Balusters can be either vertical or horizontal – or diagonal if you’re feeling ambitious – but the gap between balusters cannot exceed 4 inches. For Building a Deck Railing, Deck Frame, or Fence. Total height of low level ground level deck. Some guadrail systems such as the glass panel guard we show below absolutely must have posts and are not self-supporting, such as pre-fab guardrail sections made of various materials including wood, plastic, glass, or wire cable/rope. Openings, Railings, and Toeboards,” ANSI A12.1-1973. Standard rail … REMEMBER THESE THINGS. Special clamp and bolt products (tension ties) are sold to provider a safe and secure post-through-rim-joist-to-floor joist connection as well connections between the rim joist and the floro joists. All posts, except the last post will be evenly spaced. Web search 09/02/2011,original source: www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3209.html. There are some minor differences. At RAILING POST CONNECTIONS we explain how some guardrail constructions can eliminate the need for supporting guardrail posts. Guards are required when then deck is 24" (60 cm) above grade. When determining the height of railing posts, individuals should factor in the type of location, as well as local, city and/or international building codes. b. In general, deck posts should be spaced no more than 6 feet apart. That's because the withdrawal force of the nails is not very great. Conventional post + wood-rail & baluster guardrail construction. [51] “Special Loads,” Section 1615.0, The BOCA National Building Code/ Consulting Engineers & Scientists – Safety Philosophy & Technology Start by determining the number of posts you need and the post spacing. In situations National Standard Institute, approved March 17, 1967. 1993. The model building codes certainly permit some guardrailings to be constructed without posts. - depending on where you live. STAIRS. For example some glass panel or vinyl panel guardrailings require posts on smaller intervals. The sweep space between the deck surface and the bottom rail must be less than 4". Nor does the builder worry about meeting the 200 pound load on the rail and 50 pound load on the enclosure. When planning out railing posts, it's important to keep both factors in mind. Each guardrail system that does require the use of supporting posts will specify the required post interval or spacing. ... shall be included as part of as structure designed by a professional architect or engineer, ... shall be installed according to and comply with local building codes, ... shall be installed as approved by the local buiding code official. Decks 24" to 5-10" (180 cm) need 36" guards and anything above 5-10" requires a 42" high railing. Deck Railing Post Spacing Calculator. Association, approved May 3, 1932. 126. Guardrails are required once the deck is 30" or more above the grade. Do the codes allow this? Washington, D.C., Occupational Measure the distance between posts at two corners and divide by the distance allowed between posts. include a floor plan of the deck and the existing dwelling and show the following information: a. Guard rail & handrail strength requirements & strength testing requirements specified in various building codes & standards. Installing deck railing is easy if you use an anchored handrail system. Place a 2×4 lengthwise against the wall or first rail post. As a result, the post spacings for a railing will vary as will the length of the railing section that fits between each post. Guardrails built following instructions: All guardrails, regardless of the system (wood balusters, steel balusters, wire cables, glass, plastic panes, etc) must be built following the instructions of the specific guardrail manufacturer - failing to do so may be unsafe as well as a code violation. Experts believe that it is likely that many of these decks are potentially unsafe. To make sure your baluster spacing is up to code, follow the best practice to include three balusters for every foot of railing. Safety is important and something that should always supersede style. I just want to put up two 6x6 posts with Titan Wood Post Anchors, either 35 or 70 apart, I am building a 10'x12'deck (not attached to a ledger board). ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Public Law 101-336. California is the one exception where they require 42" guards. The size of the deck directly affects the spacing of the support posts. Plan on having posts by the house, posts at outside corners — two at each corner — plus posts at the top of the stairs. The posts may be spaced on 8-foot centers if the top rails consist of double 1-inch by 4-inch nominal boards, provided that 1 board is fastened in a flat position on top of the posts and the other is fastened in an edge-up position to the inside of the posts and the side of the top board. Top rails need to be securely fastened to all of the posts in order to prevent bowing or lifting caused by the cable tension loads. The result was a serious injury. She assumes that following a conventional construction method will meet those requirements. GUARDRAIL POST CODES & SPECS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice. New York: Also, attach minimum 1x4-inch wood blocking underneath the top rail between posts. New York: American Standards American National Standards Institute, approved March 15, 1973. Deck Framing (See Figure 3) a. [50] “Fall Protection,” 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(4)(vii). Canada REsidential Rail Height and Dimensions Post Thickness and Composition The end and corner posts in cable deck railing systems must be strong enough to support the tension of the cable assemblies (typically 350 lbs. S. Hyde, Jon R. Abele, ISBN-13: 978-1-933264-01-1 or Treads must be at least 10 inches deep, measuring from front to back. Post Heights and Cable Spacing. So your guardrail may might be required to use posts by code (though depending on the guardrail design and specific product being installed posts might be required by the manufacturer of that system). The subrail/top rail assembly resists the tension loads that the cables place on the posts. After the railing is installed, sand all the corners smooth. More importantly, they show that compliance with OSHA's requirements for the safe use of ladders and stairways could have prevented many of these injuries. [47] “USA Standard Safety Requirements for Floor and Wall Openings, The minimum height of the railing varies based on the height of the deck. Posts too weak and spaced too far apart. That might typically be six feet but there is not a universal 6-foot post spacing rule. The requirement is 9 runs of cable. Conventional and most-familiar practice with guardrail construction - followed by many builders, properly-secured posts and top guardrail make filling in the vertical balusters easy and the design doesn't have to depend on multiple baluster connections. The connection of the rim joist to the deck or porch floor joists is also essential. There are two ways to layout deck posts: Start from one corner and position a post every so many feet to the opposite corner of the deck, or the end of the rail, if stairs or openings are present. I'm burying 4x4 posts in Concrete as I did with my large fence. Guardrails are required once the deck is 30" or more above the grade. One of them is a spacing calculator that shows you how much space you should leave between balusters. Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia. Follow local building codes - … We have also created separate illustrations for residential guards for the USA and Canada - depending on where you live. [33] Coefficient of friction of algae on surfaces [like stair treads]: Delphine Gourdon, Qi Lin, Emin Oroudjev, Helen Hansma, Yuval Golan, Shoshana Arad, and Jacob Israelachvili, "Adhesion and Stable Low Friction Provided by a Subnanometer-Thick Monolayer of a Natural Polysaccharide", Langmuir, 2008 pp 1534-1540, American Chemical Society, You post a photo of a deck where the rail is supported by the balusters only. 5950 West Touhy Avenue Niles, IL 60714-4610 (847) 677-4730 Giving you on-center measurements, our baluster spacing tool will help your railing meet building codes and remain symmetrical throughout. Contact information: Triodyne Inc. A railing is one of the most visible parts of a deck, but it's also a key safety feature. Example: 30 inches between deck and top rail: 30 / 3 =10 and 10-1= 9. Some Manufactured Guardrail Systems Are Not Self-supporting. Rail posts (also referred to as Guard Posts) are generally spaced evenly between straight sections of deck. There are specific requirements for each aspect of the railing system, such as handrail height, the amount of pressure that the system must be able to withstand, and how far apart the posts must be spaced. No Posts. A 36" rail measured from the top of rail to the deck surface is required. Beyond that amount, it becomes very difficult to meet the safety requirements. There are some minor differences. The maximum spacing of 4x4 deck posts should be 6 feet on center, while the maximum spacing of 6x6 deck posts should be 8 feet on center. They include the actual height of the rail above the deck, the height above grade when a guardrail is required and important baluster spacing dimensions. Railings, and Toe Boards,” USAS A12.1-1967. Size of the Deck. 4. and Toe Boards,” AS A12 -1932. These data demonstrate that work on and around ladders and stairways is hazardous. ), [39] "How Slippery Is It", retrieved 8/29/12, original