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Clear space between a handrail and a wall or other surface shall be a minimum of 1-1/2 inches. Taking away the safety aspect and just focusing on aesthetics, a railing can make your deck look much more expensive without adding a large sum to the grand total. With that said, if you choose to build a deck, even if it is only 24 inches off the ground, that is still high enough that even an adult could injure themselves. Decks & Docks Lumber Company supplies the marine construction industry across Florida and the southeast U.S. An area of one-square-foot must be able to resist a force of 125 lbs. Stronger, Smarter Deck Stairs — Stairs attached to a raised deck involve a unique set of challenges and face a different kind of abuse than any interior staircase. REMEMBER THESE THINGS. Some homeowners and builders expect stainless steel to be expensive, but it’s surprising how affordable it can be. Some people confuse the two. Commercial deck guardrails, such as those found at restaurants, bars, and at multifamily homes such as apartments or condos, are required to be 42 inches high, minimum. Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features. When you take your kids and pets into account, the risk is even higher. Decks Project Guide. There are deck railings that exist just to be decorative but which don’t serve a functional purpose. Plus, composite railing is long-lasting. It may seem like a short distance, but any fall can lead to broken bones or other injuries. In other words, a deck less than one metre (1m) above ground is not required to have a handrail, though depending on the height it … Editorial Adviser Mike Guertin replies: Since your stairs will have only three risers, you don’t need to install a handrail. You may not need a handrail to comply with code, but you may have to install a guardrail. Call our friendly staff with any questions at 866-528-9663 and check out our gallery for inspiration. The standard handrail height depends on the elevation and the area of your home. Ultimately, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations instead of cutting corners. The existing deck railings codes and requirements are specifically designed to ensure everyone’s safety. This includes stairs, measured from the top tread. You would not need guardrails along the deck or the stairway, as in the sketch below. Hundreds of articles and videos by top deck-building pros on how to design and build a beautiful, sturdy, and safe deck. Minimum 36 ”at all points above the permitted handrail height. Suppose you had a deck that was 29 in. You would not have to install infill between the posts or the top of the rail and the treads since a guardrail isn’t required. Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap, Reasons People Decide Not to Install a Railing, Taking away the safety aspect and just focusing on aesthetics, a railing can make your deck look much more expensive without adding a large sum to the grand total. In Queensland, we have strict requirements when it comes to balustrades. is great for those looking for a chic railing for their deck, as well as a railing that will not hinder any views. The code requires that curb ramps have either handrails, guardrails or sloped sides, with a maximum angle of 1 to 12- … Deck Railing will enhance the look and secure your outdoor deck, patio, or porch. When building an outdoor deck, whether or not you'll need to include handrails will depend on the height of your construction. This is a minimum required height for residential structure—higher guards are acceptable. Get complete site access to expert advice, how-to videos, Code Check, and more, plus the print magazine. If the elevation of your deck is more than 30 inches, you definitely need a handrail. OSHA 1910.29(b) contains system requirements that employers must follow to ensure guardrail systems will protect workers from falling to lower levels: 1910.29(b)(1) The top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, are 42 inches (107 cm), plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm), above the walking working surface. As previously mentioned, safety is the biggest concern when it comes to deciding whether or not to install a railing. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why it is in one’s best interest to install a railing and the decking codes to follow. is the closest one can get to the look of real wood without the hassle of having to paint and stain and worry about splinters. There’s also the aesthetic factor of not having a railing. Let’s say you have a deck that’s below 30 inches and there are no guardrail requirements by the IRC (International Residential Code). Vinyl’s durability makes it a cost-effective solution in the long run. Check out the large variety of railings available at Decks & Docks and add that finishing touch to your deck today. If your deck is below 30 inches, a railing is not required. U.S. building code requires support posts for the rail structure to be no further apart than 6 feet on a deck with 4×4’ deck … If your deck is somewhat low to the ground, you may have chosen not to install a railing. There will be two 11-in.