Stairs on single-family homes require a handrail 34 to 38 inches above the stair, due to the slope of the stair. Multifamily homes require a guardrail that is 42 inches high with a 36 inch handrail. Multifamily deck stairs must have a 42 inch minimum guardrail, and the stair handrail can be between 34 and 38 inches.
In general, one post every 4 to 8 feet is typical, check your local building codes and be sure to investigate your railing system to determine specific requirements. There are two ways to layout deck posts:
· Deck railing height standards can vary from state to state but typically require a 36″ or 42″ railing. In California, deck railings are required to be a minimum of 42″ tall measured from the deck surface to the top of the guardrail. Typical loading requirements dictate that guardrails should be strong enough to withstand 200 pounds of force applied anywhere along the top rail.
Railings should always reach at least 36 inches high to meet code requirements. However, you can go higher for architectural or privacy needs. If you’re installing something like a hot tub, run them up to six feet high and install privacy fencing.
· The existing deck rail is 37-1/2 inches high so I was able to install the guard posts before tearing off the rail cap and pickets. I measured and sawed 46-1/4 inch long guard posts that ran from the bottom edge of the 2×10 beams to the rail cap. This gave me two 4×4 guard posts per 8 foot piece of lumber with scrap.
Railings must meet a 200-lb concentrated load. Warning: Given this load requirement, it is highly unlikely that you can achieve a 6 foot span for a wood railing or an 8 foot span on steel or pipe railings. Review with an engineer to confirm load bearing ability of
Building code requirements for exterior decking railing, guards, and stairs are especially stringent because decks fall into the category of critical health and safety matters. Code requirements for bathroom fans or drywall, while important, rarely touch upon life and death matters. By contrast, deck code is truly a matter of life and death and of serious injuries.
Minimum 36” at all points above the permitted handrail height Minimum 31.5" width below handrail height where handrail is on one side Minimum 27" width below handrail where handrails are on both sides Maximum rise of 7-3/4” - maximum difference among risers 3/8" Minimum tread width of 10" - maximum difference among treads 3/8"Deck Foundations · Five Different Techniques · Footings on Slopes · Deck Railing Loads
Deck handrails are an important design and safety feature. All states have safety requirements for deck building, and require that you check with your local building authority prior to adding a new deck to your property. All deck railing specifications have height, load and picket spacing requirements.
The deck railing style you chose for your new deck is the piece de resistance of the project. Safety is the practical consideration behind the installation of railings, and you should also keep maintenance in mind.But there is an aesthetic component: choosing wisely from among the various styles is critical to the project from a design perspective.
Deck Railing Guardrail Strength Requirements. The IRC requires that the railing be able to resist a 200-pound concentrated load applied along the top in any direction, while some local codes still in effect specify a smaller load of 20 pounds per linear foot. After an
· The IRC requires guardrails to be at least 36" in height, measured from the deck surface to the top of the rail. Commercial decks attached to multi-family buildings, such as apartment buildings or businesses, are regulated under the International Building
Wood Deck or Porch Railings The top rail for a guardrail can be a 2x6 either flat photo above or on edge. Use the longest pieces you can find—a continuous railing is best. However for a hand railing on stairs, both flat and vertical 2x lumber are unsafe and violate good stair railing design because they cannot be grasped during a fall.
· 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 top of the handrail should be at least 34 inches but not more than 38 inches high. The same height rules apply to stairs, and the inspector measures the handrail height from nose of the stair tread.