DIY Inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit, easy to do!

Nov 06 2017
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A post on how I built inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit. Have you seen the gorgeous steel wire railings that have been populating Pinterest the last couple of years and gaining huge popularity? Well I sure have and I’ve been drooling over them for months and months… at least until I saw the price tag. It was an absolute no go for me, on top of that they do require tightening over time and that kinda bugged me too. I was leaning toward just wire fencing (yes like hog panels) but that felt a little rough even for me and I would have wanted to frame them out in wood and that would have been labor intensive and costly.

DIY steel conduit deck railing, inexpensive alternative to steel wire railings you can do yourself, how toDIY steel conduit deck railing, inexpensive alternative to steel wire railings you can do yourself, how to

I didn’t want to do the regular spindles for several reasons: the first being I find them kind of boring and the other reason being that, they too, are very labor intensive and expensive when it comes to a deck the size of mine (over 700 square feet!) I also really didn’t want to obstruct the view, I wanted to feel like I was sitting in my yard not blocked off from nature which is why I was so drawn to the wire railings to begin with. But I’m definitely going to have dogs in my life so I still needed to have SOMETHING and, universe knows, my deck has looked pretty unfinished while I’ve been working on this dilemma.

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

The light bulb went off one day when I was in the electrical department of my local fleet store and I caught a glimpse of the 1/2″ steel conduit. And then I saw the price and my heart literally jumped: at $2.99 for 10 feet this could work! At first I was going to drill through every single post around the whole deck for the deck rails and thread all of the conduit through them. Well, I don’t know about you, but the idea of drilling three holes through my posts really made me wince at how much I would be hurting their structural integrity. I literally had images of them breaking off in my next serious storm. So, no go on the drilling. I saw these steel hole straps on Amazon (at only $10.49 for 100!) and I knew exactly how I was going to do this.

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

I went around the deck first making a mark where each pipe strap would be using a scrap 2×2 that I marked with a magic marker. I put all the straps over my marks leaving the screws a touch loose so it would be easy to thread the pipe through. Once the pipe was in place I just had to tighten them all down.

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

At first I was going to try and have the seams random but once I started adding the pipe I preferred the look of all the seams in the same place. (I did cut the pipe in one place so every single length of pipe I used hit on at least two hole straps.) When I was at this it occurred to me just how versatile this idea is. Why not use PVC pipe and spray paint it to look like copper or wrought iron? Or you could just literally use copper pipe or galvanized pipe (though the expense would be more) and you could also use big rope here too.

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

All in the deck rails cost only about $110! Pretty amazing for only a couple of hours of work and now my deck finally looks almost finished. Next job is to make the gates! (Note: you will have to check with your local building ordinances if you want to build a deck railing up to code ESPECIALLY if you plan on selling your home. Every state, city and county has their own very specific ordinances I also double checked with my house insurance company to make sure that this would work with my plan.)

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

Comments

  1. November 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Oh my gosh Tarah I love this idea!!! I am a big fan of the plumbing and electrical departments! haha. You never know what you can re-purpose in that section cheaply. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is such a fun idea! I will have to keep this handy when we build our deck in the next couple of years. Thanks so much for the idea. pinned:)

    • November 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you Kathleen, I was so relieved that it turned out!

  2. the cape on the corner
    November 7, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    oh MAN i love that! i was trying to get the boyfriend to diy this, but wasn’t too convincing. well done!
    b

  3. November 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    These look really good, more solid and they don’t need to be restretched. The wire ones don’t look sturdy enough for me and with the acreage privacy isn’t a concern, what a great solution.

    • November 7, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you Leanna! I’m really relieved this project turned out!

  4. liz
    November 8, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Wow- this is such an ingenious and seriously creative idea!!! I am in love with this railing and definitely going to convince the hubs that we need to do this on our deck.

    • November 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Hey Liz, I was so relieved when this turned out, it was so simply and inexpensive and now I just love it!

  5. November 8, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Looks amazing, awesome idea!!

  6. November 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I love you solution and how it lets you’re see that lovely view! Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!

  7. November 8, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I love this look for your deck. I think it ties in the view of the silo and the gates. We have been complaining about our view being obstructed by those vertical wood “sticks” on our upper deck so I need to find a similar solution I think. Great idea.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ gwingal

    • November 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you Nikki! I was really relieved that this turned out as well as it did, so far nothing but compliments from friends and family! And it was so easy and inexpensive!

  8. Jann Olson
    November 9, 2017 at 7:18 am

    I really love the look! Thanks for sharing the how to’s with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  9. November 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    This is really neat and it looks great. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  10. November 10, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Yes, those steel wire railings are so expensive, but look amazing. This is definitely a creative option, too! Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    • November 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks for coming by and commenting Leslie!

  11. November 11, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Brilliant idea Tarah and it looks amazing

  12. November 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    This looks really a great project. Great Job ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing with us.

