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Old 07-23-2015, 09:47 AM   #1
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Railing Design OK???


So I'm going to install some railings for the first time (in Ontario) and I think I've done my homework. Just want to know if there is something wrong with what I've designed before I go ahead and order my materials. I think my biggest concern is whether I need additional posts mid-span on any of the railings. I don't want them (asthetically), but I don't know if they are required (by code) or if they are desired (structurally). Any suggestions and/or advice is welcome (be gentle though!).

My pictures don't show the wall that the stairs run against for clarity. One picture omits the knee wall on the 3rd floor also.

Here are some measurements:

Lower Railing
Height = 36" (front edge of tread to top of railing)
Length = 11' 6"

Middle Railing
Height = 38"
Length = 9'

Upper Railing
Height = 32"
Length = 13'

All spindles are spaced 4" on center, each is 5/8" diameter.

Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:04 AM   #2
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Railing Design OK???


I'd contact the Code officer in your area to confirm the design.

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Old 07-23-2015, 10:28 AM   #3
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Railing Design OK???


While the 5/8" spindles @ 4"oc would be aesthetically pleasing they are pretty wimpy for the length of run.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:01 PM   #4
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Railing Design OK???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patless View Post
Upper Railing
Height = 32"
That won't work. Have you thought about grab rails?

This is the visual interpretation of 09 IRC stair code. http://www.spokanecounty.org/data/bu..._resstairs.pdf

As mentioned, check locally and find out which codes your area has adopted.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:51 PM   #5
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Railing Design OK???


Ron, that's definitely my next step. Thought I'd run the design past some helpful people first though.


Mako: I take your meaning. Would it be sufficient to anchor the two sloped railings to the ceiling structure roughly midspan, and the horizontal railing to the stringer that it passes?


kwikfishron: You lost me at "hand rails". I'm not sure what you mean, or is it simply about their height? As I read the Ontario code, height can range from 32" to 38" as opposed to the code you sent me (very helpful, btw, with illustrations) which specifies 34 to 38.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:55 PM   #6
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Railing Design OK???


Why would you opt to anchor to the ceiling other than add a post?I don't believe code would allow you to interrupt the railing in that manner.It would just be odd anways.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:12 PM   #7
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Railing Design OK???


The thought was that this would avoid the need for additional posts, which for me, simplifies the overall look, although the feedback so far has largely convinced me that another post will be necessary for each run.

I take your point about interrupting the railings. I had forgotten about that concern.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:58 PM   #8
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Railing Design OK???


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
That won't work. Have you thought about grab rails?

This is the visual interpretation of 09 IRC stair code. http://www.spokanecounty.org/data/bu..._resstairs.pdf

As mentioned, check locally and find out which codes your area has adopted.

What pile the "grab rails" attach to??? Ron
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:54 PM   #9
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Railing Design OK???


There's a difference between 'guard rails' and 'hand rails'. If you are under IRC, you can't just use 2X4's for handrails. Guard rails, yes, but not hand rails. A stair has to have something to hold on to as you go up or down. I would make them all the same height- I would think it would be more comfortable and possibly safer, as your hand would want to go to the same height for each stairway.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:18 PM   #10
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Railing Design OK???


Lord knows how my iPad changed the word "would" to "pile" but it did . Sorry. Ron
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:43 AM   #11
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Railing Design OK???


I go by NJ, USA rule, but I imagine the rules are similar because safety is about universal. Having said that, you should research your rules locally and more in depth. My memory is that hand rail should be small enough so a hand can grasp all around it. I think it is about 2" round. So a rounded edge of a 2x4 or bigger is not a hand rail, for example. The rail also should be continuous so a person with the hand on the rail does not have to remove the hand to go around the rail. This is what I remember about single family house.
This is, however, technicality and the inspector may pass you with some violations because no reasonable person expects you or me to protect everybody in every conceiveable situation. Not that it is a base for legal argument.
For 13' span, you may have to use double 2x4 or 6 on edge, then attach the rail with brackets to this frame. Even if the span is cut in half with a mid post, I would use biggest oak rail you can buy.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:59 PM   #12
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Railing Design OK???


Thanks Mushcreek and carpdad - I hadn't appreciated the difference between the terms "hand" and "guard" rail. I guess I'll have to clear the shape with my inspector before beginning. I had found the design here:


The different height was not ideal, but it looks like I can't get around it without having the connections at the posts on the second floor vastly different in height, which would be poor asthetically. Since I can't play with the placement of the posts, all I had was the height of the 2 railings.

It's my first time! So, thanks again to everyone. I am very much a person who works iteratively. I've thrown a plan out there which was the best I could do. I will take all suggestions, learn from them and make an updated plan and then repeat if necessary. I could not do this without the input from people who are happy to share their knowledge.
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Last edited by Patless; 07-25-2015 at 08:01 PM.
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