If your deck has a standard wooden railing system, you understand just how hard it is to keep an eye on your kids while they play in the yard. Traditional wooden railing systems are bulky, unattractive, and obstructive to your view.

If you’re looking for and affordable and effective way to upgrade your deck, you should consider adding a glass railing system. Glass railing systems will enhance your view of nature, protect you from uncomfortable winds, and even allow you to keep a closer watch on your children and pets as they play in the yard, without the need for you to ever leave your lounge chair! This guide will help you pick out and install your very own glass railing system.

This project will involve some basic handyman/carpentry skills. Those without any prior experience building or installing deck upgrades should contact a decking professional before beginning your project. While installing a glass railing system yourself will certainly help you save time and money, most local professionals can provide this service for a reasonable rate, especially the professional builders from Invisirail.

If you have previous carpentry experience, you should be able to finish this project quickly and for an outstandingly affordable rate. So without further delay, let’s get started!

The first step toward installing your new glass railing system is simple: CLEAN YOUR DECK.

Decks are notorious for accumulating excess moisture, grime, mold, and mildew over the years, especially if your sealer has long since worn off. Before beginning any installation or upgrade project on your deck, you’ll need to ensure that your decking is clean and sturdy.

Start by power washing your decking to remove all traces of old stains and sealers. Then, by using a bristled push broom, you will want to apply your new stain or sealer evenly across your decking.

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This also applies to all materials you plan to use in your installation or upgrade project – just because they’re new pieces of wood doesn’t mean they’re impervious to the weather and other harmful factors.

When selecting your sealer or stain, be sure to find one that offers protection from insects, moisture, and UV rays, as many stains and sealers only protect against one or two. It’s also important to remember not to apply your stain or sealer while your deck is wet, or even moist, as any moisture whatsoever will impact the performance of your stain or sealer.

Decide Where To Install

The next step toward installing a new glass railing system is to decide which portions of your current railing need to be replaced. One on the many benefits of installing a glass railing system is that it allows you to replace as many or as little existing panes as you’d like. For example, you may only wish to install glass on one side of your deck and use the existing wooden railing to hide more unsightly portions of your yard.

Once you have decided which portions of your existing wooden railings you wish to replace, the next step will be to plans your precise post locations. You should start by planting posts at all 90-degree corners, or plant the posts to one side of all angles less than 90-degrees in order to avoid complicated notch cuts.

Now it’s time to contact your trusted glass railing system source.  It’s very important to request safety-tempered glass, as regular glass will break under only slight amount of pressure. If that happens, the broken glass will become VERY sharp and VERY dangerous.

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Safety-tempered glass is specifically designed to withstand massive amounts of pressure by comparison, and upon breaking, won’t become nearly as sharp or dangerous.

Finding the proper local glass dealer can seem like a difficult process, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, so it is best to go for the best in the industry, like the guys at LivBuilding Products, the producers of Invisirail–the best glass railing system in the market today.

The good news is that many glass professionals are specially trained in dealing with decks and deck construction projects, meaning they’ll be able to offer specialized advice.

How to Install the Glass Panels

Now that you have purchased your safety tempered glass and have planned out your post locations, it’s time to notch the posts by cutting at least one dozen crosscuts with a circular saw.

Next, you will want to drill bolt holes at least a half-inch deep. Then you need to install the posts flush with your rim joist temporarily with three inch deck screws. After all of your posts have been temporarily attached to the rim joist, you need to install your bottom support rail.

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Installing a bottom support rail will offer additional support (as the very name suggests) and help ensure the longevity and safety of your glass railing system. Place a spacer flush with each posts and secure your bottom rail with three inch deck screws. Pre-drill three inch holes to support your top rail and install the top rail in accordance with the bottom.

It’s important to drill drainage holes in your bottom rail to allow moisture to escape before it can cause damage to the wood.

Next, route the plates and assemble the rail ladder system by cutting all spindles to the proper length. Nail the spindles in to provide additional support during the glass installation process and to keep them from turning. Install the bottom and top plates to sandwich the glass in place. It’s important to use causing during this step, as you don’t want to scratch or damage your new glass railing.

Final Thoughts

Finally, you’ll need to fasten the glass by nailing the inside half of the bottom and top plates to the rails. Make sure you have an assistant standing by to help hold and secure the glass while you nail the plates into place. After that, all you’ll have to do is select and install the proper post caps. 

Now that you’re finished, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your unobstructed view of nature thanks to your brand new glass railing system!