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

4 Materials
2 Hours

A post on how I 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 me, on top of that they do require tightening over time and that kinda bugged me too. I was leaning toward just wire fencing (yes like hog panels) but that felt too rough.

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 mine (over 700 square feet!) I also really didn’t want to obstruct the view.

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!

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 my posts really made me wince at how much I would be hurting their structural integrity. I saw these  steel hole straps on Amazon and I had my solution

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.

At first I didn’t want any “seams” but these little pipe couplings were small enough that they didn’t bother me.

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.

All in the deck rails cost only about $110! Pretty amazing for only a couple of hours of work and now my deck finally looks almost finished. Next job is to make the gates! 

(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 my house insurance company to make sure that this would work with my plan.)

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  • Dianna L. Anderson 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!

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  • Jju22142473 Jju22142473 on Jan 10, 2019

    I have a deck and I used 1"rope for rails it looks great my wife loves it. It doesn't block are view of the woods

  • Joe Webb Joe Webb on May 04, 2019

    Nice new ideas sometimes sometimes sound better than they work out to be. Our building dept will accept nothing with more than a 6" gap, so you would have to put these closer together than shown, and I might suggest running them vertically so the kids/grandkids do not use the railing like a ladder and climb right up! Just a wrinkle or two for an otherwise great idea.