homemade porch railings
Our homemade porch railings from rebar. The back porch is complete!

Who knew creating homemade porch railings could be so easy? I guess we’ve never been ones to stay traditional. So when it came time to put deck railings on the back porch of the Simple House, we certainly didn’t want to install ordinary wooden balusters.

We have never been big fans of traditional wood spindle porch and deck railings. Not only do they seem to block much of the view, they can be ridiculously expensive, and a long-term maintenance nightmare.

Anyone who has ever had to paint or repaint them knows exactly what I am talking about! As for cost, at anywhere from $2 to $4 and up per spindle, they can get pricey quick. As for the completed rails, the cost can be even more scary.

homemade porch railings
The original inspiration – the railings in Weaver Barns Urban Farmhouse model

Faced with a 44′ long x 8′ wide porch, we wanted to come up with a cost-effective solution that fit the look of the house. It also had to be easy to maintain, and keep as much of the view of the farm below as possible. 

We briefly considered wire cable railings, but decided the look might be too modern for a farmhouse porch. We just didn’t think the wire would be”beefy” enough to go with the 8 x 8 posts.

And then we began to think about creating our own porch railings using rebar. We first noticed them on the Weaver Barns Urban Farmhouse model they created for a Home and Garden Show last year.

They had built one for the interior staircase of the home. We loved it – and decided to carry the concept outside for our porch.

Creating Homemade Porch Railings

homemade porch railings
Drilling out the 1″ deep rebar holes.

The railings are actually simple to create. We used 2 x 6 pine boards for the upper and lower rails, and drilled holes for the rebar to fit in-between. Not only is the look and feel more open than traditional wooden balusters, it’s way less expensive!  Here’s how we built them.

Tools Used:  11/16″ wood spade drill bit,  Drill / Driver Screw Gun,  Impact Screw Driver

Materials Used :  5/8″ rebar cut to 28″ pieces, 3″ star-bit wood screws, 2 x 6 pine boards

Code in our area requires that railing must be at least 36″ tall. In addition, a 4″ sphere cannot fit between the rails. So we created our rails accordingly.

We started by cutting the 2 x 6 boards to length to fit between the posts. We then made pencil markings at 4″ intervals on the top and bottom rails for the rebar railings. By spacing at 4″ on center, the circumference of the rebar kept the distance between rails at under 4″ to comply with the code.

diy porch and deck railings
Assembling the deck railings

Next, we drilled holes at each marking 1″ in depth. We used a drill press to make it easier, but it could easily be accomplished with a drill and a piece of tape to make sure the depths are the same. We used a thicker 5/8′ rebar for a beefier look, so we used an 11/16″ hole that the rebar fit snugly down into. 

The 28″ rebar fit into the 1″ deep holes drilled into the top and bottom 2 x 6″ rails. The total height once assembled was 36″. We mounted 1.5″ inches off the ground for a total height of 37″.

We found a local supplier who cut our rebar into 28″ lengths at no additional charge. If you are cutting your own, a jig saw with a metal blade will work, but it can be a bit time consuming. 

Installation

Installation was actually a breeze. We pre-stained the wood pieces, and spray-painted the rebar with black enamel before assembly to speed the process.

homemade porch railings
The completed porch

We started by attaching the bottom railing with screws to each 8 x 8″ post. Once the bottom was secured, we inserted a piece of rebar into each of the 11/16 holes along the board. We also screwed in two wood spacer boards at mid points of the rail to soften the metal look. Next, we fit the top railing with the holes facing down on top of the rebar and two wood spacer boards. To complete, we secured the top railing with two more screws toe-nailed into each main post. 

All in all, it only took us about 15 minutes to install each section. And we absolutely love the look. To complete the porch, we trimmed out the metal ceiling with 3/4″ stranded rope. The back porch is complete and ready to enjoy – now we just need some warmer weather!

Happy Building! – Jim & Mary. If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, you can sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.  This article may contain affiliate links.



8 thoughts on “The Farmhouse Porch Is Complete! Creating Homemade Porch Railings From Rebar

  • March 13, 2017 at 11:04 am
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    I used rebar for a garden fence with PT Redwood and it was awesome. The problem we had was the rebar rusted, which we loved the look of outside. I spray painted them before I installed them, with a rust preventer, but it was a waste of money in the end. The paint wouldn’t last longer than a month before needing to be repainted.

    As for cutting, you can use a grinder with a thin cutting wheel and it works great for the 1/2 rebar or smaller. This looks great on your patio!

  • March 13, 2017 at 8:44 am
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    That is a very nice look indeed. The only reservation I have would be that, over time, water will sit in the bottom bar-holes and rot it out so I would be inclined to use a clear silicone sealant in the holes when you fit the bars to prevent water ingress. Just tool off any excess with your finger dipped in soapy water. Simple.

  • March 12, 2017 at 11:59 am
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    Did the same thing ,but used electrical conduit. Smooth and easy to cut yourself using a pipe cutter. Painted black it looks great.

  • March 12, 2017 at 9:30 am
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    Love the rebar idea, but it’s too late for us. Our house is a lot like yours except our porch is almost all around the house, and we went the route of the wood spindles. I have begged my husband to take the spindles out and just leave the rails, but nothing happening so far. Sometimes, when it’s time for cleaning, I would love to have just the front and the back. I would love to know what color your porch stain is. Thank you for sharing your journey; I love reading everything about it and getting great ideas.

  • March 12, 2017 at 9:18 am
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    I would leave the rebar black for better visibility through them. Just like charcoal screening.

  • March 12, 2017 at 8:51 am
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    It’s really looking nice! I have enjoyed watching all of this unfold!

  • March 12, 2017 at 8:44 am
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    Thank you. I have been trying to cone up with a cost effective, attractive alternative for the last five years this is going to work perfectly

  • March 12, 2017 at 8:31 am
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    What a neat idea. The over all look fits well with your home. Will you paint the rebar or leave it like it is?…..

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