How to Install Vinyl Railing

I bought my CertainTeed Kingston Railing from a local wholesale supplier and had it delivered to my home. The railing has an aluminum core surounded with a vinyl covering.
PLAN AHEAD – if possible put in your posts so that the railing balusters have at least two inches to four inches spacing at each end. If you have less than that your covers won’t fit easily.

 One thing you need to know upfront is that a 6 foot railing is actually 68 1/2 inches long. Similarly the 8 foot railing is not 8 feet, but is 92 1/2 inches long.

The first chore I had is figuring out how to cut the railing. I ended up borrowing a friends miter saw and bought a carbide tipped 60 teeth 10 inch saw blade. You don’t need to buy a special metal cutting blade. Just make sure you get a carbide tipped blade. I could have gotten a 40 teeth blade, but went with the 60 teeth to get a finer cut. Take  you time cutting through the metal.

There is a center support that you screw into the bottom at the middle point. Attach the crush block to the middle of the bottom rail-I used a 9/64 drill bit for the pilot hole. The block goes parallel to the rail. I also cut a couple of 2×4’s for extra support when I install the bottom rail. Make sure you set these down in the right orientation when you are

I also cut a wood support for the rail when I cut it on the floor to make sure my cuts are square.
When you measure the bottom rail you want the slots to be equi-distant from both end supports.

After you cut the railing you slip the covers on. There are two ways the covers can go on, so make sure they go on correctly so that they cover the supports.

Slide in the supports. I used a rubber mallet to get them in and still when I put the railing into place it was a bit tight. You might want to cut an extra 1/32″ extra off at the ends to get an easier fit.

All of the screws require an unusual  square bit for them, so you may be headed to the hardware store for this item.

You only put in two screws per side on the rail. For the bottom rail you put screws in the top part of the support. I used a 9/64 drill bit for the pilot hole. For the top rail you put in two screws in the bottom holes. Then you can screw in the vinyl railing to the aluminum end supports. I used a 9/64 drill pilot hole. Try to be careful here so that the screw doesn’t stick out and stop the plastic cover from closing. I used the one inch screws for all these attachments.

Note – they include some long screws, possibly for attaching to wood, but I never used these.

After you put in the bottom rail, you put in the square balusters.

Make sure the top rail lines up perfectly with the bottom rail before you cut it.

I then sanded and lubed the holes in top railing so that the balusters would go in easily. I also sprayed the balusters to make it easier to attach.

You start from one end and work your way down. You then screw in the aluminum supports for the top rail and attach the rail to the support.


1. My posts weren’t perfectly level so I had a problem with the bottom rail shorter than the top rail. Ideally you would like all your posts straight and level.

2. My 2nd problem is that I couldn’t fit one of my covers on and tried to cut it with my miter saw – it cracked and broke. You’re supposed to be able to cut this and bend it around the railing. I will try a hacksaw next time.

Note – I called the Certainteed main office and they were nice enough to send out four free replacements, even though I only needed one. I did find that if you used a coping saw, you can easily cut the bottom middle part and then it fairly easy will slip over the railing end.

3. On one of my top rails I had a post very close to the end and the metal support was sticking into the post area. I had to cut out a section from the post for it to go into the hole.

4. Another thing I’ve learned is that once you have your top rail in place, check the balusters and  try to move them up and down. Ideally, they won’t move much at all. If they do. then you know you have a problem.

5. My first drill bit only lasted for one railing. I bought the titanium metal bit – Id did last the rest of the project.

6. Drilling into concrete – I added two 38″ posts to the ends and had to connect them to the concrete. Not an easy job – even with a hammer drill.

TIME: my first rail took about four hours as I took my time and figured out how to do everything. My 3rd rail took about 1 1/2 hours.

The printed directions are almost useless, but they have a nice video on YouTube. Here it is:
Here’s the final job done:

About Tom Terrific

Interested in MANY things.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Misc. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Kudos you really did a neat job with the railing and you have written quite extensively about vinyl railing installation for anyone who wants top DIY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: