Wouldn’t it be lovely if aesthetics were all you had to think about when selecting a deck railing? Railings aren’t just pretty objects; they serve an important safety purpose that also needs to be taken into consideration. How high should deck railing be to prevent accidents and meet building code requirements? Learn the basics of deck railing heights before you make your final purchase.
Why Does the Height of My Deck Railing Matter?
Getting the perfect railing for your deck is important for the overall look of your outdoor space, but it’s also essential for the safety of your guests. If your deck railing isn’t an adequate height, it might not protect your guests from falling off of the deck and injuring themselves. But does every deck actually need a railing? And if so, how do you know what deck railing height is appropriate for your project?
Wait, Does My Deck Even Need a Railing?
If thinking about deck railings is giving you a headache, you might be tempted to skip the railing altogether. If your deck is less than 30 inches off the ground, a railing may not even be required for it. However, it’s essential to do your research before deciding that your deck doesn’t need a railing, as most municipalities require them and have specific regulations around deck railing heights. Failing to install a deck railing that meets those regulations can open your home to legal liability, so don’t ignore the risk!
It’s also important to remember that even if a railing is not required for your particular deck, it’s still a helpful piece of safety equipment to provide for your guests. Installing a deck railing is generally a good idea, especially if you expect children, senior citizens, or other guests who would benefit from the support a rail can provide. If you aren’t sure whether or not you need a railing for your deck, consult a contractor or other building expert for their advice.
What Are Standard Deck Railing Heights?
If you’ve determined that your project requires a deck railing, the height of that railing will depend on several factors. Understanding the type of building the deck is attached to and the purpose of the installation is essential, as well as familiarity with local rules and regulations:
- A deck railing on a single-family home has a minimum height of 36 inches. It can be taller, but some municipalities limit the height of residential deck railings. Be sure to check if you want to go bigger!
- A deck railing on a multi-family home or commercial building should be a minimum of 42 inches high.
- If you wish to leave space between the bottom of your railing and the floor of your deck, this space is called a “sweep space.” Your sweep space should not be more than four inches from the floor of the deck to the bottom of the railing.
- If your deck requires a railing, keep in mind that any stairs leading to or from the deck also require handrails that meet the same criteria.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of determining appropriate deck railing heights, are you ready to make a purchase? If you need more information, contact our sales experts.
When you need an expert to help you check your measurements, select a new railing, or browse railing accessories, MMC Fencing & Railing is here. 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. Call us at 866-931-5002 to get started or ask about installation options. We look forward to hearing from you!