Versatile Deck Post Attachment and Post Cap Designs

Choosing unique, creative accents when renovating an existing deck can completely transform the deck’s design. Decorative details like the post caps, anchor brackets, and trim of an outdoor deck establish its design style. New post caps and skirting are a deck upgrade that adds curb appeal and rich architectural detail. Incorporate these decorative elements into your deck design to coordinate with your home’s architectural style.

wood deck with decorative post caps
Image Courtesy of Fortress Railings

Safe And Secure Deck Post Attachment

Older deck construction methods often used notched posts, which overlapped the edge of the deck. This method weakens the post and exposes it to weathering, resulting in potentially dangerous deck railings that can break when people lean against them. Current building codes require stronger posts that can withstand several hundred pounds of outward pressure. Instead of overlapping the edge, the posts are secured to the interior framing and surrounded by extra blocking to prevent tilting. If your deck has notched posts, consider replacing them for improved safety and an updated look.

Decorative Post Anchor Brackets

Post anchor brackets, which use a base plate to secure the post to the deck framing, are a great way to retrofit an existing deck with more secure posts. Available in many styles and finishes, they’ll add a decorative accent to your deck’s design. The metal base plate separates the base of the post from the deck surface, protecting it from water damage.

Ornamental Deck Post Bracket at Home Depot
Ornamental Deck Post Bracket at Home Depot

Deck Post Brackets And Skirts

Not all post brackets are decorative; it’s more common to finish the base of a deck post with skirting. Post skirting protects the post from water intrusion while adding the finished look of architectural molding. Deck post skirting is available in almost every material, from wood to pvc, aluminum, and synthetic wood. There are skirting and trim kits for every deck style. Many manufacturers offer coordinating trim kits that include post caps and skirting. These budget-friendly packages conceal the anchor brackets and coordinate with balusters and post sleeves.

deck post brackets and skirts
Image Courtesy of Titan

Consider using contrasting colors and materials to add interest to your deck’s design. Synthetic wood mixes beautifully with aluminum railings, while post caps and skirting add a matching accent:

synthetic wood mixed with aluminum deck railing
Image courtesy of

Aluminum skirting can be a stylish upgrade to stained wood posts:

aluminum skirting on stained wood post
Image Courtesy of Fortress Railings

A classic wood deck can be finished with wood skirting stained or painted to match the post. Pre-cut molding saves time and offers a high-end carpentry finish:

pre-cut molding for deck post
Image Courtesy of Deckorators

If you’ve chosen a synthetic wood product for your deck construction, manufacturers like Timbertech and Trex have a full line of components. Post skirts are designed to match the synthetic post sleeves, and have the same level of craftsmanship as hand-mitered interior trim.

dark post skirt matching post sleeve from timbertech
Image Courtesy of Timbertech

white post skirt matching post sleeve from timbertech
Image Courtesy of Timbertech

Post Caps And Finials Are Decorative And Functional

Of course, you’ll want to coordinate the trim of your deck posts with stylish post caps. Also called finials, these traditional design elements were originally used to deflect rain and snow from the tops of wood posts, protecting them from rot. They were often wood, but copper, aluminum and wrought iron are also common.

While some modern deck designs eliminate finials, most decks have taller posts at least near entryways or stairs. Traditional deck designs may have taller posts along the entire railing, and put decorative caps on every post. Use post caps or finials to provide a finished look, and extend the life of wood posts.

deck with white post caps
deck with white post caps

Since post caps have been adorning fences and gates for hundreds of years, the selection of cap and finial designs is tremendous.

glossary of different post caps for decks
Image Courtesy of Malvin

Synthetic wood and pvc railing products usually have deck posts made from matching material. However, for deck projects that combine materials (like wood and metal) contrasting post caps really add impact to the design. Copper, bronze and wrought iron finials can accent a stained wood deck beautifully.

Ball Finial by Madison Iron & Wood Victorian Finial by Madison Iron & Wood
Ball Finial by Madison Iron & Wood Victorian Finial by Madison Iron & Wood

Look for unique designs that add personality – this seahorse is a charming touch for a coastal home:

Seahorse Post Cap by Madison Iron & Wood
Seahorse Post Cap by Madison Iron & Wood

Deck Post Caps With Lighting

With innovations in solar and LED lighting, deck post caps are readily available that include energy-efficient lighting. Lit post caps are available in metal, pvc, and synthetic wood. Lantern designs are popular for posts near entry areas or on stairs.

lantern design deck post cap
Image Courtesy of

For ambient lighting, there are both traditional and modern designs that incorporate an LED lighting strip into a trim post cap.

modern design trim post cap
Image Courtesy of Timbertech

A cohesive deck design uses all-matching elements for a uniform look – think of an all-white deck, or a stained deck with metal post caps in a similar tone. To create a deck with visual impact, consider using contrasting materials. Metal post caps and skirting in bronze, copper, or black finishes are an elegant upgrade to an existing wood deck.

With so many options available for creating your dream deck, let our deck specialists and designers help you decide which materials and design options best fit your lifestyle and budget. Call us at 1-877-SEALADECK for a free deck design consultation.


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