Building Code Guidelines for Deck Rails

Decks can be a great way to enjoy the fresh air and host a variety of friend and family get-togethers in the warmer months. If you are looking into adding a deck to your home, there are various building code guidelines that you will need to follow. Though every area has its own set of local guidelines, below are common building guidelines for deck rails, heights, guards, and stairs.

Deck Rails: Deck rails are extremely important and necessary for any deck. Even if your deck is low enough not to require guards, some form of barrier between your deck and the ground below can help prevent lost belongings, trips, and slips. For stairs, railings are expected to be between 34 inches, and 38 inches high and deck railings have a minimum requirement of 36 inches above deck level.

Heights: When building a deck that will require guards, the minimum height requirement is that it is 30 inches above grade, meaning 30 inches above ground level. You can still add guards on decks lower than this minimum, the guardrail height and baluster spacing is entirely up to you. However, no matter the height of your deck, any installed guards must be strong enough to support leaning guests.

Guards: Guards, or deck rails, are what prevent you and your family from falling off over the edge of the deck. Balusters, which are the individual shafts that support the handrails of your guards, are required by building codes. The support they provide help ensure that these railings can remain sturdy throughout daily use and weather conditions.

Stairs: Along with protective deck rails, stairs are a necessary feature of any deck so you can quickly escape from that level in the event of an emergency. The tread of these stairs, where you place your feet, is required to be at least 10 inches high and the distance between each stair must be no more than 7.25 inches tall.

Union Metalworks sells beautiful metal balusters to homeowners, hotels, restaurants, contractors, and more to help improve the appearance of a home or business’s deck. All of our metal deck rails are built to last and withstand a variety of conditions. Visit our online store today to order.