I first met my friend Ethan in college French class when I was in my third year and he was in his first. I graduated the next year, but we stayed in touch as he went on to study for his master’s. Since I was the only one he knew who had experience in construction, I was the one he contacted to help him fix up his deck when he bought his first house.
I was happy to help, but when we started discussing ideas it was obvious that he didn’t have even a basic knowledge of construction. Fortunately, decks are rough carpentry and something that even a brand new DIYer can pick up easily with some guidance. Guidance, in this case, was me marking a measuring tape with two different colors of Sharpie and yelling “red,” or “black,” at him when asked questions about length and spacing. Railings are a little more difficult than decks, though. The spacing is more complicated, and a bent or broken baluster isn’t as easily replaced as a bent nail. It got me thinking about what’s the easiest deck railing to install for someone who hasn’t worked much with their hands before.