It's too late to turn back now. We have bought the materials for the new railing (and OMG it was not easy to find clear cedar 2x6s). This time we're going to paint it before it's installed. The newells seem to be in good shape so I think we'll leave them alone; we need to fill some nail holes and repaint them before we install the new rails.
The rails came out really easy because they were so rotted on the bottom. Demo only took about an hour.
I am also planning to clean and refinish the decking while we have the rails out. I'll need to wait for several days of good weather before I can get started so it will probably be a couple weeks. We're expecting rain for the rest of the week so I'll focus my efforts on painting the new lumber.
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