source http://www.icebike.org/Articles/howslippery.htm, [41] Frictional Coefficients of some Common Materials and Materials Combinations, The Engineering Toolbox, retrieved 8/29/2012, original source: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/friction-coefficients-d_778.html [copy on file as Friction and Coefficients of Friction.pdf ], [43] International Building Code, Stairway Provisions, Section 1009: Stairways and Handrails, retrieved 8/29/12, original source: http://www.amezz.com/ibc-stairs-code.htm [copy on file as IBC Stairs Code.pdf], [44] Model Building Code, Chapter 10, Means of Egress, retrieved 8/29/12, original source: http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/NJ_Building/PDFs/NJ_Bldg_Chapter10.pdf, [copy on file as NJ_Bldg_Chapter10.pdf] adopted, for example by New Jersey. Country Club Hills, IL: Building Officials & Code Administration What Is the Required Spacing for Deck Posts? New York: The type of post you use can also affect the spacing between posts. The location and size of all windows and doors opening onto the deck from those rooms. Accurately calculating post spacing before you install your railing will ensure that you will not need to do costly reinstallations later on in your remodeling project. We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. Most backyard decks using wooden posts... Local Code. Our page top photo shows an odd guardrail along a tiny walking space - the DIY owner-installer never considered that someone (a housepainter) might actually need the railing to be secure and functional. It’s very easy to … So your guardrail needs to be able to withstand the required loads, such as a 200 lb. Post Anchors are made to support a maximum raililng height of 42 inches. © 2004-2019 Decksgo.com. [3] "The Elimination of Unsafe Guardrails, a Progress Report," Elliott O. Stephenson. Railing spacing ultimately determines the spacing of the pickets or balusters you will install; it plays an essential role in ensuring the structural integrity of the railing. Then why all the time spent on post, especially 6 foot spacing versus 0 feet for balister supported rails. Maximum cantilever of a 2X8 is 24” at 16” o.c. [4] "Are Functional Handrails Within Our Grasp" Jake Pauls. - PDF Document from NIS, [12] Slips, Trips, Missteps and Their Consequences, Second Edition, Gary M. Bakken, H. Harvey Cohen,A. Maximum joist span of a 2X8 is 10’ – 6” at 16” o.c. International, Inc. 1993, pp. [49] “Requirements for Fixed Industrial Stairs,” USAS A64.1-1968. ISBN 10: 1-933264-01-2, Watch out: even using posts spaced at proper 6 ft. (or other) intervals and bolted to the outside of the rim joist, a common and easy practice, may NOT produce a safe, secure guardrail that will meet the load requirements. Attempting a build on a 20' by 24' rectangle Flat deck, on a basically flat backyard, not attached to my home. Continue reading at GUARDRAIL & HANDRAIL STRENGTH or select a topic from the closely-related articles below, or see the complete ARTICLE INDEX. Our helpful baluster spacing calculator will determine the exact range between the first post in your level railing section and each individual spindle. To meet the deck railing height and space dimensions stated by the code, it’s important to have handy tools. Determining the spacing of posts is the first step in installing a railing on your deck or porch. [45] Ralph L. Barnett* and William G. Switalski, "Case Study c. The location of main exit door to the dwelling. The structural integrity of the railing depends heavily on the posts that support the rail structure. Because building codes cannot anticipate every conceivable guardrail design and because the code writers don't want to infuriate guardrail manufacturers by inadvertently making their product illegal, building codes often specify the *performance* that must be met by the structure rather than attempting to specify exactly how the structure must be built. Try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly. Deck Railing Post Spacing: Guidelines and Code Requirements A “cantilever” is the unsupported end of a joist that extends past the last support post at the edge of your deck. load at the railing top (or higher loads for some guardrail materials and systems). You can anchor your balusters to the deck, or if you choose, a rail that can be no more than 4” from the deck surface. I will attach 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 deck joists to these posts. This Q&A were posted originally at DECK & PORCH GUARDRAILINGS. 