Do you have to have a handrail on stairs?

Asked By: Renna Fortkord | Last Updated: 28th January, 2020
Category: sports skateboarding
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Handrails for staircases
Stairs should have a handrail on at least one side if the stairs are less than 1 metre wide. You do not need a handrail on the first two bottom steps. In all buildings, handrail height should be between 900mm and 1000mm measured from the pitch line to the top of the handrail.

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Keeping this in view, do you legally have to have a handrail on stairs?

If your home has three or fewer steps, there's no need to install a handrail. However, homes having four or more stairs must have a rail mounted on at least one side if the stairway is less than 44 inches wide. If one edge of the stairwell is open, that's where the handrail must be.

Similarly, what is the difference between a handrail and a stair rail when are they required? Answer: Section 1926.1052 (Stairways) states: Under these provisions, while construction work is being performed, a separate handrail must be provided if the top rail of a stairway system exceeds 37 inches. Since the top rail you refer to is 42 inches, a separate stair rail would be required.

Also question is, how many steps can you have without a handrail?

To get to your question - the code doesn't refer to the exterior in steps but states from finished floor or platform to finished grade in excess of 30" requires a guard rail. It's with interior they mention any stairway with more than 3 risers (2 steps) will require a handrail.

What can happen if a staircase does not have a hand railing?

In scenario number two, where you do not hold the handrail, a misstep may result in a fatality. Clearly this consequence would warrant taking the risk of infection and holding onto tightly the handrail.

38 Related Question Answers Found

What side should stair handrail be on?

Both sides are better and safer too for installing stair railings. There are no standard rules. But mostly It is suggested on the right hand side as you go down the stairs. Very few stairwells are full walled on both sides, so the wall-mount rail is usually same side as the banister rail.

How high should a handrail be above the stairs?

Proper Height
A stair rail must be between 34 and 38 inches above the top of the stair tread at all times to meet United States building code requirements.

Do handrails have to return to the wall?

Handrail Return Requirements. Handrail extensions must return to a wall, itself or the walking surface. Note: While it is a common practice to leave a gap between a wall return and the wall, some inspectors have rejected this as they consider it a return toward the wall and not a return to the wall.

What is the code for a stair railing?

On a stair, since handrail must be between 34" and 38", the handrail and the top of the guard can be one and the same. In commercial applications, the IBC requires a minimum height of 42". On stairs, once there is a 30" drop, a handrail will be required and placed between 34" and 38" above the nosing.

Do handrails have to be on both sides?


Handrails are required on both sides of stairs and must be continuous within the full length of each stair flight. Inside handrails on switchback or dogleg stairs must be continuous.

How far should a handrail be from the wall?

Minimum Hand Clearance From Wall: 1 1/2 Inches
Minimum hand clearance means the distance between the handrail and the wall. In other words, this is the area where your hand goes. Provide at least 1 1/2 inches of clearance between the wall and the railing for easy grasping by the hand.

Do three steps require a handrail?

Editorial Adviser Mike Guertin replies: Since your stairs will have only three risers, you don't need to install a handrail. That said, it's important to count the number of risers accurately.

What is the spacing for handrail brackets?

You need one at the top and one at the bottom. You also need additional brackets, spaced no more than 4 feet apart in the middle of the handrail to provide additional support.

How far apart do you put spindles on a deck?


Balusters, the vertical guards that support the handrail, must be installed close enough that the space between them is no greater than 4 inches. Most city inspectors carry a 4-inch ball with them to test the spacing. Installed balusters should withstand 50 lbs. of pressure exerted over a 1-square-foot area.

What is a step riser?

A stair riser is the near-vertical element in a set of stairs, forming the space between one step and the next. It is sometimes slightly inclined from the vertical so that its top is closer than its base to the person climbing the stairs.

Do you need railings on both sides of deck stairs?

(1) Stairways less than 44 inches in width may have one handrail or stair railing except that such stairways open on one or both sides shall have stair railings provided on the open side or sides. (2) Stairways having less than four risers need not have handrails or stair railings.

How tall should porch railing be?

Porch railing heights range from 30 to 42 inches. Porch rail heights generally range from 30 inches to 42 inches, but the most common sizes are 36 to 42 inches.

What is the standard height of a step in Australia?

The Australian Standard contains detailed advice on steps, stairs, landings, guard rails and so on: Rises and goings: all rises (R) and all goings (G), in the same flight of stairs, shall be of uniform dimensions within a tolerance of +/-5mm. for each rise: minimum 130mm, maximum 225mm.

What is the difference between a banister and a handrail?


As nouns the difference between banister and railing
is that banister is the handrail on the side of a staircase while railing is a fence or barrier consisting of one or more horizontal rails and vertical supports.

What is a graspable handrail?

Definition: Graspability of a handrail refers to the ability to get a secure hold onto a handrailing whose purpose, after all, is both to guide a walker along a stair or other surface and to prevent or perhaps to interrupt slip trip and fall hazards.

What is the difference between a handrail and a guardrail?

In building terms, a guardrail is a railing used to prevent falling from an elevated surface like a deck or balcony. Unlike a handrail, a guardrail is a life-saving device. When guardrail lines a stairway (or a ramp with a rise of greater than 6 inches), building codes will require a secondary handrail, too.