    Have a great day.
    Khadija
    http://creativekhadija.com/

  13. November 14, 2017 at 2:43 am

    So cool!

  14. November 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Your railing turned out great, love the idea of using metal conduit.

    • November 14, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you Christine, have a great week!

  15. Alice
    December 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    This looks absolutely beautiful. Will it rust over time? Do you need any type of protective coating?

    • December 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you Alice! I do expect them to rust over time and I kinda felt that would be ok with my look on the deck anyway. But they could certainly be painted in a rust proof paint like rustoleum!

  16. Sam
    August 26, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Where did you buy the couplings?

    • August 27, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Hi Sam, I bought them in my local fleet store’s electrical conduit area. They were a pain in the butt the find and my local store didn’t have enough so I ended up buying them on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2LuctrA

  17. Jen Pasek
    April 29, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Great idea! I was thinking of using plumbing pipe, but it was too expensive. This is the perfect solution. Great job. We are rehabbing an old farmhouse too in upstate NY.

    • April 30, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Thanks for coming by Jen, I couldn’t believe how inexpensive this was!

  18. Candis
    May 6, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Tarahlynn,

    This is a really good idea! I’m wondering how is the conduit holding up after a couple of years. Is it starting to rust?

    Thanks

    • May 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Candis! So far, and I find this amazing, I don’t have any rust problems at all! Because now its been two winters and a year and a half I definitely would have expected some rust. But its still early this spring and that was one rough winter for us so I will try to update this post if I get rust now.

  19. Lou
    June 19, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    How far apart did you space your posts?

    • June 20, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Hi Lou, my posts are four feet tall with a top rail so I just spaced them evenly in that 48 inches of space, thanks!

  20. August 2, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Hi, awesome site and love many of the ideas that you have! I have been working on our new house for some time now @ http://www.my59ranch.com I have a gallery on the home page hero slider or on one of the posts with snow not sure as I type but there should be some pics of the deck. A friend has the stainless steel railings and as you stated it was costly. I have given your idea some thought as well as using black pvc pipe. What i am curious about is how rusted are the conduits a year and a half later? Are you still happy with them?

    • August 2, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Joe, actually now its nearly a full two years since I installed these and, almost unbelievably, there is still NO RUST at all! I’m real happy with them!

      • August 3, 2019 at 6:34 pm

        Ah… Ok that is good to know… now I just have to figure out would it match our design/style of our house…

  21. September 7, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    I am in the planning stage of converting a traditional wood spindle railing and I also am not liking the pricing of cable. The cable sites claim most building codes will require the rails to keep a 4″ sphere from passing through. I see you have yours spaced greater than 4″. If I try to meet the 4″ code with half inch conduit we will loose the look we are wanting. If I space them further it will not pass code, right? Thanks for the post its got me thinking.

    • Leslie
      September 14, 2019 at 7:28 am

      Yep, most places require only 4″ spaces, so the look will definitely be more busy, plus this will add to the cost. But it’s still a great idea and invites creative solutions for finding other materials.

      • September 17, 2019 at 8:49 am

        Thanks for sharing your insight!

  22. Karen Jackson
    October 20, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Hi Tarahlynn, wondering if there is any rust at 2-years in? Iโ€™m also contemplating this se type of railing but concerned about rust. Thanks!

    • October 21, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Hi Karen, no rust at all actually which really surprised me! I was expecting at least some as here in northern MN we have pretty rough weather but no they look as good as the day I installed them actually!

  23. Leah
    February 21, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Amazing amazing amazing! This is just the solution for a house I’m renovating that turned out to be a total gut job. A deck is a must because there’s a view of a large creek in the back but the budget is super tight because I didn’t expect the house to need so much work. I am definitely using you idea. Thanks for publishing this!

    • February 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      So glad you can use this Leah, three years later and the rails still look great!

  24. Joseph Eason
    May 16, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Looks sharp. I have Suggestion though. Instead of the set screw couplers, maybe spend a few more cents on the compression, or rain tight couplers. They won’t corrode as bad and don’t have the screw head to snag things on.

    • May 18, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Great point, thank you for coming by!

  25. Melissa
    June 6, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Hi! We love this idea and are working on recreating it ! What type of board did you use as your top rail?

    • June 6, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Melissa, all wood was green treated pine on the entire deck, thanks!

  26. Deborah
    June 8, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Aannddd now I know what my stair railing will be in the little house project. THANK YOU!!!

    • June 8, 2020 at 10:50 am

      Very cool, these were so simple and inexpensive Deborah, hope they work great for you!

  27. June 24, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Great idea! I have grandkids and if it can be messed up they can do it. I know they will try this so, I’m wondering if they will bend when a kid tries to climb or stand on one. Thanks!

    • June 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Bobby, as long as you tack these down well and have enough of them (unlike only 3 like I did) you should be grandkids proof.

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