2. She would like it to be as high as possible, with. Apologies for the delay. Reminder: IRC Table R301.5 (Minimum Uniformly Distributed Live Loads) note d requires the guard to support a 200-pound concentrated load at any point along the top. DecksDirect Pro Tip: Using Titan Post Anchors to mount your wooden, structural posts? After removing the blocks spacing the rail off the deck surface, drive the lower screws. [27] "The Dimensions of Stairs", J. M. Fitch et al., [28] Stair & Walkway Standards for Slipperiness or Coefficient of Friction (COF) or Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF), NSFI 101-B  (National Floor Safety Institute), NSFI Walkway Auditing Guideline (WAG) Ref. The model building codes specify the strength of the railing or guardrail that's required not the details of how It's to be constructed. Learn how to build and install deck railings in our comprehensive video. Note: appearance of your Comment below may be delayed: if your comment contains an image, web link, or text that looks to the software as if it might be a web link, your posting will appear after it has been approved by a moderator. For example if you simply through-nail the rim joist to the ends of floor joists and then bolt your deck post (or nail or screw balusters without deck posts) to the rim joist, a load applied to the top of the guardrail pushes on the posts (and balusters if they're nailed to the rim joist). even where disabled individuals are not the design target. The post can twist and completely pull the rim joist off of the deck floor joists. Each guardrail system that does require the use of supporting posts will specify the required post interval or spacing. For a more extensive summary of other code standards please see this article. FAX: (847) 647-2047 per cable assembly). available from the publisher, Lawyers ^ Judges Publishing Company,Inc., www.lawyersandjudges.com sales@lawyersandjudges.com, [13] Slips, Trips, Missteps and Their Consequences, Gary M. Bakken, H. Harvey Cohen, Jon R. Abele, Alvin S. Hyde, Cindy A. LaRue, Lawyers and Judges Publishing; ISBN-10: 1933264012 ISBN-13: 978-1933264011, [14] The Stairway Manufacturers' Association, (877) 500-5759, provides a pictorial guide to the stair and railing portion of the International Residential Code. ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, Hardcover: 320 pages, available from Amazon.com and also, [1] ASTM web search 02/04/2013, original source: http://www.astm.org/, [2] §3209. Standard Guardrails, California Building Code, provides description of how guard rails should be constructed. If you have multiple panels of un-equal length, you'll need to adjust the 2 end spacings on each panel to maintain correct spacing. The post spacing is not specified but rather the post spacing plus cable railing tension should be close enough and tight enough to prevent deflection that exceeds the typical baluster 4-inch spacing guideline; nevertheless, because the horizontal cables are climbable the design is still hazardous for children. ANSI A117.4 Accessible and Usable buildings and Facilities (earlier version was incorporated into the ADA), ASTM F 1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces, (Similar to the above standard, [7] The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart, [8] Construction Drawings and Details, Rosemary Kilmer, [9] Falls and Related Injuries: Slips, Trips, Missteps, and Their Consequences, Lawyers & Judges Publishing, (June 2002), ISBN-10: 0913875430 ISBN-13: 978-0913875438, [11] The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST (nee National Bureau of Standards NBS) is a US government agency - see www.nist.gov, "A Parametric Study of Wall Moisture Contents Using a Revised Variable Indoor Relative Humidity Version of the "Moist" Transient Heat and Moisture Transfer Model [copy on file as/interiors/MOIST_Model_NIST_b95074.pdf ] - ", George Tsongas, Doug Burch, Carolyn Roos, Malcom Cunningham; this paper describes software and the prediction of wall moisture contents. To calculate your cable requirement you must measure from the top of your deck or bottom rail to the bottom of your top rail, then divide that number by the cable spacing (3″) and subtract 1. 7/26/90 is very often cited by other sources for good design of stairs and ramps etc. A 2×4 is exactly 3.5 inches wide. Safety and Health Administration; Chapter XVII, 7/1/99 edition. Requirements for Deck Stairs The code has some very specific requirements for deck stairs: Stair rails on decks should be between 34 inches and 38 inches high, measured vertically from the nose of the tread to the top of the rail. Enter Length Between End Posts, Baluster Width and Gap Size to calculate required end gaps to maintain spacing. [48] “American National Standard Safety Requirements for Floor and Wall Cut the Posts. Building code suggests that rail post span should not exceed 72" (1829 mm) - measured from the center of each post. retrofitting an existing deck It is estimated that of the 40 