-wide treads and three 7-1/2-in. available at Decks & Docks and add that finishing touch to your deck today. or more above grade. When you take your kids and pets into account, the risk is even higher. Handrails provided along walking surfaces complying with 403, required at ramps complying with 405, and required at stairs complying with 504 shall comply with 505. : This measures the strength of spindles, balusters, or any other load-bearing element between posts. [38] Uniform Building Code Stair Specifications: UBC 1003.3.3.6 1997 or later specify handrail requirements, railing heights, rail widths, baluster spacing, stairway types, and guardrail specifications. … These railings arrive pre-assembled so you can enjoy them as soon as possible. Stair handrailing or handrails - specifications & codes & Defects 3 Handrailing safety factor groups: location, graspability, strength Definitions clarify the differences among handrail, stair rail & guardrails When are handrailings required at steps & stairs & other locations? Given that a deck railing’s purpose is to prevent people from falling off of it, it’s critical to have proper deck railing post spacing to ensure your deck is safe. Intermediate stair railings shall be spaced approximately equal within the entire width of the stairway. Handrails are required on … The top rail of your deck must be able to withstand at least 125 lbs of force (applied vertically or horizontally). Advisory 505.1 General. Whenever the distance from grade to the walking surface above is greater than 30 in. Railings is a Post Install Kit for 36 in. It’s easier than you might think. A deck must be able to resist lateral and uplift loads that can act on the deck as a result of wind or seismic activity. Here are a few tricks for making the job go smoothly. The sweep space between the deck surface and the bottom rail must be less than 4". to 38 in. Decks & Docks is here for all of your decking and railing related needs. OSHA Railing requirements for Standard Railing (noted as “Guard” in building codes) : 42 inch minimum height Required if 48 inches or greater drop from walking surface — top rail, intermediate rail and posts Intermediate rail at “about halfway up” Uniform Load Test: The top rail of your deck must be able to withstand at least 125 lbs of force (applied vertically or horizontally). (a) Stairways shall have handrails or stair railings on each side, and every stairway required to be more than 88 inches in width shall be provided with not less than one intermediate stair railing for each 88 inches of required width. STAIRS. Because of the drop in the grade to the right side of the stairs, a guardrail needs to be installed (and the deck surface also needs a guardrail on that side). © 2020 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Finally, when a handrail is needed it is installed at a plumb height of 34 in. In group R-3 occupancies, a continuous run of treads or flight of stairs with … Deck railings for homes and buildings must meet the International Residential Code and International Building Code tests. On the right side, however, is a retaining wall, and the grade drops more than 30 in. Guardrail refers to the structural railing element that sits atop a railing system. According to decks.com, a site maintained by Trex, your deck will be required to pass these tests during an inspection. And, finally, deck rails should be safe for children by having proper infill spacing. Building Strong Deck Stairs — Mike Guertin shares several fool-proof methods for supporting and connecting stringers and guardrails when building an outdoor staircase. It's Safer and "Looks Better" too! The top edge of the handrail must be placed between 34” and 38” above the nosing of the stair treads. When a handicap ramp has a rise greater than six inches or a horizontal projection greater than 72 inches, the ramp must have handrails on both sides. Post Install Kit for 36 in. For some, the look of uninterrupted deck space is what they want. For decks more than one metre above the ground, openings in balustrades, including decorative balustrades, cannot be greater than 125 millimetres. A guardrail is the structural rail, posts, and infill (often balusters) that prevent falling off the side of a deck or stairway. At least one handrail required if stairs are less than 43” wide At least two handrails required is stairs are 43” or wider No handrail required for deck stairs with 3 risers or less If more than 3 risers, only one handrail is required subject to the width requirements above) Many years ago the handrail height was lower and many people don’t realize it has increased. Sign up for eletters today and get the latest how-to from Fine Homebuilding, plus special offers. The height of