Decks are a lovely balance between the indoors and outdoors; they allow you to enjoy nature while being just steps from the comfort of home. When building a deck, certain building codes for your area must be followed, especially when the deck is higher than 30 inches from the ground. In Oregon, as in many other states, when the deck is 30 inches from the ground, railings are required. These railings must meet certain requirements so that people on the deck can be safe.
Height of the Railing
When the deck is 30 inches from the ground, deck railing must be at least 36 inches high. This height helps prevent an accidental fall from the deck.
Spacing Between Balusters
A deck railing may have balusters, the vertical portions of the deck rail that run between the top and bottom rail. According to the Oregon state requirements, these balusters must be no more than 4 inches apart. This is meant to prevent a child from getting his head stuck in between them.
While wood is often the material chosen for deck rails, Oregon state requirements allow other materials as well: glass, metal or cables. Glass must be tempered to be used for deck rails. Regarding other materials, they can be used as long as the railing components meet the requirements on height and spacing dictated by the state of Oregon.
Stairs on a deck must have rails as well and they must be 34 inches from the front nose, also called nosing, of the first step. The bottom rail of the railing must not be spaced more than 6 inches from the back of the step. In other words, a child must not be able to force his head or an item larger than 6 inches beneath the bottom of the railing and the stairs. A span of 5 feet between the stair railing posts is acceptable. However, if the stairs are longer than 5 feet, then you must have another post to keep the necessary 5-foot space between posts.