Front porch railing—some homeowners love it, some hate it, and some absolutely need it. This railing can either make your front porch feel cozy or claustrophobic. Whether or not you need it is up to you and your style.
Effective front yard landscaping should visually and functionally guide guests to your home’s front door. In this Backyard Life video, landscape designer and Done-In-A-Weekend Projects host Doug Scott is here with several front-yard landscaping ideas that will help give your home the grand entrance it deserves.
What Are The Front Porch Railing Parts?
A front porch railing has four basic components: post, top rail, bottom (base) rail, and balusters.
The posts are the thickest vertical planks of wood that hold your horizontal top and bottom rails.
The balusters are the vertical slats of wood between the top and bottom rails.
If your front porch railing seems more like confinement than a retreat, you can remove it to have a clear and open view of your yard.
If your railing is rotting, that’s even more reason to get rid of it. The most common cause for a rail to rot is the bottom of the railing not being painted while it’s being built. Even though the bottoms of the balusters aren’t visible, it’s still vital to paint them. The unpainted wood will soak up water like a paper towel and accelerate rot. Also, if the railing is made with untreated wood, this could further accelerate rotting.
First, you’ll need a mallet or hammer. Knock the balusters out one by one, and then remove the top and bottom railings.
After removing the front porch railing, apply putty and sand the columns so it’s like they were never there to begin with.
This railing was easier to remove because the base railing was a few inches off of the ground. If you don’t have a base railing and your balusters are embedded in the concrete, you’ll need to get a utility knife to dig out the wood railing within the concrete, then patch the hole with a concrete patcher.
Repair Front Porch Railing
One thing to consider if you are thinking about removing front porch railing: would I need this in the future? Now more than ever, people are desiring to age in place—so will this railing be useful later on? Or, do you have an aging relative who could be living with you sometime in the future? If the answer is yes, you might want to consider repairing the railing instead of removing it, only to replace it again.
If this is your concern, you need to make sure your rails are functional. The purpose of front porch railing is to be held onto, so it should be able to hold your weight. Also, is the railing the right height? To be compliant with the American Disabilities Act, the front porch railing must be 34 to 38 in. high. If it doesn’t serve that purpose, you should remove it.
If you’re keeping front porch railing for safety reasons or aging in place, you can repair it. Watch this video to learn how to repair it.
Or, if you don’t want to remove it but it’s in bad condition, here’s how to fix it:
Create two plywood forms and clamp them on the top and bottom of the rail. Then, use a plastic putty knife and apply auto body filler to the front of the rail. Once the filler dries, paint the railing. Watch a video on how to do this here.
Other Ways to Add Front Porch Curb Appeal
Whether you decide to ditch the railing or keep it for safety reasons, there are more ways to add some curb appeal to your front porch.
Change up the color scheme. A new paint color can elevate your home’s exterior. Paint shutters and the front door for a punch of fresh color.
If the concrete porch floor is looking a little dull, add some character with a paint stencil. Here’s how to do it.
Finally, replace overgrown shrubs with lower plants spread out in a larger bed to cover a wider area.