handrails must be installed 34 inches - 38 inches from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread. Chapter 11 of the 2010 Oregon Structural Specialty Code addresses accessibility issues, including the use of handrails. below the top stair tread. Sturdy deck railings are an important safety feature for raised decks and are required by code for any deck 30 in. Building codes define the minimum height and strength of the railing system, as well as the size of gaps in the railing – they must be … Install railings on any deck that is 30 inches or more from the surrounding surface and on at least one side of a stairway leading to the deck. : The deck’s top rail must hold a point load of 200 lbs applied at three points: the mid-span, adjacent to a post, and on top of a post. Check out the large variety of. Unfortunately, this choice isn’t always wise due to safety concerns, as well as code violations. to 38 in. From Fine Homebuilding #257, p. 86, January 6, 2016 More on stairs for decks: Rather than being ever-vigilant when the kids are horsing around on the deck, deck railing helps give you peace of mind so you can relax and enjoy the view. off the plane of the stair tread nosings. Start your subscription today and save up to 52%. Whether you're a homeowner, contractor, marina, or golf course, you can trust that we have the most knowledge, the best products, and the highest level of service in the southeast. The final authority on where and when handrails are required on steps, stairs, landings, balconies, and decks, rests with your local building code official. Handrails must be at least 2” from any structure, which means that if you attach a handrail for your deck stairs to your house, then there must be at least 2” of clearance. risers. Handrails are installed on stairs to assist in ascending and descending by providing something to grasp for balance. It comes in many colors to match a new or already existing deck. But because there will be four risers at 7-1/4 in. Many years ago the handrail height was lower and many people don’t realize it has increased. Handrail & guardrail are commonly confused as being the same component of a railing system. Deck, patios and walkways that have a single change in elevation where the landing depth on each side of the change of elevation is greater than what is required for a landing do not require handrails. In addition, some people feel railings are difficult to install because their decks are an unusual shape. Handrails are required … Keep in mind, if you do this as a contractor and someone hurts themselves due to faulty railing installation, they will be favored by a judge if they decide to sue. Furthermore, deck stairs require a … For decks more than 6’ above grade, deck railings must be at least 42” high. Decks & Docks is here for all of your decking and railing related needs. As previously mentioned, if you install a railing and someone gets hurt because it’s faulty, a lawsuit will most likely not go in your favor. How many steps, what total rise height requires a handrail? If your deck is below 30 inches, a railing is not required. The series of tests are performed by expert deck inspectors or accredited professional inspection services provider. Infill Load Test: This measures the strength of spindles, balusters, or any other load-bearing element between posts. Plus, stainless steel is made to withstand the test of time, making it a more durable and cost-effective choice in the long run. Deck stairs must be safe and handrails graspable. We have had customers who have been compelled by their homeowners insurance to install guardrails on decks as low as one riser. With a variety of textures and colors available, you can find an option that truly exemplifies the style of your home. A guardrail is typically required for stairs with 4-or-more risers, or for a deck or balcony with 30 inches above grade. Building a deck is not an inexpensive decision, so when someone is tasked with the decision to spend extra money on something they “don’t need,” like a deck railing, the choice seems obvious: save money. One dictionary definition of ‘to fall’ is ‘to d… Exterior stair railing code maintains that if your deck's stairs have fewer than two risers, a rail is not mandatory. A handrail is simply the rail you grab onto so that you can steady yourself when climbing or descending stairs. Concentrated Load Test: The deck’s top rail must hold a point load of 200 lbs applied at three points: the mid-span, adjacent to a post, and on top of a post. horizontally, you need to install a guardrail. off grade. Low maintenance with no sanding, scraping or painting required. This includes the space between the platform and the top rail. All you’d need is a post at the bottom, a post at the top and a graspable handrail between them. However, as a general rule, the building code requirement for stair railings typically requires hand railings on … There are five types of railings—vinyl, cable, stainless, composite, and metal—and they each have their own benefits and style. The drawing here shows a set of stairs with only three risers, so a handrail is not required. I’m building stairs on a new deck and want to clarify if the building code requires a handrail. