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Deck Rail Balusters


Ponyboy
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Hi,

As far as I know, there is no prohibition against horizontal rails. The only restriction is that a 4-inch sphere shall not fit between sections and a 6-inch sphere shall not fit between the step and the underside of the stair rail. Oh yea, also the graspable handrail.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Since we HIs have to write about balusters frequently, I feel a need to point out that it's "balusters," not "balisters."

'Cause I know folks at TIJ like to do things right...

WJ

PS: I can't tell from the pic, but it looks like there's no landing at the bottom of the stair. Last time I checked, such a stair had to have at least a 3X3 landing at ground level.

"I've got balisters on me fingers..." -- Ringo Starr

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This same question arose not long ago. I learned in a CABO class many years back that balustrades couldn't be climbable, but apparently it was dropped from, or never existed within, the IRC.

How'z about a grey area question? RE the lowermost baluster in the left side of the photo. Should it be 4" or 6" above the deck's floor? Does the 4" thing only refer to spacing between balusters, and does the 6" thing only apply to stairs?

The obvious--and safest--answer, of course, is that the lower baluster should be 4" above the floor, but it's a little unclear when you're thinking horizontally.

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Hi,

Well, to be technically correct, I think that we should be referring to horizontal railing sections as "rails." Balusters are supposed to be vertical members that are components of a balustrade and a balustrade is a handrail component that's used around elevated porches or patios. Elements of a balustrade can be vertical posts (stiles), vertical balusters, rails, handrails, and cap rails.

I think the 6-inch gap criteria is only applied to diagonal members above stairways and does not apply to the openings in the balustrade above the surface of the deck; those should be no more than 4-inches.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it unless someone convinces me otherwise (which is sometimes pretty easy to do).

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

The gap between that stairway and the lower rail of the stair rail looks to me like it's over 6-inches.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi,

Well, to be technically correct, I think that we should be referring to horizontal railing sections as "rails." Balusters are supposed to be vertical members that are components of a balustrade and a balustrade is a handrail component that's used around elevated porches or patios. Elements of a balustrade can be vertical posts (stiles), vertical balusters, rails, handrails, and cap rails.

I think the 6-inch gap criteria is only applied to diagonal members above stairways and does not apply to the openings in the balustrade above the surface of the deck; those should be no more than 4-inches.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it unless someone convinces me otherwise (which is sometimes pretty easy to do).

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

The gap between that stairway and the lower rail of the stair rail looks to me like it's over 6-inches.

Agweed. And while we're at it, I'm pretty sure the code uses the terms "Guardrails," and "rails."

The term "baluster" never made the cut.

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Originally posted by Ponyboy

I have looked through the code and can't find any statements saying horizontal rail are not allowed. The barrier requirement for pools states it can't be climbable. Besides the spacing issue, is this rail ok?

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The IRC 2000 didn't allow it.

R316.2 Guard opening limitations.

Required guards on open sides of stairways, raised floor areas, balconies and porches shall have intermediate rails or ornamental closures that do not allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter. Required guards shall not be constructed with horizontal rails or other ornamental pattern that results in a ladder effect.

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Originally posted by Mike Lamb

The IRC 2000 didn't allow it.

R316.2 Guard opening limitations.

Required guards on open sides of stairways, raised floor areas, balconies and porches shall have intermediate rails or ornamental closures that do not allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter. Required guards shall not be constructed with horizontal rails or other ornamental pattern that results in a ladder effect.

I was waiting for someone to post that out of the IRC. I use a simple rule; if it can be easily climbed it is wrong.

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Originally posted by sepefrio

Originally posted by Brandon Chew

I can't imagine those rope or wire guards holding back a crawling infant or a curious toddler. Young kids love to climb stuff.

R316.2 (IRC-2000)

...Required guards shall not be constructed with horizontal rails or other ornamental pattern that results in a ladder effect.

This sentence was removed from the 2003 and 2006 IRC; therefore the current code provides no restriction on the climb-ability of guards.

Another interesting note from class. Guard rails may soon be required above seats, planters or any other ornamental item. So that's 36" (or 42" depending on the dwelling) above the item, not from the deck boards. So if there is a bench seat along the rail that is say, 24" high, the rail would then need to be 60" from the deck boards. I myself think that is going overboard, but......

This is from a recent thread. Is it incorrect?

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