DIY Inexpensive Deck Rails Out of Steel Conduit, Easy to Do!

4 Materials
$110
2 Hours
Easy

A post on how we 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 us, on top of that they do require tightening over time and that
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
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 ours (over 700 square feet!) I also really didn’t want to obstruct the view, I wanted to feel like we were sitting in our yard not blocked off from nature which is why I was so drawn to the wire railings to begin with. But Joe and I are definitely going to have dogs in our life so we still needed to have SOMETHING and, universe knows, our deck has looked pretty unfinished while I’ve been working on this dilemma.
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
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!
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
At first I was going to drill through every single post around the whole deck and thread all of the conduit through them. Well, I don’t know about you, but the idea of drilling three holes through our posts really made me wince at how much I would be hurting their structural integrity. I literally had images of them breaking off in our next serious storm. So, no go on the drilling. I saw these  steel hole straps on Amazon and I knew exactly how we were going to do this.
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
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.
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
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. We cut the pipe when we needed to using an angle grinder with a steel “blade”.
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
At first I didn’t want any “seams” but these little pipe couplings were small enough that they didn’t bother me.
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
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. (We did cut the pipe in one place so every single length of pipe we used hit on at least two hole straps.) When we were 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 deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
All in the deck rails cost only about $110! Pretty amazing for only a couple of hours of work and now our deck finally looks almost finished. Next job is to make the gates! 
diy inexpensive deck rails out of steel conduit easy to do
(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 our house insurance company to make sure that this would work with our plan.)
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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Dianna L. Anderson
    on Nov 18, 2017

    Are the connections with the pipe couplings strong enough to withstand a large dog pushing against them? Looks great!

    • GrandmasHouseDIY
      on Nov 20, 2017

      Hi Dianna! This conduit really surprised me with how strong it is actually. When I first thought of this I thought we could bend it (like you can copper pipe of the same size) and absolutely NOT - not by hand anyway! lol It is a lot stronger then it looks! If you ran the pipe so there was less space between them too they would hold up to a dog pushing on it better. In response to the comment that said this conduit is not meant for outdoor use, actually outdoor use is exactly what this conduit was made for but it will probably rust over time so that's something to keep in mind.

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