your railings loosening.
- Make sure you don’t lean heavy objects against the railings and ensure no one leans and puts their weight on the railings
- Don’t power wash the decking railings as this could break and damage them. Always wash them by hand
- Use protective deck paint or stain to minimize the development of moisture or mold on your wooden railings
- Regularly inspect and tighten screws or bolts around your deck to keep everything secure