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How do you attach this railing Pt. 3 - exploring prefabrication and on-sight welding

How Do You Attach this Railing? Pt. 3

  •   Posted on April 29, 2021

When installing railing, there are two main ways to arrive at a fully installed railing. What are they and how do they differ?

In Part 1 of How do you Attach this Railing? we discussed mounting options and in Part 2 we talked about the surfaces railing is being attached to. In our final installment, we will discuss two different ways to arrive at a fully installed railing: On-site welding or installation of prefabricated railing.

On-Site Welding

One way to finish installation of a mounted railing system is on-site welding. Typically, railing sections (that likely have been welded together before getting to the field) are welded between the railing’s post and the mount it is being attached to. By utilizing on-site welding, there is some flexibility in terms of installation, as adjustments can be made in the field such as trimming to properly size the railing system or customizing the railing layout. However, on-site welding generally means additional work, time, and permits on top of time allocated for mounting and other installation practices.

The first of these additional requirements is a hotspot permit, due to the high temperature that is needed for welding. Hotspot permits vary in cost from state to state, but along with the labor required to weld should be considered in the overall cost of the railing system. The need to paint after welding is completed needs to be considered as well. This too should be factored into the final cost of the total railing system. It is also important to note that on site welding is typically most applicable in iron or steel applications.


Worker welding together an unassembled railing section.   Worker painting a recently welded railing section

On-site welding requires additional work such as welding and painting. 

Prefabricated Railing

Another option for a complete railing install is to use a prefabricated railing system. There are two main types of prefabricated railing systems. The first consists of generally sized panels that will need to be trimmed in the field before being inserted into posts or bracketed to walls. Typically, these types of prefabricated systems do not save much time but labor is significantly lessened from a welded system.

The second type of prefabricated railing systems would be a fully customized system. In these instances, the manufacturer uses building plans or a drawing to create an in-house drawing in order to build the railing to the exact size needs of a jobsite. Manufacturers will send out railing sections in the longest lengths that shipping allows, meaning all that needs done on a jobsite is simply anchoring the railing in place before stepping back and admiring your work. Critically, this type of prefabricated railing system will probably show more upfront/material cost than the previous option or a welded railing, but once labor is factored in this often becomes the most cost-effective solution. Prefabricated railing is a common aluminum railing solution.

Series 9 Aluminum Railing comes prefabricated for quick and easy installations.Prefabricated Railings allow for quick and easy installation.

Why Does it Matter?

Different projects have different budgets and different needs, which means that having options is ideal. Numerous factors need to be considered when determining what type of installation methodology, you plan to use. In general, most applications will ultimately be easiest to adhere to the needs of a project in a timely and cost-effective manner by utilizing a fully prefabricated solution. Superior Aluminum Products has over 60 years of experience providing fully prefabricated railing solutions, working hard to ensure each project installs simply and cleanly. If a prefabricated railing solution interests you, get a railing quote now!


Further Readings

How Do You Attach This Railing Pt. 1

How Do You Attach This Railing Pt. 2

Assembled or Unassembled