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Old 05-03-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
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Stair rail help


Hi all - I'm hoping you could offer some advice on a situation.

Background - The house I'm in the process of selling has a stairway to the basement that's a little more open that it should be. See attached picture. My municipal inspector never said anything about the stairway when going through the house for my pre-sale inspection. I have an offer on the property. The buyer is going for FHA financing which I hear can cause issues, so they are trying to get me to build a railing as part of the home inspection findings.

Anyway, I need to build a stair railing to infill this opening. Because the bottom of the stair is very cramped, my thought was to terminate my railing at a newel post where the drywall knee wall ends on the right. Leaving the last two treads exposed would make life a lot easier for moving furniture, etc. Would I have a potential code issue if I stopped the railing at the end of the knee wall short of the last two treads?

Also, is 36" to top of rail from end of tread the correct height? It's been a few years since I had to build a railing.
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Stair rail help-basement-stair.jpg  

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Old 05-03-2011, 04:55 PM   #2
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Stair rail help


The railing will need to go down to the last tread.
The newel post would be attached to the side of the bottom step.
Rail codes around here are from 36"-42" high. The baluster gaps have to be less then 4".
There are "landing size" codes. I think the minimum is 36" at the stair bottom. Your spacing might be grandfathered in. I'd check before building the railing.
In one house I did, the railing had to be removeable to get furniture up and down the stairs. It was an interesting problem.
Ron

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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Stair rail help


The 2009 IRC code now allows for newels to be up to 30" from finished floor height. Check to see if your area is using the latest codes.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:04 AM   #4
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Stair rail help


Thanks for the information. I'll give the local inspector a call and see which code they are currently under.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:39 AM   #5
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Stair rail help


Aside from FHA and what they want, do the new owners want a permanent newel post and railing there? I understand you need it for their financing yet might a temporary solution be preferable to the buyers for the reasons you give (such as moving furniture)? Hate to spend the time and money on something that is going to get ripped back out!
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