Decks are one of the most popular home improvement projects on the planet. It makes a lot of sense as to why. First and foremost, decks are an incredibly cost effective way to add a significant amount of space to your property. Even though they don’t have a roof, people in New England tend to use their decks on a year round basis. For example, adding a fire pit enables you to enjoy your deck even when it’s cold and snowy outside. Whether you plan to add a deck and do the work on your own, or hire a professional contractor to build the deck for you, it’s important to note that there are some general requirements for installing deck railings.
It should also be noted that any professional construction contractor should be well aware of the general requirements. So, without further ado, here are some general requirements for installing deck railings. The basic principal of a deck railing is to keep people safe from falling off of the deck. That means the deck railings need to be built according to the proper height and strength. The proper spacing is just as important. In essence, your deck needs railings that are high enough, strong enough, and the balusters are spaced out close enough to each other that a person cannot fit between them.
If you fail to build your deck railings based on these three (3) incredibly important principals than you may very well have a deck that will fail. Let’s start with the deck railing height. The International Residential Code, or IRC for short, is used by the vast majority of states and cities in the country. So, we will be using the IRC standards for deck railings in this article. Any deck that is higher than 30-inches from the ground requires deck railings. The deck railings must be a minimum of three (3) feet high or higher. So, if the deck is built three (3) feet off of the ground, the top of the railings must be a minimum of six (6) feet off of the ground.
Strength is also an incredibly important aspect of your deck railings. Think about it. If a large adult is leaning against the deck railing it must be strong enough to withstand the weight. Speaking of which, deck railings need to support concentrated loads of at least 200 pounds applied to railing and posts in all directions. In addition, the deck railings need to be strong enough to support uniform loads of at least 50 pounds that are applied horizontally or vertically to the deck railing. It’s always a good idea to build the deck railings even stronger than the standards.
For example, you may very well have a person over 200 pounds leaning on your deck railing. Last but certainly not least, the spacing of the deck posts and balusters are also important. Deck railing posts must be spaced at a maximum of eight (8) feet apart. Deck railing balusters must be spaced in a manner that there is no more than four (4) inches in between them.
For more information about the general requirements for installing deck railings in Connecticut or Massachusetts please contact us today at 860-341-6373. DBC Solutions takes great pride in providing the highest quality custom carpentry and contracting services in the home improvement industry. Our business model has been the same for 17 years. Doing things the right way the first time every time is the only way to do it.