When adding railing to concrete features like sidewalks, patios or balconies, it’s important to know the best way to install it. Following the proper guidelines can save you from costly repairs and backbreaking work later.
Railing that is improperly installed can lead to costly, labor-intensive repairs that could involve having to tear out and replace the concrete completely. Let’s take a look at both the wrong way and the correct way to anchor railing to concrete.
One way to attach railing to concrete is to embed it directly into the concrete. The thought behind this is that it will make the railing stronger if it is actually mounted in the concrete.
However, the fact that the metal railing is embedded can create a huge problem. The problem with such an installation method comes down to moisture transfer. Concrete is porous and easily absorbs and retains water. The water that is absorbed by the porous concrete can then be transferred to the wrought iron or metal that is embedded in it causing rust to form. This corrosion can reach a pretty advanced stage before you even see the damage.
But that’s only part of the problem. Once you discover the rust, the only way to repair it is to cut or drill out the concrete that is holding the railing and replace it. This approach is time consuming, costly and labor intensive, often leading to damage in both your concrete and your railing.
A much simpler and more cost-effective approach involves using concrete bolts or fasteners to anchor railing on top of concrete rather than embed it. When properly installed, you will get railing that is stable and able to support large amounts of weight. The railing will be just as sturdy as if it had been sunk into the concrete, without all of the hassle and maintenance problems that come with embedding it.
Anchoring railing to concrete also makes it easier to change out its components as soon as you see signs of corrosion. PowderTech always recommends stainless fasteners when completing a powder coated project, they match the aesthetic quality of powder long-term and allow for reliable replacement 5, 10 and even 20 years down the road.
Below is a brief outline of how we recommend you mount your railing to concrete. This is only a simple outline and you should consult with a concrete professional before you begin installation.
For this task, you’ll need a hammer drill, hammer, tape measure, hack saw, vacuum, extension cord, and a sharpie marker. You will need additional tools for your railing kit, but as that will vary, we will not be covering it in this particular article.
As you can see, when properly installed, rails bolted to concrete instead of embedded can give you a firm, strong railing while also negating the costly problems associated with sinking the railing into the concrete. This will save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run and make sure you don’t have to deal with costly, difficult repairs.
In addition to bolting your railing rather than sinking it into concrete, using railing materials that have been powder coated is a great way to further ensure that you won’t see signs of rust damage. Our team of experts at PowderTech can help you determine the best coating for your architectural finishing project whether it is installing a new rail outside of your building or you need an entire outdoor structure powder coated. Contact us today at (316) 832-9210 or request a quote.
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