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Deck Railing Code Requirements

Deck Railing Code Requirements

There are certain deck railing codes put forth as building codes, that need to be adhered to, for the sake of safety. Look into these, before implementing your plan of action.
Gardenerdy Staff
Once the building of your deck platform is complete, you have to pay attention to the deck railing construction. The construction of the railing has to adhere to specific deck railing code requirements. The International Code Council (ICC) is a committee that specifies national building codes. They are a set of building codes that have to be adhered to when building deck rails. These codes are extremely beneficial for the individual who has planned to have a deck railing and also to the builder as they provide guidelines to achieve optimum security. The ICC covers requirements for building handrails and guardrails as well. The first area focuses on the height of the railing and deciding in accordance to the height, if at all, the hand rail is required. It also looks into the material that is used in making the deck railings. The next area that is meant to be followed is the amount of load that the deck rail can meet.

Deck Railing Code for Residential Buildings

These are the codes of conduct that need to be kept in mind while building deck railings.
  • The code states that if the deck platform is more than 12 inches off from the ground level, it is a must to have deck rails that are at least 36 inches above the ground level of the platform. With this arrangement, the deck railing code maintains safety and prevents mishaps from occurring.
  • The vertical railings must not be spaced too far away from each other. This a rule made in order to ensure the safety of children ducking their head in the railing spaces.
  • The guardrails must be strong enough to take on load from anywhere around the surface of the top rail; the force being not more than 200 pounds. The deck rail post is attached with bolts in order to have the posts affixed on the deck's rail post.
  • Make sure that the grab rail on the stairway must culminate at the top and the bottom posts respectively.
  • Graspable handrails are required in order to alleviate the safety levels of the deck railing. These graspable handrails are made of heavy gauge aluminum and PVC. The railings may add a touch of refinement as well as adhere to the deck railing code requirement. To complement your personal tastes and pamper your home decor, there are shades that you can choose from. Tan, brown and white are the shades that can go well with your preference.
  • An appropriate hand rail should have a circular cross-section ranging between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. It is also important to check the space that the handrail provides. There should be 1 to 1½ inch space between the wall and the handrail.
  • Check with your local building code or consult the builder to make sure that the contractors, who has been assigned with the job of installation, attach a secondary handrail if and when required, in order to adhere to the code of law. It is mandatory that you consult the authorities for the installation of the deck rail as you are required to produce a deck rail permit for the same. Also check with the manufacturer's instructions before undertaking the project.
  • There are lateral brackets that are available and can be fixed on the insides of the rail post of the deck outline frame. The bracket has an important role to play. The brackets are equipped to make the frame sustain the load and thereby increase the load containing capacity up to 1000 to 1500 percent rather than installing a regular non bracket railing for the deck constructed.
  • The International Residential Code (IRC) suggests that the material that is employed in order to construct the deck should be standardized in nature. Materials such as wood and different types of metals can be used; the condition stating that the material with its significant physical qualities and features is suitable to sustain the load on the railing. However, when we are talking about materials such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) and composite materials, the evaluation is based on parallel parameters of suitability. These materials are alternative materials that can be used for the purpose of construction of deck railing.
Pay heed to these railing codes as they are meant to caution you, and prevent unpleasant accidents.