Joists and Decking Boards. The owner of all dwellings shall provide: (A) A safe handrail for every stairway that is used or intended for use by the occupant as required by 780 CMR: Massachusetts State Building Code. Posts should be no further apart than 5.5 feet on stairs. If you want the posts to be close together, mount each post an inch or two from the corner of the framing. This will ensure that there is enough material surrounding each bolt to prevent weaknesses around the holes. Why Deck Railing Post Spacing is Important? 72, 1955 (No. Decks attached to single-family detached homes are regulated under the rules of the International Residential Code (IRC). Section 410.503 - Protective Railings and Walls. U.S. Building Codes for Deck Railing Handrails. Additionally, the deck posts must be attached to the footing according to According to the California Building Code cable railing requirements, if your cable rail cannot support a 50-lb. SPECIESa SIZE SPACING OF DECK JOISTS WITH NO CANTILEVERb (in.) While the posts are strong enough to support the required weight, sometimes a rim joist is not and will eventually rotate as stress is applied to the railing attached to it. This deck railing height code also applies to commercial decks and balconies such as restaurants, bars, and museums as well as multi-family homes, condos, and any deck on a third-story or higher. To achieve even spacing, the 20-foot side will have a post every 5 feet. 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 rail posts and no more than 8 feet apart for decks with 6×6’ deck rail posts. You have a couple of options for the corners of externally-mounted posts. If you’re a homeowner, you might wonder which parts of code actually applies to you, and whether you actually have to pay close attention. For the adjacent 20-foot side, you’ll need three posts in addition to the corner post it shares with the two 12-foot sides. At a minimum, footings shall be at least down to the frost depth for your location. To achieve an aesthetically pleasing result, you need to space the posts uniformly. Building Code Deck Railing Post Spacing Requirements, Calculating the Space Between the Railing Posts. Railings for this type of system, namely Series 500 Pipe Railing, are built with the proper number of horizontal lines to meet the requirements outlined 6. For the 12-foot sides, you’ll need three posts for each side: one for each corner and one at the halfway point (6 feet) between the corner posts. Sometimes local building codes will have more stringent regulations, so check your local building department for post spacing requirements. As most decks are attached to a home, you’ll need to account for the corners of the deck that attach to the deck ledger. Local, city, or state codes (For example here is California’s Guardrail Code) Dimensions specified are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wood Handbook, No. (3) Guardrails installed on or before May 26, 2011. The minimum height of the railing varies based on the height of the deck. A deck rail post cannot be installed at the same point where the joist attaches to the rim joist as you will not be able to install the necessary bolts. Once you’ve determined the location of each corner post, it’s time to take measurements and determine spacing. Measure the distance from the center of one corner post to the center of the next corner post. Deck Railing Height Requirements All decks greater than 30" above grade must have a guardrail. Building Code Deck Railing Post Spacing Requirements According to the International Building Code, deck railing posts should be spaced no further than 6 feet apart. You’ve completed your deck’s framing and it’s time to add the railing. As you determine the location of each post, mark the placement on the deck frame. THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE BUILDING CODE 380 780 CMR - Seventh Edition 8/22/08 (Effective 9/1/08) LOAD FACTOR. You’ll need to install posts on either side of the stringer where the stairs meet the deck, which will affect the spacing of the other posts on that side. Most state and local codes require railing posts to be 36 inches tall for residential applications. $40,000 to replace or install railings. Minimum Railing Distance, One Railing: 31 1/2 Inches Minimum railing distance means the walking space between a handrail on one wall and an adjacent wall that has no handrail. Deck railing posts are what support your deck rails, which in turn keep people from inadvertently falling off the deck. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Alternative Materials and Methods –R104.11 An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved if the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the code. Balcony railings below 42” are also considered a SWARMP (Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program) condition in FISP (Façade Inspection & Safety Program) reports. For proper spacing, holes for the deck bolts should be placed in the center of the post at least 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom and the top of the frame. Learn more about the basics of deck railing code-compliance and installation in the Deck Railing Guide and Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo . Image Credit: Morris Decks. 1 (S4S) Southern Yellow Pine (Modulus of Rupture 7,400 p.s.i.)) The construction of the railing has to adhere to specific deck railing code requirements. Unless your deck is a perfectly square shape, the space between your deck posts will vary with each side. One solution to this problem is to add blocking and brackets that help to reinforce the rim joists. Remember, for thicker, 6’x6’ posts, you can increase the spacing to 7 feet. Stringers. New York: American Standards Association, approved May 3, 1932. The minimum width for stairways shall not be less than 36 inches clear. Florida deck railing height is a minimum of 36” from the top surface of the deck to the top of the deck railing. For decks with deck rail posts on the outside, you’ll need two posts on each corner. The importance of deck post rails is pretty straight forward. Code Overview. b.Plastic composite deck materials shall comply with the requirements of ASTM D7032 and Section R507.3. 125 pound uniform load (per linear foot) applied horizontally or vertically to the railing. If you choose to install a guardrail on a deck lower than 30", you must still meet code requirements. This fits the building code as long as you do not notch the posts. Treads must be at least 10 inches deep, measuring from front to back. In this article, we’ll review how to space your deck posts, so your deck is both safe and visually appealing. One common problem faced when spacing and mounting deck railing posts doesn’t have to do with the post themselves but rather with what you’re attaching them to the rim joists. Deck Railing Height Code Examples for Different States California. All proposed decks require approvals of the Zoning Officer and Code ... railings, baluster spacing, etc. What is the reasoning behind this spacing? With interior-mounted posts, you’re limited by the joists that run from the ledger to the rim joist. For example, let’s consider a deck with posts 12 feet apart on two sides and 20 feet apart on the other side. If you have deck sides that are not even numbers, you’ll need to spend a bit more time calculating. If you decide to use this option, you’ll need to plan in advance as once the footings are in the ground, there is no way to extend their length. Bolts that are spaced improperly can damage the post or the joists, eventually causing the posts to loosen, creating a hazard. If you are attaching posts to the inside of the frame, you’ll need one post on each corner. The requirements are slightly stricter here, as the deck railing height code demands at least a 42” height guardrail for any deck. Similarly, the International Building Code requires commercial railings to be at least 42 inches tall as well. The use of railings … For the side of the deck that runs perpendicular to the joists, you’ll need to space your posts so they fit in the corner where the joists and the rim joist meet. IBC 1607.8.1: Guards shall be designed to resist a linear load of 50 pounds per linear foot a. IBC 1607.8.1.1: … That method no longer meets code. To prevent the bolts from coming into contact with each other, you’ll need to offset the bolt holes by 1/2-inch. Will Water Softener Improve My Drinking Water? Balusters, the vertical guards that support the handrail, must be installed close enough that the... Support Posts. Just keep in mind that each style requires the addition of blocking in the frame to meet code. What is the Standard Deck Railing Height? 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. Unless your deck dimensions are evenly divisible by six, you’ll end up with odd and rather unappealing deck rail post spacing. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires a minimum 36-inch-high guardrail for all decks, balconies, or screened enclosures more than 30 inches off the ground. It used to be that deck railing posts were notched on one end and connected to the deck with screws. Check with the building department for specific depths required. Keep in mind that this additional length means that each footer doubling as a rail post will need to go more deeply into the ground than a standard footer to provide adequate support. Rim Joists are an IRC requirement. Install railings on any deck that is 30 inches or more from the surrounding surface and on at least one side... Baluster Spacing. The process is a bit different for posts that are set on the interior deck. Decks 30 inches or more above grade require a safety railing that is at least 36 inches high. Standard 4×4-foot deck posts must be spaced no more than 6 feet apart to provide adequate strength. Below, we’ll discuss how to properly space your deck posts. If you’re in California, they require residential posts to be a minimum of 42 inches tall. Deck railing height standards can vary from state to state but typically require a 36″ or 42″ railing. Calculating the space between the railing posts is the first step in the railing installation process. Center a post on each mark and draw a line on either side of the post. Vertically space the bolts no less than 5 and 1/8 inches apart. They are a set of building codes that have to be adhered to when building deck rails. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR WOOD DECKS - IRC 2009 The following is a list of Code compliance items that are required to be submitted with the construction permit application for plan review processing and approval: 1. If a property owner or contractor elects to install railings on any deck lower than 30″, the railings must still meet code. For example, for a deck with 12 joists, install a deck rail post to every third joist. For stairs with stringers more than 5.5 feet long, you’ll need to install additional posts between the head and foot of the stairs. Divide the length of each side into equal lengths between five and seven feet, depending on the width of your posts. Deck Railing Code The International Residential Code (IRC), adopted by most US cities and towns, requires 36-in.-high deck railings for decks more than 30 in. This decision is an aesthetic one, as each option will provide adequate. In this case, you would need three posts, which would be one at every 5 feet 9 inches. Proper spacing of bolts ensures that the deck railing is securely attached to the deck. The … The building code lists several requirements for footings based on use of the deck (loads) and soil conditions. With the two posts in such close proximity to each other, it’s possible for one set of bolts to block the other. A deck railing should withstand up to 200 lbs. Uneven spacing can look sloppy and unattractive. Most Georgia counties (at least Atlanta suburbs) currently follow the International Residential Codes (IRC). Guards are required when then deck is 24" (60 cm) above grade. Homes with attached decks that are 30 inches from the surface must have guardrails of at least 36 inches high will while commercial establishments like apartments, condominiums, or bars need to be at least 46 inches high. Residential Building Codes for hand Rails. Current building code standards require deck railing posts to be attached using bolts. Now when … Log in. Another option is to mount each post 12 to 16 inches in from the corners with the top rails extending beyond each post to meet at the corner. Whereas people may not venture to the edge of a structure with no rail, most will generally lean on a railing, expecting it to hold their weight. Posts will be much stronger than brackets. The height of a railing is measured from the top of the floor boards to the top edge of the railing. (3) Minimum requirements for standard railings under various types of construction are specified in this subsection. Measure the distance between the posts at the head and foot of the stairs then evenly space the posts, making sure they are no further than the building code standard of 5.5 feet apart. Any fewer than that and you are over the maximum spacing required by code. Decks 24" to 5-10" (180 cm) need 36" guards and anything above 5-10" requires a 42" high railing. I hope this article has taught you how to properly space the railing posts on your deck. Since the posts will determine the spacing of the balusters and the structural integrity of your railing, correctly installing the posts is critical to ensuring the rest of the railing installation goes smoothly. STAIR WIDTH. This method eliminates the weakest point of railing posts, which is the connection between rail and rim joist. Balusters, or interior rail sections, should be spaced apart so as not to have openings … Do not overlook the importance of properly spaced deck post railings in the overall safety of your deck. It could save you time and money further down the road. [47] “USA Standard Safety Requirements for Floor and Wall Openings, Railings, and Toe Boards,” USAS A12.1-1967. Code requirements can be wordy and difficult to sift through. © 2020 BuildingAdvisor.com®; All rights reserved. Balusters. Begin by measuring the distance between the corner posts of the deck, making sure to measure each side of the deck that will have railings. A factor that accounts for deviations of the actual load from the nominal load, for uncertainties in the analysis that transforms the load into a load effect, and for the probability that more than one extreme load will occur simultaneously. of pressure from any direction at any single point on the post or railing. Railings are now required, by most counties, for any potential fall greater than 30 inches. Requirements were enacted for building standards, such as fire resistance, drainage, and fall protection. One could even make the argument that a weak deck railing due to poor post spacing is worse than having no deck railing at all. As with any construction project, make sure to check with your local building code before beginning deck railing post installation to make sure you are adhering to proper guidelines. When you consider that more than 6,000 people suffer