Home>Know-How Centre>Outdoors>Setting and Cutting Posts

Projects

Setting and Cutting Posts

Project Overview

Setting and Cutting Posts

Posts must be plumb for your deck to be stable and so other framing members can be accurately aligned. Setting posts is ideally a two-person job. There's a lot of precise work required her, and additional hands and eyes will help immensely. The easiest method for cutting posts to length is to do so after installing them in post anchors.

4 Steps

  1. Check the Post Ends
  2. Brace the Post
  3. Mark the Post Height
  4. Saw the Post
Check the Post Ends
Check the Post Ends

Step 1

Check the Post Ends

Check the ends of each post with a layout square. If neither end is square, mark and square one end and use that end in the post base. You're going to cut the other end of the proper height later, so it doesn't matter if it's not square. The post should be as straight as possible and longer than needed so you can trim it to length after attaching it to the footing. Set the square end of the post in the post base and drive one nail halfway into the center hole of one of the post-base flanges. This will keep the post in the base and allow enough movement so you can plumb it. Drive the nail only halfway so you can reposition it if necessary.

Brace the Post
Brace the Post

Step 2

Brace the Post

Stake 1x4 braces to the ground and tack them to the post with partially driven screws. Strap a post level on the post at a place where you can see the vials in the level while you plumb the post and fasten the braces securely. Install, brace, and plumb the remaining posts in the same way. Restring the layout lines to make sure the faces of the posts all lie in the same plane. Then drive a nail into each hole in the post-base flanges.

Mark the Post Height
Mark the Post Height

Step 3

Mark the Post Height

Mark the posts for the cut line either level with the bottom of the ledger or below this level by the depth of the joists and beam, depending on your construction method. Measure down from this mark the width of the beam if the joists will be supported by the beam. Using a layout square, extend the cut line around the post. Make the mark with a carpenter's pencil-dark enough so you can see it when the saw kicks up the sawdust.

Saw the Post

Step 4

Saw the Post

Holding a reciprocating saw securely, position the show against one corner (angle the saw against the corner) with the blade lined up with, but not touching, the cut line. Start the saw and tilt the blade into one cut line, keeping it level throughout the cut.

Write a Review
QUICK RATE:

You have rated

 out of 5 stars.

Do you want to submit this quick rating?

Yes No

Thank you!
Your quick rate has been submitted.

Please note it may take up to 8 hours for your quick rating to appear.

Sorry we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try and resubmit your Quick Rating.

Thank you, you have already quick rated this product.  out of 5

Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

Materials

Related Resources

Calculators and Tools

Projects

Buying Guides