When you think of your deck, you probably imagine fun days out in the sun, evening BBQs, and family get-togethers. However, you might not think about the level of safety your deck provides. But it’s an important element to consider. Here are three reasons deck stairs need hand railings.
The first reason that deck stairs need hand railings is to meet specific building codes. The International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) state that there should be a handrail should be present on any set of stairs you use to get in and out of your home. These codes also require hand railing for stairs with four or more steps. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a handrail for two steps or more in public and commercial spaces.
Safety is another reason deck stairs need handrails. Stairs can be dangerous, especially if they don’t have something for people to hold onto as they walk up and down them. Outdoor deck stairs also experience elements like ice, sleet, snow, and rain that can cause the stairs to become slippery. Installing hand railing on your deck’s stairs provides safety and protection from potential slips, trips, and falls.
The third reason that a deck should have hand railings is for overall graspability. Building codes and safety purposes are important reasons that decks have handrails, and these two elements work together to create an appropriate level of graspability for handrails. Engineers work to determine the best measurements for things like hand railings to meet codes and provide the most safety. After all, a handrail is only effective and helpful if you can grab it easily. Therefore, engineers have decided round handrails should be about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter, while handrails that are not round should be between 4 and 6.5 inches in diameter.
So now that you know why deck staircases should have hand railings, you can ensure that your deck’s stairs are meeting the proper safety requirements. Mr. Spindle offers everything you need to improve your deck, including round wood balusters.