serious injuries and even death every year from failed decks and balconies, this is something that should be taken very seriously. (B) A wall or guardrail on the open side of all stairways no less than 30 inches in height. To achieve even spacing, make sure a uniform number of joists separate each post. KEEP IN MIND. If it doesn’t, even a fall of a couple of feet can cause serious injuries. above the ground. Maximum 16'-6 "span for solid stringer (southern pine) Maximum 7'-0 … While there are brackets for attaching a railing directly to the building, unless it’s structurally impossible with your deck design, use a post for these corners. Posts which are an integral part of the under or over structure are acceptable if they meet the spacing requirements of § 47.232 (relating to construction) and strength requirements of § 47.233 (relating to pipe railings). What is the reasoning behind this spacing? If a deck's floor surface is more than 30 inches from the ground it must have a railing. Requirements for Deck Stairs. hot-dipped-galvanized or polymer coatings, Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide. 200 pound point load applied at the top of the post in any direction, or at any point along the railing. weight without bowing, you won’t be up to code. It exists to keep people safe. The posts or uprights shall be of a section at least equal in strength to the minimum requirements for railings. Keep in mind that although you may add a rail to a deck that’s less than 30 inches above grade, that railing still needs to adhere to these safety requirements. The railing must be strong enough to resist the following loads: 125 pound uniform load (per linear foot) applied horizontally or vertically to the railing Eugene has been a DIY enthusiast for most of his life and loves being creative while inspiring creativity in others. New homes will not be granted a … The Victorian era saw not only the in-troduction of iron railings, but also the first standardized, widely-applied build-ing codes. There is no maximum... Florida. Make sure to mount the posts a few inches into account for the ledge board and provide an adequate buffer between the post and the house. Deck railing code is in place for a reason, however. By using these guidelines, you can ensure that your deck railing will provide adequate support while also preserving the aesthetics of your deck. Another option is to design your deck by simply extending the footings another 36” so they also serve as the deck railing posts. According to the International Building Code, deck railing posts should be spaced no further than 6 feet apart. The general rule is about 1/3 of the post’s overall length should be below grade. When spacing the interior posts, make sure to measure from the center of each corner post as opposed to the corner of the framing to achieve proper spacing. California requires homeowners to have deck railings that are a minimum of 42” high. Sometimes local building codes will have more stringent regulations, so check your local building department for post spacing requirements. If constructed of structural metal, the top rails to be angle iron of at least 2-inch by 2-inch by 1/4-inch angles or other metal shapes of equivalent bending strength; and the single midrail, where permitted, to be iron or steel of at least 2-inch by 2-inch by 1/4-inch angles or other metal shapes of equivalent strength. Respect Minimum Height Requirements Lastly, don’t forget to account for the stairs. 2018 IRC Significant Changes to Deck Provisions 12 EVALUATION REPORTS ESR-1137 ITW Red Head EPCON G5 Adhesive Anchoring System In addition to providing safety, you also want your deck railing to enhance as opposed to detracting from the aesthetics of your deck. Although your minimum spacing might be 6 feet, that doesn’t mean you start with the first corner post and move six feet outward from there. If there’s a railing, people will lean on it expecting it to hold them. He is passionately interested in home improvement, renovation and woodworking. Insulating A Cathedral Ceiling With Foam Board. For integrated deck/rail posts, place the footers that will double as rail posts no more than six feet apart for 4×4’ footers or 8 feet apart for 6×6’ footers. For a side that is 17 feet 3 inches, for example, you’ll need to use the number of posts that keep the distance between each at 6 feet or less. [46] “American Standard Safety Code for Floor and Wall Openings, Railings, and Toe Boards,” AS A12 -1932. Do keep in mind that you may have to adjust your spacing based on the joists that run from the ledger board to the rim joist. Your email address will not be published. Joists … This gets a little trickier for decks with external railing posts as you’ll have two posts on each corner. The Department of Buildings’ minimum code required height for balcony railings is 42” (2), with an allowance of 1”. Contractor Filed a Lien – What Are Our Options? The International Code Council (ICC) is a committee that specifies national building codes. 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