The third, and final, set of handrails for this renovation are going in. They are cedar, coated in a weatherproof sealant that is applied in three coats. Each piece has been individually sealed, before being installed. The tops of the posts are sealed with marine epoxy and and then caulked to keep water from getting in to rot the endgrain. The bolt holes, where the posts are attached to the concrete step-down walls, are also coated with marine epoxy. You can’t see it in these photos, but under the top handrail pieces there are two fine curve lines. These serve as driplines, so that water flowing off the top of the handrail cannot seep back under the handrail and rot the top of the post.
This technique of building handrails is the genius of our awesome contractor, Wallace Smith of Jatoba Contracting. He has spent a great deal of time and thought to design outdoor wood structures (decks, stairs, and railings) that can survive the monsoons and damp of Vancouver. The result is a structure of great strength, presence, and integrity.
There really is nothing else in Vancouver like Wallace’ designs. What I love about them is they speak to our homes, and our housing structures, as a legacy. They also speak to a loving reverence for the trees whose lives were given in the service of our shelter. These trees have not died in vain.