DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Carpentry (
-   -   Rail Rake Height... (

Melanie337 12-19-2009 08:36 PM

Rail Rake Height...
I followed the "instructions" on
when purchasing my balusters. Like the sheet says "one short baluster for the front of the tread...and one long for the back" that's what I bought. The short ones are 31.25" plus the dowel end and the long ones are 35.25" plus the dowel. Now that I am "dry fitting" things, it looks like this will only give me a height of about 30.75" to the top of the rail at the nose of the tread. Code in my area is 32" minimum. Am I missing something here...I can't see any way to get 32" out of this unless it sit the front baluster at the very front of the tread...and that would look like s***. Any suggestions? Why does the manufacturer recommend a 32 and a 36? Thanks! M

Just Bill 12-20-2009 05:51 AM

Are you changing balusters on an existing rail, or all new?? Not all rails will have the same pitch especially in older houses(IRC R311.5.6 34-38" measured vertically from the nosing), you needed to measure where each baluster will be located vertically. Nothing larger than 4" can pass between balusters. Keep that in mind when placing them.

Doing stair rails/balusters is probably one of the most challenging trim jobs there is. There is very little room for error, everything has to be exact. Once the newels are set establishing the correct rail height, measure for each type baluster, then order what you need. That easy guide is only a guide, and in your case, seems wrong.

Melanie337 12-20-2009 07:57 AM

Just is a stairway to a new 2nd floor. The spacing works out fine, but the lengths are too short. Guess it's back to the store. Anyone wanna buy 12 maple balusters....32" with 3 coats of Varathane? :(

tpolk 12-20-2009 09:18 AM

whats the height of the vertical cut thru the handrail itself

Melanie337 12-21-2009 09:29 AM

1-3/8" at 90 degrees where the baluster meets the groove in the underside of the the top of the rail profile. M

tpolk 12-21-2009 10:01 AM

maybe my math is wrong but if your baluster is 31-1/4" plus the vertical cut thru the rail of 1-3/8" = 32-5/8". The fall across the nosing should be right at 32" Am I missing something here?

Melanie337 12-21-2009 12:25 PM

Hi again tpolk...If we put the baluster almost right out to the nose, then "yes" it is high enough...otherwise no. Angle is 38 degrees. Balluster should be back 1.5 to 2 inches to look "normal". Maybe I'm missing something (quite possible). Thanks!! M

Remember too, that the part of the baluster that is 31.25" is the high end of the slope cut on top of it, so that sets this length back another 1.25" from the nose.

Melanie337 12-21-2009 12:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
See my drawing

tpolk 12-21-2009 01:27 PM

so the short side of the short balluster measures what. Are there fillets between the ballusters in a channel in the bottom of the rail? also your 32 is measured at the front of the nosing not at your balluster, with your drawing whats your height at the front edge of the nosing?

tpolk 12-21-2009 01:52 PM

have you talked to the people you purchased this from and asked them what were they thinking?

Melanie337 12-21-2009 02:32 PM

The manufacturer had no sympathy. May try calling the retailer.
Oh, and the measurement shown IS at the nose of the tread...straight up to the top of the rail (note where the top dimension line makes contact).

tpolk 12-21-2009 02:50 PM

I would probably draw it out on a piece of paper actual size and if there is a rabbited space in the bottom of the hand rail i would pull the short edge even with the riser and see if a filler is possilble to elevate the rail. If the retailer wont help and the rail needs to be inspected sometimes you can ask for a variance from the inspections dept

47_47 12-22-2009 06:49 AM

1 Attachment(s)
When I did mine, I put the face of the baluster even with the face of the riser and spaced out from there. My run was 10" (needed a variance) and I used 1/2" square wrought iron, so I needed three per tread.

Melanie337 12-22-2009 07:54 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Is the description in this thing I found correct? Where actually does the tape measure get placed at the bottom? center of tread at nose, top of tread on flat closest to nose...i'm confused

47_47 12-22-2009 08:23 AM


Originally Posted by Just Bill (Post 369591)
(IRC R311.5.6 34-38" measured vertically from the nosing), you needed to measure where each baluster will be located vertically. Nothing larger than 4" can pass between balusters. Keep that in mind when placing them.

As Just Bill stated IRC height is between 34" and 38" measured vertically between the nose of the tread and the top of the handrail. Also do not forget about the 4" sphere rule.

Make yourself a pitch block to drill the holes into the rail.

Added: Make a call to your inspector and see what he will allow. Stairs are a lot of work and you do not want to have to redo them.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:34 AM.

User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2016 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1