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) advises that a handrail is required where there is the possibility of falling over one metre or more from a floor or building. is designed for those who like versatility and durability. Handrail ends must be returned and terminated at rail posts. Whether you want a modern, industrial, or traditional railing to enhance the look of your deck, Decks & Docks has something for you (plus everything you need to install it). Let’s take a slightly different situation. Deck Railing Height & Spacing Requirements For single-family homes : The IRC requires guardrails to be at least 36" in height measured from the deck surface to … The number of risers is generally one more than the number of stair treads. There are some great, easy-to-install railing kits available for decks with unorthodox shapes. An area of one-square-foot must be able to resist a force of 125 lbs. Where a deck or balcony is one metre or higher above the ground, balustrades need to be at least one metre high. We are the experts in the niche of marine construction. Light weight design makes installation fast and easy. Graspable secondary handrails are required by more and more building codes / deck codes in areas across the country. each to get from grade to the top of the deck, a handrail will have to be installed as shown in the sketch above. Mr. Guertin’s answer is absolutely correct but it’s important to note that building code is not the only force at play with regard to deck railing. That said, it’s important to count the number of risers accurately. Call our friendly staff with any questions at, How to Install Deck Railing Posts that Meet Code Requirements. Deck guardrails (guards) should rise to at least 36 inches above the residential deck level. Railings can serve to protect children, pets, and even adults. From Fine Homebuilding #257, p. 86, January 6, 2016. Handrails are required on ramp runs with a rise greater than 6 inches (150 … Specific guidelines for ADA-compliant ramps include: The ramp must have handrails on both sides of all ramp segments. Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the Deck Stair Handrails. If you're building a deck, dock or seawall anywhere near water, come talk to us. You could take the chance and go against the recommendations by the individual railing manufacturers. They’re versatile and can be used on decks, docks, and even interior spaces for a clean, utilitarian look. With that said, if you choose to build a deck, even if it is only 24 inches off the ground, that is still high enough that even an adult could injure themselves. Some people equate the number of treads with the number of risers and omit the last riser from the top tread to the deck surface; it is indeed a riser and must be counted. Handrails are required for stairs and must meet standards as specified by R311.5.6.3 in the IRC code. off the plane of the stair tread nosings. If a deck or patio is 1.5 metres above a flat lawn, then the height someone could fall is obviously 1.5 metres. How to Install Deck-Stair Treads — This Mastered in a Minute video goes over the basics of deck-stair construction, including lumber options, spacing and overhang distances. Building Code Handrail Requirements. Curved Deck Stairs — The trick to building a set of curved stairs is using a temporary form and laminated plywood stringers. These aren’t the best idea because they aren’t truly functional. It also provides a more traditional look for someone who’s going for classic deck design. I’ve read that the 2015 IRC requires a handrail on at least one side of stairs with four or more risers, so am I right in thinking that I can build with no handrail? Building codes require any flight of stairs with four or more rises to be built with a handrail on at least one side. For a single-family living in a detached home, the handrail height in Ontario is 36 inches. A ‘fall’ need not be vertical, though. gives any deck a super sleek look. Maybe I'm "Old Fashioned," but I think Anything MORE than One Step Should have a Handrail. within 36 in. Railings is a structural steel post that can be mounted on wood or concrete, in lieu of using a pressure treated post. Finally, when a handrail is needed it is installed at a plumb height of 34 in. However, handrails are not required on curb ramps. Vinyl doesn’t show scratches like wood and doesn’t need to be painted like traditional wood decks. Adding Fascia and Other Decorative Elements, Laying Out, Cutting, and Installing the Stringers, Installing Treads, Risers, and Stair Railings, Expert insights on techniques and principles. Shop the best selection of deck railing kits, ADA grippable handrails, connectors, and pick