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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys.... I need someone in Ontario to explain the issue of handrails on basement staircases.
I've read the Ontario Building Code and don't have the cash to hire a lawyer and have him translate it into English.

Here is the issue (see attached pic) : solid wall on one side, open on the other. The code suggests (I think) that if the width of my stairs is less than 1100 mm (43") in width, then I only need a handrail on one side. My stairs are 30 inches in width, well below the limit.

I guess the questions here are: am I interpreting the code right? If so then I could easily install the handrail on the solid wall and call it a day (which would make my life that much easier which in Ontario is a rarity these days)

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Alex
 

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I am not in Ontario but you are interpreting the code wrong, you will need a rail on the open side as a child could easily fall from that side. You can inexpensively make a rail system which will look good using 2X2s and a heavier piece of lumber for the rail. The 2X2s can be profiled in several different ways to look good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah... that's what I figured. But it's always better to ask just to be sure.
I guess the toughest part would be finding 2x2's that are not warped. :)

Thank you for the suggestion.
 

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I'm in Ontario, but haven't been involved with building a stair or hand-rails.
However, I just finished a deck and the code required a hand rail with ballasters close enough, that a sphere, 4" in diameter cannot pass through. This applies to decks 24" or more above grade.
I doubt that interior requirements would be less stringent than this.
 

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Yeah... that's what I figured. But it's always better to ask just to be sure.
I guess the toughest part would be finding 2x2's that are not warped. :)

Thank you for the suggestion.
My daughter had a deck built and she didn't want the view blocked by the ballasters.
The carpenter installed 1/2" rebar for ballasters. He drilled holes in the top and bottom rails to mount the rebar.
Another option would be to use 1/2" electrical metalic tubing. (EMT)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Wildie... I was at Home Depot yesterday and I almost had the same idea, but use black tubing instead. All I would need is top and bottom rails for the opening and voila!
Unfortunately, when I presented the idea to my wife, she quickly shut it down claiming that it will look like a jail cell.

I really don't give a rats rectum what it looks like. I'm just trying to ready the house for the market so the home inspector won't have anything to complain about. I'll see if I can talk some sense into her... :)

I think jiju1943's would work too but I think 2x2's are too thin for this application. I believe Ontario requires the thickness to be at least 1 3/4" when using softwood and 2x2's are only 1 1/2...

Thanks!
 

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Wildie... I was at Home Depot yesterday and I almost had the same idea, but use black tubing instead. All I would need is top and bottom rails for the opening and voila!
Unfortunately, when I presented the idea to my wife, she quickly shut it down claiming that it will look like a jail cell.

I really don't give a rats rectum what it looks like. I'm just trying to ready the house for the market so the home inspector won't have anything to complain about. I'll see if I can talk some sense into her... :)

I think jiju1943's would work too but I think 2x2's are too thin for this application. I believe Ontario requires the thickness to be at least 1 3/4" when using softwood and 2x2's are only 1 1/2...

Thanks!
Buy your wife an orange jump suit, then the bars would fit right in. :laughing:
 

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Make it right from both an appearance and safety standpoint. That will satisfy yhe home inspectors (they are well drilled on the safety aspects) and the buyer that won't bother with a offer or and inspection in the first place. - Especially in an orage suit.

Dick
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well guys...thank you for all your advice. Here is the finished product.
This doesn't fully adhere to the code as the handrail is supposed to run from the top of the stairs all the way to the bottom but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. At least the opening has been covered up.
 

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I believe you will also need a continuous handrail on the wall----code ---
That does look good, now all you need is a short wall rail on the wall the open rail is on like Mike said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys!
I appreciate the compliments.

My wife hates the idea of the rail on the other side so I'll install one just before the house goes on the market so it adheres to code.

:thumbup:
 
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