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Old 08-12-2006, 02:22 PM   #1
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handrail ends


I'm replacing a handrail on the wall side in the stairwell to the second floor of my house. I already finished the new one when a neighbor told me the ends must return to the wall. I have rarely seen wall handrails return to the wall even in new houses. My old one didn't return to the wall. Is this a new code or something?? thanks

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Old 08-12-2006, 03:28 PM   #2
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I am curious about this as well. I had built a ramp recently and had heard that that was required as well. I asked my inspector about it and he told me only for comerical sites, although he said in a way where I wasn't quite sure if he was saying it wasn't required or just not being enforced. Anyway I didn't return them to wall and had no problems.

I'm probably just being dumb here (in addition to lazy), but the biggest reason I didn't bother doing it, was I didn't immeadately see how to. Assuming that I have a straigt wood railing that I made do a 90 turn to the wall at the end, how do I affix it to the wall if I'm not lucky to have stud/blocking there? And even if I do, what do I do, just toenail it into the wall? I worry this wouldn't be study enough (although I have see *tons* of handrails that have seems liked they're about the fall off the wall as soon as someone grabs them).

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Old 08-12-2006, 04:14 PM   #3
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I have always returned them into the wall. I don't know if it is a code thing or not, I just did it because it looks better.

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Old 08-12-2006, 06:54 PM   #4
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I'm not sure about the international building code, but here in New England, the MA building code states that there must be returns....
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Old 08-12-2006, 11:41 PM   #5
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The International Residential Code requries all handrails to be returned to the wall.

The reason is so clothing cannot get caught on the end of the handrail and contribute to a fall.

You can see IRC 2003 and IRC 2006 handrail requirements at these sites:

http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2003%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf

http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf

Last edited by manhattan42; 08-12-2006 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:16 AM   #6
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The American residential building code is closely related to the IRC, and your state's code, in like fashion, is closely related to the American code but modified for your state as your state's officials deem important. The American code requires handrails to return to the wall. That doesn't necessarily mean that your state's code specifies that.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
I have always returned them into the wall. I don't know if it is a code thing or not, I just did it because it looks better.

Dave.

I'm with Dave on this one.

And don't worry about blocking for the ends. I'd say; as long as your rail brackets are within 8-12 inches of the ends, this will eliminate any flexibility at that point. Just cut a 45 degree angle on the ends of your rail, temporarily mount the rail to where is sits solid, then measure from the "long point" of the angle to the wall and this will guarantee a tight fit for the end pieces. Add glue to the joint, pre-drill 2-1/8" holes at the correct locations so that the 2-1/2' GRK star tip finish screws will secure the end pieces properly and be long enough to grab. Fill the holes with matching putty.

I find that these type "wall anchors" work well where there is no stud to mount the rail brackets.
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Last edited by CrossWorks; 06-20-2012 at 08:08 PM. Reason: text editing
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
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There are over 100's of homes in my community all with the exact same rail. I am trying to sell and he is making me return my handrail to the wall for NJ code. This is total BS. You are much more likely to break your hand on a return when running down stairs then getting hurt from your clothes getting caught.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:43 AM   #9
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Welcome to the Forum!

who is making you?
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #10
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Sayreville, NJ Code Enforcement.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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Millwork companies also make Rosettes that attach to the wall end of the return then fasten to the wall. The return would be 3/4" shorter than CrossWorks said. They come in round and oval of different sizes.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:51 PM   #13
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handrail ends


here's what the NJ Code says:

R311.7.7.2 Continuity.
Handrails for stairways shall be
continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point
directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly
above the lowest riser of the flight. Handrail ends shall be
returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety termi
nals. Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not
less than 1-1/2 inch (38 mm) between the wall and the
handrails.
Exceptions:
1. Handrails shall be permitted to be interrupted
by a newel post at the turn.
2. The use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or
starting newel shall be allowed over the lowest
tread.


NJ deleted the Administrative section from the 2009 IRC (basis for NJ code) and I do not have access to what their Administrative section states.

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