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Old 03-10-2009, 02:11 AM   #1
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Making a loft area safe


We are purchasing a new home that has a loft area over looking our front living room. It has a three foot railing to prevent people from falling off the edge. The problem we have is that we have 2 kids, one 2 and one 5 who are excellent climbers but who do not have a good sense of danger and we are worried that the will climb on top of the rail and fall off.

I would like to just put up a wall of netting, but my wife thinks this will look awful. So we are searching for ideas about how we can make the railing hard to climb over, but at the same time not make our home look trashy.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-10-2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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Making a loft area safe


How far across? If not too far, a sheet of Plexiglas or Lexan (expensive) is not too noticeable.

In the past, I have run spindles all the way up to the ceiling in cases like this. Looks kind of exotic. You match the balusters with the spindles... style and placement.

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:20 AM   #3
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Making a loft area safe


The net might not work anyway. It's easy for a 2 year old to climb to the top of a net.

I had a similar problem, but it was an 8ft. long railing that ran along the top of a stairway. We wanted to keep the railing that was there because it made the living room feel bigger. In the end we had to build a half-wall there. We hated doing that, but nothing else we thought of would have been 99% kid-proof. I say 99% because NOTHING is 100% kid-proof, LOL.

Is there a reason you can't put a gate at the bottom of the stairway to keep the little pumpkins from going up to the balcony? Are their bedrooms up there?
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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Making a loft area safe


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Is there a reason you can't put a gate at the bottom of the stairway to keep the little pumpkins from going up to the balcony? Are their bedrooms up there?
We cannot put a gate at the bottom of the stairs because their rooms are in the upstairs area and my two year could just as easily climb the gate as she could climb the railing.

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How far across? If not too far, a sheet of Plexiglas or Lexan (expensive) is not too noticeable.

In the past, I have run spindles all the way up to the ceiling in cases like this. Looks kind of exotic. You match the balusters with the spindles... style and placement.
The railing is about 20 feet long. I have thought of using plexiglass but I am not sure how I would attach it unless I ran it all the way up to the ceiling (about 8 feet and that might get kind of expensive. When you say uses spindles, do you mean put them on top of the existing banister? Or replace the railing itself with spindles that go from floor to roof? You don't happen to have any pictures do you?

Thanks all for the ideas
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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Making a loft area safe


You would drill holes in the plexiglass and tie it around the railing along the length. With multiple pieces you would tie them together.
48" high should do the job until they learn that climbing on the railing is not allowed.
You'll still have an issue where the railing starts downstairs.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:33 PM   #6
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Making a loft area safe


For what it's worth...

Here in my town guardrails have to be 42" so yours comes up a bit low.

Lot's of local codes do not permit anything horizontal like steel cables or netting that could be used like a ladder.

My loft has a 10' mezzanine and I don't have a rail, just solid drywall up to 42" (pretty darn kid proof)

You must talk to the kids. To me it's like crossing the street.

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Old 03-10-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
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Making a loft area safe


Perhaps 'bead-board' could be installed against the spindles to prevent a toe-hold! This could installed temporarily, until they are older and know better, not to climb!
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:33 PM   #8
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Making a loft area safe


It doesn't look right to add spindles to the top of a handrail. I removed the handrails, replaced them with 1 x material (flat ways), and put a row of spindles (same length as the original), another 1 x, and finished it off with a third row of spindles to the ceiling, capped with a 1 x on the ceiling.

You could run a wall frame of 1 x's, but it looks good either with it or without.... though fastening to the wall is easier WITH a frame.

The only tricky part is that top row of spindles. It's done by drilling center holes in the spindles, using very short dowels and glue, and easing it all together from a cocked-out position about 6 or 8 inches from vertical. Definitely a two or three man job, that part.

This is the idea. I made the spindles real simple and extra big so you could see what everything does. The ceiling is also left open to see down through.
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Last edited by Willie T; 03-10-2009 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:13 PM   #9
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Making a loft area safe


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
Perhaps 'bead-board' could be installed against the spindles to prevent a toe-hold! This could installed temporarily, until they are older and know better, not to climb!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandyPete View Post
My loft has a 10' mezzanine and I don't have a rail, just solid drywall up to 42" (pretty darn kid proof)

You must talk to the kids. To me it's like crossing the street.

