How to stabilize porch rails when concrete is curing?
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Thread: How to stabilize porch rails when concrete is curing?

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    green and red man's Avatar
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    How to stabilize porch rails when concrete is curing?

    I'm in the process of completing some steel porch rails for an elderly relative. Putting a pair on her back and front concrete porches. We looked at home centers, but the rails were all built out of thin materials and appeared to be more decorative than sturdy. Since I already had some steel on hand, I decided to just build some porch rails.

    The rails are being constructed with 2" X 2" X 11 gauge square tubing. Nothing fancy in design, just functional.

    I didn't have time to take pics yet. Hope to weld everything together this weekend. Then I'll finish cleaning the steel and prepare to prime and paint.

    Will be drilling 4 inch deep holes in the concrete porches for setting the posts in and then quick drying cement will be added. This is cement that's specialized just for this purpose.

    My question, what are some methods for securing the rails while the cement cures?

    I had previously built and installed some more home built rails at another place and had difficulty trying to stabilize the rails while the cement was drying.

    Anyone have any useful suggestions? These rails will help my elderly aunt to avoid falling as well as other people that come to visit.

    Thanks




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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    A picture would help, but if there is dirt/grass nearby I'd think some 2x4 stakes driven into the ground and then 2x4's from the stakes to the railing would be good.
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    green and red man (04-22-2012)

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    green and red man's Avatar
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    Thanks Kenny. There is dirt to the north and south of the porches. The front porch has some decorative metal porch supports and maybe I could attach some kind of straps to them and pull in two directions to keep the rails steady. If the rain wasn't pouring down right now, I could take some pics.

    I might could also drive some T-posts into the ground to use as anchors. I'm wondering how similar attached hand rails are held in place for commercial applications when there's just concrete all around and no ground to drive an anchor into.




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    RRMCCABE's Avatar
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    Shouldnt take much to hold them. I would think a 2x4 wired to the top railing and a sandbag laying on base of 2x4 would work.

    I assume the porch is not going to get any handrail use for a few hours?
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    A lot of railing I see in industrial applications has flat feet on the bottom of the posts. They're bolted in place with concrete anchors.
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    green and red man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56FordGuy View Post
    A lot of railing I see in industrial applications has flat feet on the bottom of the posts. They're bolted in place with concrete anchors.
    Thanks, that's what I was kind of wondering.




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    green and red man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRMCCABE View Post
    Shouldnt take much to hold them. I would think a 2x4 wired to the top railing and a sandbag laying on base of 2x4 would work.

    I assume the porch is not going to get any handrail use for a few hours?
    No, they won't be used until the cement hardens enough to allow the braces to be removed.

    May just have to do one porch at a time. But, she can always use the garage to enter and exit if I tried to install rails on both porches on the same day.




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    Manomet's Avatar
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    I don't know how far off the house this rail is but i would tack some temporary supports parallel with the porch floor attached to the house wall and clamp the rail to them. You wouldn't want to do this with vinyl or aluminum siding but any wooden siding would accept this fine and be easy to caulk a hole if necessary. This way you are stabilizing from side to side with one anchor point. Put one brace at each end of a run made out of your 2x2 stock should be fine. I personally would be inclined to drill the holes deeper than 4" as a stout railing will have a lot of leverage and could lead to premature failing of a concrete porch if too close to the edge. Bear in mind if water gets in around the posts and freezes in the winter it could also lead to premature failure of the porch floor around the posts. Good Luck

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    If you're going to cement them into holes drilled in the concrete, I'd use anchor bolt grout instead of quick drying concrete. Anchor bolt grout is meant for tasks like you describe. It has a finer texture, and a high PSI rating as I recall.

    The big box stores sell it.

    http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines...ringCement.asp
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    green and red man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    If you're going to cement them into holes drilled in the concrete, I'd use anchor bolt grout instead of quick drying concrete. Anchor bolt grout is meant for tasks like you describe. It has a finer texture, and a high PSI rating as I recall.

    The big box stores sell it.

    http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines...ringCement.asp
    Thanks, that's what I bought and used for the first pair of rails. I'll use it on the others too. Works really well.
    At first, I had intended to buy a quicker drying product than the Quikrete, but Home Depot didn't have it in stock. Worked out to purchase and use the Quikrete instead, as it allows a little more time to work it before it sets up. Now I just gotta settle on which new rotary hammer to buy, since the old hammer drill kicked the bucket. Had to finish drilling the remaining holes on the first rails with a regular drill and masonry bit. Then finished the holes with cold chisels. Man, that was work.




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