deck railings

Codes for Deck Railings

A deck with no railings is like inviting an accident to happen. Every state regulates certain qualifications for construction to ensure safety. But apart from the local restrictions, IRC and IBC have set stricter codes for residential, commercial, and business buildings.

International Residential Code (IRC) regulates codes for decks attached to homes and residences while the International Building Code (IBC) implements standard building codes for decks attached to apartment buildings and commercial establishments.

If you are planning on a deck project, it is best to be familiar with deck railings codes to ensure they meet community building standards. This way, you are sure of getting that much-needed permit to get the project started.


What is the Standard Deck Railing Height?

Homes with attached decks that are 30 inches from the surface must have guardrails of at least 36 inches high will while commercial establishments like apartments, condominiums, or bars need to be at least 46 inches high.

The same height standards apply to deck stairs. Expert deck inspectors measure the height from the nose of the stair tread to the top of the rail. Handrails must have a minimum diameter of 1 ¼ inch and a maximum of 2 inches. Guardrails must also be well-built to sustain 200 lbs. force in the middle, side, and top of the post.


Do Lower Decks need Railings?

In some cases, railings are not required for decks below 30 inches. However, if you opt to install guardrails, you must still conform to the code requirements. Expert deck inspectors require the rails to be as sturdy as to guards installed on higher decks.


What is the Standard Railings Spacing?

Baluster railings post must be installed close enough but not more than 6 inches apart. Expert deck inspectors will test the spacing using a 4-inch ball. On average, a baby’s head diameter is 4 inches, so the 4-inch rule is to ensure that babies will not stick their heads between the railings spacing.


Strength and Durability Standards

The top of the railings is expected to withstand 200lb pressure vertically and horizontally. Infill rails must sustain a minimum of 125 pounds of force from any direction.

Deck railings for homes and buildings must meet the International Residential Code and International Building Code tests. The series of tests are performed by expert deck inspectors or accredited professional inspection services provider.

The existing deck railings codes and requirements are specifically designed to ensure everyone’s safety. Although these codes are adopted by cities and states, local building departments might have additional restrictions. Thus, it is better to speak with your local building authorities before starting any deck projects.

Above all, getting in touch with certified expert deck inspectors can do you a lot of benefits. It saves you the trouble from submitting the necessary requirements to secure a permit. Expert deck inspectors save you from thorough government inspections, possible fatal injuries due to structural failure, legal woes, hefty government fines, and penalties.

And do not forget that these certified inspection services companies are your sure ticket to that daunting deck building permit.


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon