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DangerMouse 07-31-2008 12:11 PM

Outside Baluster Spacing
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hi everyone! i know the spacing indoors is 4" for rails but what about outside? same thing? 4" sphere should not pass between? jarrah and ipey construction. stair facings cut but not up yet. see pic. =o) tnkx!


Termite 07-31-2008 01:14 PM

Per the IRC, the max opening prevents passage of a 4" sphere. This only applies to guardrails where the landing to landing measurement (or potential fall) is 30" or more.

buletbob 07-31-2008 10:53 PM

wow!:eek: Yes thekctermite is correct:yes:

Termite 08-01-2008 10:53 AM

FYI before you go too far...
I don't know that your inspector will make an issue of it, but your handrails/guardrails are incorrect. The handrail (the grippable handrail, not the guard) is required to project to a point over the lowest tread. They can terminate at a newel post set on the first tread. Your handrail projects only to the second tread.

Guardrail protection is required at each side of the stair top to bottom, as well as on the deck...Provided the deck is 30" or taller.

DangerMouse 08-01-2008 11:05 AM

the slanting handrails (half round with slots) will extend about 10" beyond the last support. those are slats for mounting the handrails TO. (they have a groove for that) then there are no nails or screw holes seen! =o) i will use construction adhesive and screw from below to mount all the pieces.


DangerMouse 08-01-2008 11:11 AM

oops.... make that 15" from last baluster... close to the edge of the last tread looking straight down. (1, maybe 2 inches from


DangerMouse 08-01-2008 12:45 PM

you think the overhang will be enough to pass ok? my old house had the bottom step large baluster end and i was always banging my knees on it. i had hoped to avoid this with this home. tnkx!


DangerMouse 08-01-2008 04:54 PM

anyone? i can still add a last baluster if i need to.....



Termite 08-01-2008 05:31 PM

Now I see what you're doing. So, the handrail isn't installed yet, and will mount atop the ballustrade channel piece.

Yes, if the handrail extends down you'll be ok. Remember that you can't just "stop" the handrail. You have to have a return to a newel post or have something at the end of the rail to stop your hand or indicate that you're at the end of the rail (top and bottom)...I'm assuming you're installing a newel post at the bottom to stiffen the rail? That rail has to resist a 200lb lateral load pushing against it.

You're required to provide guardrail protection on both sides of the stair, top to bottom, if it is over 30" tall...Which it appears to be. Your current installation of the ballustrade track doesn't go far enough down. It should go to the first tread. Whether or not the inspector will concern himself with that is anyones guess. I'd probably leave it alone but some inspectors would not. Your best bet is to add a balluster or two.

Remember if it wiggles it is too loose. I think it will need a newel.

Termite 08-01-2008 05:33 PM

This link has a download that clearly illustrates stair code. The download is on the right hand side of the screen. Very, very good resource for you on this problem.

Nice looking wood by the way.

DangerMouse 08-01-2008 05:49 PM

you mean i need a finial or something where it angles on the landing part? that'd be ugly.... newel post, yeah, that's the word i couldn't remember.... and the dam thing i kept banging my knees on... and i GOTTA have an end post then? i thought the bottom step would be ok cause it's below 30"?

tnkx! DM

Termite 08-01-2008 05:52 PM

Check that link I posted.

The 30" measurement is from landing to landing (vertically), and does not apply to individual treads.

You don't HAVE to have a newel, but getting enough stiffness in the rail from the ballusters alone won't be achievable...Usually.

DangerMouse 08-01-2008 05:53 PM

ok, i understand the physics of it now... kid's running... tugging the rails, etc. yeah, yeah... i'll make it the right way.... *sigh*
i never do nuttin' right...... lol


Termite 08-01-2008 05:55 PM

Sorry to be a funsucker. Just think of all the work you're saving, since you won't have to re-do the whole thing. :wink:

All I can do is tell you what the code says, but predicting what code issues the inspector will take issue with and what he won't is anyones guess! The best advice is to meet code and then you're always safe!

DangerMouse 08-01-2008 05:57 PM

it IS well built and quite strong with the nut/bolt system i'm using, and this wood is awesomely tuff, but the bottom newel is a necessity i think.... what about the top angle of handrail? i do not want to bang my hand on anything on the way down or up... this makes no sense.
the bottom i get.....


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