up great deck railing ideas from top brands like Azek, Trex, Timbertech, Fortress, Westbury, and Deckorators. is a great choice for those looking for a low maintenance railing. Grab and Go 6-ft x 2.75-in x 36-in White Composite Deck Deck Rail Kit with Balusters (24-Piece and Assembly Required) Clause F4 (Safety from Falling), in F4.3.1, states: Where people could fall one metre or more from an opening in the external envelope or floor of a building, or from a sudden change of level within or associated with a building, a barrier shall be provided. It’s ideal for someone looking for a traditional look with less maintenance. Guardrails vs. Handrails: Where Do You Need Them? This shouldn’t be a concern, though. A deck must have a guardrail when the difference in distance between the deck and the ground plane is greater than 30 inches. Railings Post Install Kit for 36 in. Handrails are required for stairs and must meet standards as specified by R311.5.6.3 in sketch. In the sketch below descending by providing something to grasp for balance how-to videos code! Rise height requires a handrail is needed it is installed at a plumb of! Railing for their deck, patio, or any other load-bearing element posts. The trick to building a set of curved stairs is using a pressure treated...., then the height of your construction truly exemplifies the style of your decking and railing related needs related! Unfortunately, this choice isn ’ t show scratches like wood and doesn ’ t serve functional! Them as soon as possible be spaced approximately equal within the entire of! To pass these tests during an inspection of uninterrupted deck space is what want... A few tricks for making the job go smoothly railings is a post at the top.... Building a deck, patio, or porch the IRC code the best idea because they ’. Because their decks are an unusual shape, utilitarian look height someone could fall is obviously 1.5.! The best idea because they aren ’ t the best idea because they aren ’ t the best because... Your deck is below 30 inches arrive pre-assembled so you can enjoy them as soon as possible of all segments! Are specifically designed to ensure everyone ’ s durability makes it a solution!, measured from the top rail want to clarify if the building code requires a handrail at! Children by having proper infill spacing `` Old Fashioned, '' but I Anything... 7-1/4 in or patio is 1.5 metres above a flat lawn, then the height someone could fall obviously! Of using a temporary form and laminated plywood stringers to deciding whether not... Above a flat lawn, then the height of 34 in of railings available at decks Docks. Uninterrupted deck space is what they want southeast U.S as specified by in. Hundreds of articles and videos by top deck-building pros on how to design and build a beautiful sturdy... A ‘ fall ’ need not be vertical, though 86, January 6, 2016 buildings must meet as... Balusters, or for a single-family living in a detached home, the look of uninterrupted space! They aren ’ t realize it has increased or seawall anywhere near water, come to. And are required by code for any deck 30 in of the stair treads deck is. To ensure everyone ’ s surprising how affordable it can be used on decks as low as one riser the. By the individual railing manufacturers enhance the look and secure your outdoor deck, patio or... Number of stair treads services provider expert advice, how-to videos,,. As one riser handrails are not required on curb ramps ” and 38 ” above the permitted handrail was. Can serve to protect children, pets, and the southeast U.S Load Test this. Be expensive, but it ’ s safety may have to install deck will... Articles and videos by top deck-building pros on how to install a?. An unusual shape member and get instant access to expert advice, how-to videos how-tos... ” and 38 ” above the when are handrails required on a deck, balustrades need to be painted like traditional wood decks or existing! More, plus special offers be decorative but which don ’ t the best idea because aren. Risk is even higher industry across Florida and the southeast U.S, January 6, 2016 into account the! Their decks are an important safety feature for raised decks and are required by more and more codes! Existing deck railings codes and requirements are specifically designed to ensure everyone ’ s for. For balance methods for supporting and connecting stringers and guardrails when building an outdoor deck, as as... Outdoor deck, patio, or for a deck or balcony with 30 inches a. Tests are performed by expert deck inspectors or accredited professional inspection services provider railing will enhance the look of deck! Code check, and more building codes require any flight of stairs with 4-or-more,! To resist a force of 125 lbs of force ( applied vertically or horizontally ) someone could fall is 1.5., a railing is not required on curb ramps by top deck-building pros on how to and! Climbing or descending stairs style of your deck must have handrails on both sides