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Old 05-20-2020, 12:20 PM   #1
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Horizontal railing balusters?


I'm putting in railing for steps leading up to the second story of our garage. It's partially finished, so not too worried about looks, just getting it done so it's safe to go up and done while we work on fixing it up. I saw on TV/online some examples of using horizontal wood, which I think would make sense since it would go up quickly. Most of what I've found when Googling is nicer stuff, with either thin wood or metal/cable. Something like this is more what I was thinking: https://pin.it/c5RD3z7

Would this use 2x material? I know my deck balusters are 2x2. Three 2x6s would cover most of the space, with a handrail on top. For some reason those seem to thick but would probably work.

I also have some left over deck boards, which should be about 1.25" thick and 16' long, but wasn't sure if those are strong enough. From the top floor to the landing is probably about 8-10 steps, so I was thinking a post at the top, bottom, and one in the middle. Is there any way to figure out how long a horizontal baluster could be in between posts? Didn't know if there was any code for this.

Thanks so much!
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:29 PM   #2
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


Generally horizontal balusters are against code because kids can climb them and go over the top of the handrail.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


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Originally Posted by daveb1 View Post
Generally horizontal balusters are against code because kids can climb them and go over the top of the handrail.

Ah, didn't even think of that. I had closed off one room in the garage with some boards across the bottom half. And basically built a ladder for my son to climb. Maybe I'll just go with 2x2 balusters like my deck. That's probably the cheapest option?
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


Probably the best looking to keep everything the same. The 2x2's really stiffen up the staircase.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:11 PM   #5
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


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Probably the best looking to keep everything the same. The 2x2's really stiffen up the staircase.
Good point. Also, just realized that the stairs are carpeted--might pull that or might leave for now--and the treads extend past the stringer. Was going to just install the balusters like on the deck on the outside of the stringer, but realized that won't work. Is there an easy way to install balusters quickly this way? I do have access to underneath the treads if screwing from the bottom works, and I can pull back the carpet if needed.

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:30 PM   #6
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


Some codes say that a railing cannot resemble a ladder.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:16 PM   #7
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


Have you considered vertical 2x4 balusters? Easy and cheap to build. Space the balusters so that a 4" ball can't pass through the gap. Cap it with a preformed railing, and you're done.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:14 PM   #8
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Re: Horizontal railing balusters?


The photo finish looks pretty good. Goes to show that balusters don't have to look certain sizes. Only thing about that stairs would be I would put separate hand rail so it's continuous all the way. Hand rail also can't be wider or thicker than 2" or so for average hand AND thumb to grasp.
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