Minimum Safety Requirements for Deck Rails

Decks are a great addition to your home. They provide additional space that can be used in multiple ways and enhance curb appeal. But there are certain requirements to follow when building them, particularly when installing rails and balusters. Different heights are required for railings, so when it comes to your own deck, it’s best to consult experts to know the rules that will help you avoid issues in the future.

Deck Rails

 Elevated Decks Need Guardrails

If your deck is more than 30 inches off the ground, guardrails need to be installed for safety reasons. However, keep in mind that guardrails are different from handrails. Guardrails are meant as a safety feature while handrails are meant for support and assistance when going up and down the stairs.

Deck Fencing Can’t Substitute for Guardrails

Though deck fencing may look like a good replacement for guardrails, this is not allowed. Deck fences aren’t meant to act as a safety rail as guardrails do. Moreover, guardrails are code-tested to ensure they can properly support weight and prevent people from falling off the deck.

Handrails Are Required for Some Stairs

If your deck is elevated enough to have more than three risers in its stairs, handrails are required to be built. They must be installed 34 to 38 inches above the stair tread nosings and must be graspable to properly assist people when going up and down. There are two types of handrails for these stairs: circular handrails, which are designed to be grasped by children and older adults for assistance, and handrails, which have graspable finger recesses on both sides.

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