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Old 12-19-2009, 08:36 PM   #1
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Rail Rake Height...


I followed the "instructions" on http://www.colonialelegance.com/pdf/..._rampe_ang.pdf
when purchasing my balusters. Like the sheet says "one short baluster for the front of the tread...and one long for the back"...so 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

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Old 12-20-2009, 05:51 AM   #2
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Rail Rake Height...


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.

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Old 12-20-2009, 07:57 AM   #3
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Rail Rake Height...


Just Bill....it 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?
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:18 AM   #4
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Rail Rake Height...


whats the height of the vertical cut thru the handrail itself
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:29 AM   #5
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Rail Rake Height...


1-3/8" at 90 degrees where the baluster meets the groove in the underside of the rail...to the top of the rail profile. M
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:01 AM   #6
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Rail Rake Height...


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?
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:25 PM   #7
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Rail Rake Height...


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.

Last edited by Melanie337; 12-21-2009 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Forgot Something
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:41 PM   #8
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Rail Rake Height...


See my drawing
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #9
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Rail Rake Height...


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?

Last edited by tpolk; 12-21-2009 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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Rail Rake Height...


have you talked to the people you purchased this from and asked them what were they thinking?
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #11
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Rail Rake Height...


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).

Last edited by Melanie337; 12-21-2009 at 02:34 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:50 PM   #12
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Rail Rake Height...


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
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:49 AM   #13
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Rail Rake Height...


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.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:54 AM   #14
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Rail Rake Height...


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
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:23 AM   #15
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Rail Rake Height...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
(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.

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Last edited by 47_47; 12-22-2009 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Added
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