_pete
Unfortunately, if my kids can get their hands on top of it, they can walk their feet up on the vertical surface (they are very proficient climbers). And I agree that I must talk to the kids, but although the are good kids, they don't always listen. Willie T, I like your idea, though I don't know if I have the money to do that right now.

I have been thinking about it, and what I think I am going to do is get some rigid coated mesh and make something like this:

_ /
/ \ / <- rigid mesh
\ / /
||/
||
||<-baluster
||
||
||
||
||
||
||
------------------------------------
Note: I can't seem to preserve the format of my diagram, the mesh should be a line going up at a 45 degree angle

The mesh would be supported by some kind of bracket every 3rd or 4th baluster. It would prevent the kids from being able to grab the top of the rail and if they tried to grad the mesh it would uncomfortable for their hands and it would be overhanging so it would be much more difficult for them to pull themselves up.

Does anyone know what that rigid mesh stuff is called? It the stuff that they have in a lot indoor playgrounds at places like McDonald's. It is a stiff grid like material.

Last edited by kdavies; 03-13-2009 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:46 PM   #10
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Making a loft area safe


Got watcha need right here.

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Old 03-13-2009, 09:02 PM   #11
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Making a loft area safe


Quote:
Originally Posted by kdavies View Post
Unfortunately, if my kids can get their hands on top of it, they can walk their feet up on the vertical surface (they are very proficient climbers). And I agree that I must talk to the kids, but although the are good kids, they don't always listen. Willie T, I like your idea, though I don't know if I have the money to do that right now.

I have been thinking about it, and what I think I am going to do is get some rigid coated mesh and make something like this:

_ /
/ \ / <- rigid mesh
\ / /
||/
||
||<-baluster
||
||
||
||
||
||
||
------------------------------------
Note: I can't seem to preserve the format of my diagram, the mesh should be a line going up at a 45 degree angle

The mesh would be supported by some kind of bracket every 3rd or 4th baluster. It would prevent the kids from being able to grab the top of the rail and if they tried to grad the mesh it would uncomfortable for their hands and it would be overhanging so it would be much more difficult for them to pull themselves up.

Does anyone know what that rigid mesh stuff is called? It the stuff that they have in a lot indoor playgrounds at places like McDonald's. It is a stiff grid like material.
I think that what you want is called expanded metal sheeting. Its used for various things such as fire escapes, industrial stairs etc.

You could consider one of these wire kennels for dogs, and lock the kids in there!
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:24 AM   #12
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Making a loft area safe


I was a climber when I was kid too, parents never could find a way to stop me but thankfully I never fell. Except this one time in the woods...

Anyway, I suggest looking at this from the perspective of a climber. For instance, one of my hobbies is rock climbing (big surprise ) and the first time I saw a wall with an overhang or roof I said to myself "how the hell do I climb that?!"
Why not add an overhang to your railing in order to cap off the climb? It would have to be sufficiently deep so your little ones can't use their feet too much. If done tastefully it should have minimal aesthetic impact. If the older one is tall enough to get a good grip that high then you might want to consider angling the overhang to add some height similar to what they do with barbwire fences (I'm assuming barb wire isn't an option ).

Good luck!

[EDIT] K, I think I missed your last post lol. Seems you've got a similar idea [/EDIT]

Last edited by rorschach; 07-03-2009 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 07-03-2009, 07:24 AM   #13
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Making a loft area safe


We've been asked to do this a time or two. The only good temp solution is Plexiglas.

As mentioned, get 4X4 or 4X8 sheets, drill some holes through it and use coated electrical wire to fasten (twisted) to the hand rail and bottom of the spindles. Twist the wire on the back side so nobody gets snagged walking by.

3 sheets of 4X8, 1/8" thick works. Just overlap them instead of butting them together and drill through the overlap to wire them.

It looks as good as anything you might build, is temporary and most importantly you’re not changing the visual that exists now. And it's fast; you'll be done in an hour.

Expensive, yes, but cheap when it comes to your peace of mind.

We had one family that painted a design on it with semi-transparent paint before we put it up. Looked pretty good actually.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:02 AM   #14
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Making a loft area safe


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You must talk to the kids. To me it's like crossing the street.
Ayuh,... Discipline is the Answer... Followed by a swat on the butt when advice is Not adhered too...
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Old 07-04-2009, 10:59 PM   #15
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Ayuh,... Discipline is the Answer... Followed by a swat on the butt when advice is Not adhered too...
LOL spanking rarely worked on me. After sleeping it off I was right back at it again

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