Deck Safety: Secure Your Railings

Do NOT let your railings get like this.

Do NOT let your railings get like this.

Did you know that deck handrails are required to have no more than 4” between each baluster?

This code was put in place because when balusters are more than 4” apart on center, it becomes a safety hazard. Go measure the distance between your balusters right now. Are they more than 4” apart? Are the railings less than 36” high? If so, your deck is closed. If an inspector were to come by your home, you’d be hit with a fine.

If your deck is more than 20” off the ground, most local building codes require you to have a secure railing present. I say “most” because it varies from city to city. Do your research for your local area before starting any deck project. Call a local licensed contractor if you are unsure about this type of installation.

Walk out on your deck and give the railing a good shake. If there is any give, it needs to be replaced or repaired. Sometimes securing the fasteners and replacing corroded ones is all you need to do.

Like I said before, balusters should not be more than 4” apart on center. This is so a pet or child wont slip through the railing. The higher the decking is off the ground, the more crucial this becomes. Rotted railings and balusters are another weak spot that could cause someone to fall through without warning. Replace these immediately.

As always, check with your local building codes to ensure your deck and railings meet the proper requirements. 

When you have safe and secure railings, it gives you one less thing to worry about during the summer, and allows you to enjoy it to its full potential.


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