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Old 02-10-2011, 07:12 AM   #1
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Hand rail height


I am finishing my basement and will be adding a hand rail to the stairs leading down. What height does the rail need to be off the stairs?
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:34 AM   #2
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Hand rail height


Check your local building code.
but typically 32" - 36" plumbed of the nosing of the tread
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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Hand rail height


We go for 900 of those mm thingies, so that would be 36" in your part of the world

Incidentally, it is higher for handrails on a balcony (1100mm or 431/4 ish), seen too many balconies with big drops with dangerous 36" handrails on DIY jobs!
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:40 AM   #4
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Hand rail height


IBC Section 1012 Handrails

1012.2 Height. Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope shall be uniform, mot less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).

Mezzanine or balcony has to be not less than 42 inches (1067 mm).

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:02 AM   #5
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Hand rail height


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Originally Posted by Jackofall1 View Post
IBC Section 1012 Handrails

1012.2 Height. Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope shall be uniform, mot less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).

Mezzanine or balcony has to be not less than 42 inches (1067 mm).

Mark
Partially correct. However, the IBC is the code that covers commercial and multifamily structures, not usually single family residences. Nearly all jurisdictions that adopt the I-codes adopt the IRC, which is the residential code. The 42" number does not exist in that code....It is 36". Of course a guard that is 42" is taller and would be acceptable, albeit unusual in a home.

Agreed, the top of the handrail's profile should be 34-38" above the plane of the nosings of the treads. There are a hundred ways to incorrectly measure this. Aim for 36" and you'll probably be good.

Here is a link to an EXCELLENT visual resource that shows how stairs and handrails should be measured and how code should be applied. Just select whichever code edition applies in your area. It is a free download.
http://smai.roundtablelive.org/Defau...c0b8db694fa668
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #6
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Hand rail height


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Here is a link to an EXCELLENT visual resource that shows how stairs and handrails should be measured and how code should be applied. Just select whichever code edition applies in your area. It is a free download.
http://smai.roundtablelive.org/Defau...c0b8db694fa668
Thanks for the link, its great! I wish that there was something like that to cover all aspects of a build.

It's interesting to look at the differences, we don't have to return handrails at the end, in the UK.

One to book mark for reference in case of a 'difficult' customer!
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:01 PM   #7
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Hand rail height


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Partially correct. However, the IBC is the code that covers commercial and multifamily structures, not usually single family residences. Nearly all jurisdictions that adopt the I-codes adopt the IRC, which is the residential code. The 42" number does not exist in that code....It is 36". Of course a guard that is 42" is taller and would be acceptable, albeit unusual in a home.
Very true, not only as point of accuracy, but great difference in the asthetics of the rail. I have bumped up to 38" a few times when customers wanted a bit extra height for younger kids and it still looked ok; but a 42" balcony rail in a house is absurred looking IMO.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:53 PM   #8
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Hand rail height


Thanks everyone... 36" sound good to me.. This is a enclosed staircase.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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Hand rail height


http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...011_par017.htm

From me to Norway; http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...2009/index.htm
Cruise around there all day. After each main title, click on the “next section” below the choices for the sub-section in detail…

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