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Installing a Trex Cocktail Rail

Installing a Trex Cocktail Rail
By Katie Z.
·
December 29, 2021

If you host a lot of parties at your house or just do a lot of entertaining in general, it's nice to have an outdoor space during those warm summer months. Give guests room to enjoy your outdoor space by giving your deck a classy look with the addition of a Trex cocktail railing. Not only will it add to the deck's appearance, but it will also add functionality to the deck.

Understanding Your Trex Cocktail Rail

A Trex Cocktail Rail (also known as a drink rail) refers to a railing design in which a deck board is placed on the top rail, creating a flat space for guests to put their drinks, or even offering a comfortable place to lean as you're engaged in conversation. Depending on your preference, you can use the same Trex deck boards that are used throughout the rest of your Trex deck, or you can opt for something different to give a complementary contrast. It's important to note that Trex Enhance and Trex Escapes decking cannot be used as the top board for a cocktail rail design.

Installing Your Trex Cocktail Rail

A Trex Cocktail Rail is compatible with all three of Trex's railing lines — Trex Select Railing, Trex Transcend Railing, and Trex Signature Railing. We'll explain how to install a drink rail with each type of Trex railing below. Don't worry, it's easier than you think!

Trex Select

Important: Only use 4x4 pressure-treated posts (3.5" nominal square) and 4x4 Trex post sleeves (optional). Trex post mounts or joist mount posts cannot be used with Select cocktail railing.

Once your posts are installed and you've added the post sleeves and post skirts, you've cut the posts to the desired height, you've cut the railings appropriately, and you've attached the foot blocks to the bottom rails, you're ready to move on to the cocktail rail part of the installation.

  1. Cut deck boards to the appropriate length of railing span, remembering to include extra space on each side of the deck board to allow for attachment to the post. Deck boards must cover half of the pressure-treated post to allow this to be fastened later.
  2. Place inverted deck board (top side of deck board face down) on a clean, flat surface.
  3. Place inverted Select top rail (orient properly so baluster holes are shown top side up) on the deck board, centered in both directions to allow final attachment to post.
  4. Secure deck board to Select top rail with 3/4" screws provided approximately every 16" on center. Screws are to be installed inside of the baluster holes into the deck board. DO NOT overtighten.

After you've completed these steps, you're all set to attach the brackets to the rails, assemble the railing sections, install the railing sections to the posts, and attach the deck board to the posts. Make sure to use the Trex recommended composite screws to attach the boards to the posts (you will need two screws per board end). 

For more detailed information as well as visuals on this installation process, refer to the Trex Select Installation Instructions for Level and Stair applications. 

Trex Transcend

Important: Only use 4x4 pressure-treated posts (3.5" nominal square) and 4x4 Trex post sleeves (optional). Trex post mounts or joist mount posts cannot be used with Transcend cocktail railing.

Once your posts are installed and you've added the post sleeves and post skirts, you've cut the posts to the desired height, you've installed the railing support brackets, you've cut the railings and baluster spacers appropriately, you've attached the foot blocks to the bottom rails, and you've attached the universal bottom rail, you're ready to move on to the cocktail rail part of the installation. 

  1. Place the inverted universal rail onto the railing support brackets. Attach the universal rail to the railing support brackets with three self-drilling screws provided (use three outer holes, do not use the hole in the railing support bracket that is closest to the post).
  2. Place deck boards over the universal rails. Attach boards on each post with Trex recommended composite screws (two screws per post as well as each board end).
  3. Secure boards to universal rails from the underside of the railing into the bottom of the deck board with 1-5/8" pan-head screws (not provided) approximately every 16" on center.

After you've completed these steps, you're all set to place the baluster spacers and then attach the balusters and spacers. 

For more detailed information as well as visuals on this installation process, refer to the Trex Transcend Installation Instructions for Level and Stair applications.

Trex Signature

Important: Only use 4x4 pressure-treated posts (3.5" nominal square) and 4x4 Trex post sleeves (optional). Trex Signature posts, Trex post mounts, or joist mount posts cannot be used with a cocktail rail configuration.

Once your posts are installed and you've added the post sleeves and post skirts, cut the posts to the desired height, installed the horizontal fixed and swivel brackets, cut the railings appropriately, attached the balusters and foot blocks, and attached the top rail and top rail cover, you're ready to attach the deck board to the top rail.

  1. Place deck boards over the top rails. Attach boards on each post with Trex recommended composite screws (two screws per board end).
  2. Secure boards to the top rail using Trex Signature Cocktail Brackets (sold separately). Ensure that there is a bracket at each end of the railing section, then space the brackets approximately every 24" and attach with four screws (provided). 

After those steps are finished, attach the bottom bracket covers and you're done!

For more detailed information as well as visuals on this installation process, refer to the Trex Signature Installation Instructions for Level and Stair applications.

 

 

Add sophistication and functionality to your deck by installing a Trex Cocktail Rail. It offers the perfect finishing touch and will be appreciated by everyone. If you're having trouble with the installation process, DIY Home Center is happy to help. Contact us today for instructions, quotes, and do-it-yourself tips.

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