More Railing!

I have implemented a new regime: Every day I have to do at least 15 minutes worth of work getting the damn railings for the front porch installed.

A while back I got one section installed.




Nothing more.

This is inexplicable as I am dying to get the railings installed. And I have kept thinking: I need to block out a week to do all the railings.

But no week magically appears sans 6,956 other projects requiring immediate attention.

Thus, the new 15 minute rule.

And I am pleased to announce progress!

Wanna see?


Look! TWO railings now!!!!!!!! TWO!


It was tricky getting the rail fitted to the limestone. Luckily, I had the original rail still (in poor condition) which offered a most excellent template.


Tomorrow, I will spend 15 minutes on the short curved one to the left!

Please stand by…





  1. Blair Carmichael on April 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Are you going to install a cable to bring the rail height up to code for insurance purposes?

    • Cody H on April 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      In most areas, historic buildings with intact original porches are grandfathered in, or well, out of rather, from this rule. However, if you were to build a NEW porch on your old home, then the railings have to be code height. At least that’s how I understand it.


      • Ross on April 13, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        You are correct. The Cross House porch is grandfathered in, in terms of code.

        • Mr. E on April 14, 2017 at 7:21 am

          It is also on the National Historic Register, which waives that portion of building code.

  2. aBell on April 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm


  3. Marjie on April 13, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I’m curious to know how you prep them for paint…or did i miss that detail in a previous post?? … are you just painting them or do you have to prime them first?

    • Ross on April 13, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Prime! Yes!

  4. Jason J on April 13, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Looks fantastic!

  5. Tony on April 13, 2017 at 9:34 pm


  6. Barb Sanford on April 14, 2017 at 7:21 am

    So lovely! Can’t wait to make my next trip to my home town so I can come see it in person.

  7. Cory on April 14, 2017 at 7:23 am


  8. Seth Hoffman on April 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Looking great! It’s fabulous that you’ve had the exact rail profiles and balusters copied, and at the authentic height. I see too many old houses with big-box store railings at current code height, and the proportions just look bad. For those discussing code height, unless a porch is over 24″ above adjacent grade, current IRC doesn’t even require a railing. For the typical front porch, even those above 24″, the hazard of a rail shorter than 36″ is insignificant, especially when you consider far more likely hazards for visitors to encounter, such as ice on the sidewalk.

    BTW, how do you attach the railing to the stone? How was it originally secured? I’m going to be restoring our front porch soon (it’s currently enclosed: a hideous thing to do to the most welcoming part of the house), and trying to decide the best/easiest means of attachment.

  9. Katie on April 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Yay! I’m so excited for these! Almost as excited to see the second story porch finished! I’m on the edge of my seat

  10. Mike on April 14, 2017 at 9:51 am

    YES!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been waiting for this! You’ve made my day!! 🙂 I am assuming that the top and bottom rails are new, and I can imagine the expense. My porch railings are straight, but the handrails going down the front and side steps are all flared out towards the bottom. One guy quoted me $1000 for the customer rails, but I was as clever as I am cheap. I was able to buy some 2X14s, and then cut the rails from them with the flairs. Worked like a charm, and we have people stop to ask how we bent the wood to get that shape.

  11. djd_fr on April 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Great technique for long haul projects.

  12. Sandra Lee on April 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Stunning! How wonderful and such a good feeling when these things are accomplished. Just awesome!!!!!

  13. Carole Sukosd on April 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Looking great. They do float above the porch floor, correct? I too am planning my railings for the porch and also the two steps at the end of my front walk. Two steps down to the sidewalk I can no longer handle them w/o assistance. I like Mike are hoping for this summer to do. I too am working on a limited budget. So. Professor Ross, we sit at you feet to understand, learn, to have real time best practices. You have your experts, you are ours. Thank you !

  14. Laura on April 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

    LOVE the railings !!! I have been wondering for a while now—what treatment will the porch floor receive? Porches are so vital to good Kansas living … 🙂

    • Ross on January 18, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Hi, Laura!

      I still don’t have a clue what to do with the porch floors.

  15. Jenine on January 18, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I’m in the process of reading your posts up to current day, and totally enjoying it! I’ve done some rehab work on a couple houses with porches, and in both cases we replaced the porch floor boards (and support’s in one case) before we put the railings up. Are you doing it the opposite way for a specific reason, of is it just so you see progress?

    • Ross on January 18, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      Hi, Jenine!

      The porch rails are just tacked into place for now.

      • Mike on January 18, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        I went with tongue-and-grove, and painted it with a high-gloss enamel. We had debated on treated decking vs, the composite stuff (Trex?) and decided to stick with the original. That was 8 years ago, and I am going to repaint this spring. There are two or three spots that I will have to piece in a replacement board, but when you have as much porch floor space as we do, that is a very small area. Of course, there may something new on the market since 2009 that would look correct and be less maintenance…

        • Seth Hoffman on January 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

          When we restored the porch on our old Foursquare last summer, I used traditional tongue-and-groove flooring. About 75% of the original stuff was salvageable, and I replaced the remainder with a mix of Douglas Fir and pressure-treated pine, sanded it all flat, and painted it. Before painting, I treated it all thoroughly with Woolman’s Woodlife preservative, which I’ve been using for any exterior painted wood. We’ve since sold the house, but I’ll have our old neighbors check on it for me 😉

          Traditional front porches that have the floors replaced with gapped deck boards look terrible, in my opinion. They also don’t hold up much better than properly-sloping and painted tongue-and-groove flooring.

          • Mike on January 19, 2018 at 8:10 am

            Agreed 100% on the deck boards, Seth. Our neighbors used it on their porch around the same time we did ours, and their porch looks like crap now. The boards have cupped and shrank, and there are gaps wide enough for a small child to drop through. I guess it would make sweeping the porch easier tho, no need to sweep everything to the edge 🙂 Whatever Ross does, you can bank that it will look great.

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