The process of installing DIY railings can vary significantly depending on what types of railings are being installed as well as where they are being installed. It is important to assemble the proper tools before beginning the project to ensure all modification of the railing materials can be done properly and quickly. If the materials cannot be modified onsite, it will be essential to make accurate measurements and re-check those measurements before ordering materials for the DIY railings; this is especially important when choosing vinyl railings that cannot be modified on site.
If wood is being used to make the DIY railings, it will be possible to modify the materials onsite. Choosing the right wood is the next step. If the DIY railing will be built outdoors, it is best to choose wood that is resistant to water damage, such as molding, cracking, splitting, or warping. Pressure treated wood will work well for this application, though it will usually be necessary to paint or otherwise stain the wood to cover up the chemical appearance. Some woods are naturally water resistant; teak, cedar, and oak tend to resist water damage very effectively, but these woods are likely to cost more than other types of wood.
Make sure to consider how the DIY railings will be secured in place. Some railings, for example, must be secured to a wall, in which case it will be important to locate studs within that wall. The DIY railings should never be secured just to drywall or other thin, brittle materials, since users are likely to put weight on the railings that can essentially tear them from the wall. The railings will need to be secured to studs using mounting hardware, and it may be necessary to use a stud finder device to locate the studs within the wall.
Stability is the first concern when installing DIY railings, so regardless of where the railings are being mounted, they should be secured in such a way that they will not move under load. On a deck or porch, it will therefore be necessary to use large bolts to secure the railing in place. Holes should be pre-drilled into the railing and into the stringers, runners, or beams to which the railings will be secured. When choosing hardware, it is important to choose materials that will not rust or corrode over time. Galvanized steel hardware is best because it resists such damage.