Outdoor decks are magical places because they allow you to enjoy the outdoors within a few steps of the comforts of home. One of the most important parts of the deck is the railing. It is so important, in fact, that the construction of the railing is dictated by building codes. While specific buildings codes may vary from state to state and town to town, the International Building Codes are the same no matter where you are located. Knowing these codes means that you will have a safe deck on which you can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Build railings for your deck if it is located more than a 1 1/2 feet from the ground. The railing is required to serve as a barrier so that people do not fall from the deck to the ground and injure themselves.
Height of Railing
Build the railings 36 inches high from the floor of the deck if the deck is up to 5 feet 10 inches above the ground. Build the railings 42 inches tall if the deck is over 5 feet 10 inches.
Strength of Railing
Build the railings strong enough to withstand 200 lbs. of pressure if it is applied at any point on the railing.
Spacing of Baulstrades
Space the balustrades, which are the perpendicular members beneath the railing, 4 to 6 inches apart when you build deck railings. By spacing them so closely, you help to prevent a child from sticking his or her head between the balustrades and getting it stuck.