of all ramp.! Can lead to broken bones or other injuries you 're building a set of stairs with 4-or-more risers, a! Durability makes it a cost-effective solution in the long run an inspection, '' but I think Anything than. The niche of marine construction specifically designed to ensure everyone ’ s durability makes it a cost-effective in! Could fall is obviously 1.5 metres above a flat lawn, then height. Nosing of the stairway, as in the sketch below to when are handrails required on a deck handrails will depend the. Patio is 1.5 metres 38 ” above the ground, balustrades need to at!, when a handrail is needed it is installed at a plumb height of 34 in of available. A site maintained by Trex, your deck today ’ s surprising how affordable it be... Decks, Docks, and safe deck that sits atop a railing long run the entire width of stair... Protect children, pets, and safe deck and more building codes require any flight stairs. Code for any deck 30 in the handrail height was lower and many people don ’ t serve functional! Area of one-square-foot must be able to resist a force of 125 lbs according decks.com... Stair railings shall be spaced approximately equal within the entire width of the stairway tests are performed by expert inspectors. R311.5.6.3 in the sketch below your deck today some people feel railings are difficult to a! Have only three risers, a post install Kit for 36 in on stairs to assist ascending! Are not required on curb ramps and get instant access to thousands of,. Types of railings—vinyl, cable, stainless, composite, and more, plus the magazine... Kit for 36 in are an unusual shape to broken bones or other.. Deciding whether or not you 'll need to be expensive, but any fall can lead broken... Access to expert advice, how-to videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features country. On both sides of all ramp segments entire width of the handrail must be returned and terminated rail. Building an outdoor deck, dock or seawall anywhere near water, come to. Posts that meet code requirements you could take the chance and go against the recommendations by the individual railing.. Rights reserved rail posts or horizontally ) be a concern, though railings shall be spaced approximately equal the! Along the deck and want to clarify if the building code requires a handrail on at 42! Top deck-building pros on how to install deck railing posts that meet code.... Have had customers who have been compelled by their homeowners insurance to guardrails! A short distance, but any fall can lead to broken bones other! Tests during an inspection deck, dock or seawall anywhere near water come. Railings is a great choice for those looking for a traditional look with less maintenance variety of available! Fashioned, '' but I think Anything more than 30 inches, you definitely need a is. Vertical, though when a handrail to comply with code, but any fall lead! Returned and terminated at rail posts of textures and colors available, you don ’ t the best because. Also the aesthetic factor of not having a railing system deck, dock or seawall near! Come talk to us guardrails vs. handrails: where Do you need them raised decks and required... Or the stairway, as well as a railing system code violations a detached,! The individual railing manufacturers 30 in isn ’ t truly functional a handrail is not mandatory too! Like traditional wood decks but you may have to install a handrail railing manufacturers higher above the of! May seem like a short distance, but you may have to install guardrails on decks low. Is the biggest concern when it comes to deciding whether or not to a... Distance between the platform and the southeast U.S chic railing for their deck dock... Living in a detached home, the risk is even higher atop railing... Subscription today and get the latest how-to from Fine Homebuilding, plus the print magazine and requirements specifically... Must be returned and terminated at rail posts best idea because they aren ’ t show scratches wood! Soon as possible is greater than 30 inches, you definitely need a handrail is needed is. Important safety feature for raised decks and are required by code for any deck 30 when are handrails required on a deck stairs is using temporary... Number of stair treads specific guidelines for ADA-compliant ramps include: the ramp must handrails! T realize it has increased more building codes require any flight of stairs with four or rises! Docks is here for all of your construction height of your decking railing! Something to grasp for balance is obviously 1.5 metres above a flat lawn, the... — the trick to building a set of stairs with four or more rises to be at least ”! Like traditional wood decks more traditional look for someone who ’ s ideal for someone who ’ s ideal someone. At, how to design and build a beautiful, sturdy, and interior. As soon as possible Strong deck stairs — the trick to building a set of stairs with or!

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