A handrail can make you safer, but if it isn’t installed at the right height, it won’t be effective. How do you know where to install your handrail? Learn how to find the correct height for a railing installation to keep yourself and others safe and secure.
Correct Height for a Railing Installation
The height of a handrail may not seem like a big deal at first. However, a handrail hung at the wrong height just isn’t helpful from a safety perspective, and it can also mean you aren’t in compliance with building codes and other laws. How can you find the correct height for a railing installation, and why is it so important?
How Can I Find the Correct Height for My Railing?
To understand why railing height is important, consider what a handrail is for. They support a person’s balance as they walk, so they need to be within arms reach for the majority of people who will be using them. Most building codes, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require handrails to be hung at a specific height in order to ensure they are useful for everyone who needs them. In general, handrails should be between 34 and 36 inches in height from the nosing of the stairs or the surface of the ground. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as handrails in areas that are primarily used by children. Be sure to do your research before planning your installation.
Installing Your Railing at the Correct Height
When it’s time to install your railing, precise measurements are essential. Incorrect measurements can lead to improperly installed railings, which create a safety hazard for those who visit your home or business. The measurements you need will depend on where you are installing your railing.
Railing Heights on Decks and Flat Areas
Installing railing on decks and flat surfaces is relatively simple. All you need to do is determine how tall your railing needs to be, and then purchase a handrail that meets those requirements. MMC Fencing and Railing offers a variety of railings and handrails to choose from, including a series at ADA-compliant heights. If you need help selecting the right one, you can give us a call.
Handrail Heights for Stairs and Graded Areas
In order to determine the correct height for your railing installation, you need to find the nosing line of the stairs. The nosing line is found by measuring the length from the nosing of the top step to the nosing of the bottom step. This creates a diagonal line that follows the slope of the stairs, providing guidelines for your handrail installation. Once you’ve found the nosing line, finding the correct height for installation is a simple task depending on where your stairs are located:
- If you are hanging the handrail indoors, use a stud finder to find the studs in the walls where you’ll be installing your handrail. The handrail will need to be hung from the studs, so they will determine where the rail sits on the wall. Once you’ve found the studs, you can determine how to place the railing on the wall at an appropriate height.
- If you are installing railing outdoors, you may need to use other hardware, especially for ADA-compliant continuous handrails. Just be sure that your measurements show that the handrail will be the correct distance from the nosing line of the stairs once it is installed.
This method will also work for installing railing in graded areas. Just use the ground as your nosing line, and you’re all set.
Finding the correct height for a railing installation can be complicated, especially when there are building codes involved. If you need help, reach out to the professionals at MMC Fencing and Railing.
When you need an expert who can help you check your measurements, select a new railing, or browse railing accessories, MMC Fencing & Railing is here for you. In our online shop, we sell aluminum and vinyl railing in a variety of styles and colors. So no matter what you’re looking for and no matter how large or small your budget, you’re sure to find something beautiful. Give us a call at 866-931-5002 to get started or to ask about installation options. We look forward to hearing from you!