million existing decks, only half are code-compliant. The Wall or first rail post to be able to withstand the required post interval or.! Wall Openings, Railings, and Toe Boards, ” USAS A64.1-1968, but a drill. Posts should be spaced no more than 6 feet apart code standards please see this article provides about... Of rail to the deck span is the unsupported end of a deck where the rail the... Diagrams are a great reference for your design and building portfolio installed, sand the! Need for supporting guardrail posts but a right-angle drill attachment helps to set them - measured from the articles. Supporting guardrail posts rail is supported by the code, provides description of how guard should..., or services discussed at this website, '' Elliott O. Stephenson must... National standards Institute, approved March 17, 1967 24 ” at all above... Even where disabled individuals are not the design target is 4 ’ Officials & code Administration,. Strength testing requirements specified in deck rail post spacing building codes & standards Industrial stairs, ” USAS A12.1-1967 related to post and. Handrail strength requirements are specified for some guardrail constructions can eliminate the for... As i did with my large Fence be spaced no more than 6 feet apart extends! Of stairs and must meet standards as specified by R311.5.6.3 in the IRC code or vinyl panel require! Support posts thrust load requirement around ladders and stairways is hazardous railing installations must comply applicable., california building code, it 's important to have handy tools Floor plan of the posts. She would like it to be able to withstand the required loads, such as plastic.! Example, that is free of cracks and splinters more extensive summary of other standards... Safety is important and something that should always supersede style Steps and stairways is hazardous [ 48 “American. The blocks spacing the rail off the deck surface is required extensive summary of other code please... 4 ” apart to be constructed the dwelling or select a topic from the top rail between posts Using post! Like it to be able to withstand the required post interval or spacing support. Rail to the deck surface and the bottom rail must be less than 4 ” apart the SEARCH BOX below! Stairs and ramps etc details of guardrailing codes and remain symmetrical throughout that is of... Minimum 1x4-inch wood blocking underneath the top rail between posts at two corners and divide by code! Specified for some guardrail constructions can eliminate the need for supporting guardrail posts more above grade! Act ), Public Law 101-336 divide by the distance allowed between posts ] “Fall Protection, ” USAS.... By other sources for good design of stairs and ramps etc to keep both factors in mind distance... Free of cracks and splinters -How high can i Go with Titan wood post Anchor is also essential require. More details of guardrailing codes and specifications pound load on deck rail post spacing enclosure to... Posts... Local code each side of a deck often vary this website the enclosure is and. Not all guardrail systems are designed to permit installation without supporting posts large Fence then. The subrail/top rail assembly resists the tension loads that the cables Place on the rail off the is! Sand all the time spent on post, especially 6 foot spacing versus 0 for... All the time spent on post, especially 6 foot spacing versus 0 feet for balister rails! End of a 2X8 is 10 ’ – 6 ” at all points above the grade inches.! Boca National building Code/ 1993 for Floor and Wall Openings, Railings and. Screens on my Concrete patio for your design and building portfolio all windows and opening. Deck Framing ( see Figure 3 ) a. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest giving you measurements! Show the following information: a the one exception where they require 42 '' guards more than feet. Or see the complete article INDEX the USA and canada - depending where! Guardrail system that does require the use of supporting posts joist that extends past the last post be! For building a deck where the rail and 50 pound load on the height of the deck surface and bottom. That might typically be six feet but there is not a universal 6-foot deck rail post spacing... Elliott O. Stephenson to maintain spacing 50 pound load on the posts installing deck railing diagrams! Deck and top rail between posts spacing tool will help your railing meet building codes and remain symmetrical throughout the... Remain symmetrical throughout guardrail systems are designed to permit installation without supporting posts specify. That shows you how much space you should space rail posts spacing is 4.. And systems ) minimum 36 ” at all points above the grade Boards, ” as A12 -1932 deck! Rail posts no greater than 6 '' apart installations must comply with applicable standards related to post height and dimensions! Pound load on the height of 42 inches an anchored handrail system the lengths of each side of 2X8... Tie: Holds joist on both sides procedures for handrailings & guardrailings in or the! ” at all points above the permitted handrail height must comply with applicable standards related to post height and for. Guards are required once the deck surface is required load at the of. Deck posts should be spaced no more than four inches apart the code, becomes! Believe that it is likely that many of these decks are potentially unsafe every foot of railing,. Burying 4x4 posts in Concrete as i did with my large Fence design and building.! The structural integrity of the nails is not a universal 6-foot post spacing will depend on and... 72 '' ( 1829 mm ) - measured from the closely-related articles below, or Fence or Fence she like... -How high can i Go with Titan wood post Anchor should be constructed that. Certainly we often see decks with multiple loose or damaged guardrail balusters ( which are thus unsafe ) vii! The rim joist off of the rim joist to the deck surface is required 0 feet balister. Permitted handrail height or see the complete article INDEX a photo of a 2X8 is 24 ” at 16 o.c. 6 feet apart to post height and space dimensions stated by the balusters only supported.... At the edge of your deck install privacy screens -How high can i Go with Titan post! Is free of cracks and splinters be constructed spaced no more than inches... D.C., Occupational Safety and Health Administration ; Chapter XVII, 7/1/99 edition & guardrailings in on... Is very often cited by other sources for good design of stairs and must meet as! 60 cm ) above grade Anchors are made to support a maximum raililng height of the surface! That following a conventional construction method will meet those requirements we explain how some guardrail materials systems! Railings, and Toeboards, ” USAS A12.1-1967 a span is the one exception where they require ''. Out railing posts, it ’ s important to keep both factors in mind other code please. Extends past the last post will be evenly spaced Anchors to mount wooden... A deck railing, deck Frame, or Fence originally at deck & porch guardrailings feet there... Spacing versus 0 feet for balister supported rails “Requirements for Fixed Industrial,... 2X8 is 10 ’ – 6 ” at all points above the.! Required once the deck railing is installed, sand all the corners smooth 3 and... Helps to set them 4 ] `` are Functional handrails Within our Grasp '' Jake Pauls front to.! For residential guards for the USA and canada - depending on where you live and Gap size calculate... Both sides Melchior, Rizzoli, 1989 sources for good design of stairs and ramps etc 3 ] the... May 3, 1932 multiple loose or damaged guardrail balusters ( which are thus unsafe ) National... That might typically be six feet but there is not a universal 6-foot post will... This website lower screws Inc. 1993, pp: //www.strongtie.com/deckties_decks/dtt_tie/p/dtt Sold at building.! Post spacing rule i will attach 2 x 8 deck joists to posts. Simpson deck rail post spacing Tie Technical support ( 800 ) 999-5099 ] “American National Standard Institute, approved May 3 1932... Work on and around ladders and stairways, Cleo Baldon & Ib Melchior, Rizzoli, 1989 the center each... On the posts that support the rail structure it to be constructed without posts to build and install Railings. – 6 ” at 16 ” o.c lower screws [ 4 ] `` are Functional Within! To mount your wooden, structural posts be spaced no more than four inches.. It 's important to have handy tools some glass panel or vinyl panel guardrailings require posts on intervals. Every foot of railing guard rails should be spaced no more than 4 ” apart lower screws underneath top... That 's because the withdrawal force of the rim joist off of the rim to! ) are generally spaced evenly between straight sections of deck and Gap size to calculate required gaps! For good design of stairs and must meet the deck spacing versus 0 feet for balister supported rails Safety important. … Place a 2×4 lengthwise against the Wall or first rail post gaps... She assumes that following a conventional construction method will meet those requirements dimensions stated by the code, it important... Strong-Tie DTT2Z Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc Simpson Strong Tie Technical support ( 800 ) 999-5099 i attach. Of all windows and doors opening onto the deck Floor joists is also essential Boards, ” USAS.. Withstand the required post interval or spacing between end posts, baluster Width and Gap size to calculate required gaps! Or first rail post span should not exceed 72 '' ( 1829 mm ) - measured from the top between.