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Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience:  35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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what is the height of a porch before you need to put rails

Customer Question

what is the height of a porch before you need to put rails up.it is aready 40in high can i build the grand up with a bed of something
Submitted: 7 years ago via Answerly.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Jim Hamilton replied 7 years ago.

1003.3.3.6 Handrails.

Stairways shall have handrails on each side, and every stairway required to be more then 88 inches in width shall be provided with not less then one intermediate handrail for each 88 inches of required width. Intermediate handrails shall be spaced approximately equally across with the entire width of the stairway.

 

EXCEPTIONS:

1. Stairways less than 44 inches in width or stairways service one individual dwelling unit (single family home.)

2. Private stairways 30 inches or less in height may have a handrail on one side only.

3. Stairways having less than four risers and serving one individual dwelling unit (single family home.) need not have handrails.

 

This comes right out of my Unified Building Code manual.

 

Sound like you will need a hand rail.

 

Good luck.

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

not the steps i was talking about the porch, the height of the porch.how high do the porch have to be before you need rails and if the porch is to high can you put dirt around to rise the grand up

Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 7 years ago.

Hi and thanks for using JustAnswer.com.

What state are you in? Each state has amendments and deletions to the adopted codes. Assuming your state did not amend residential railing requirements, up to 30 inches off grade does not require a railing, over 30 inches does. Raising your grade 14 inches gets you around having a railing, but it also gets you in trouble with water draining away from your foundation. If your first floor, basement windows, etc are less than 14 inches off current grade, you will be directing water through your walls and into your house. Again the code, on floor elevations to grade, may be amended in your state. Some states require 8" minimum elevation off grade, some allow 4".

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
my porch is 39in cn i build a two and a half feet out maybe a foot down so it will be less then 30 in around the proch.
Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 7 years ago.

Yes you can, but you should go out 36 inches so it qualifies as a landing and not a step. A step beginning at over 30 inches off grade, needs a rail also. 2 and a half feet out is only 30" and does qualify as a landing. It is just a big step.

Sorry for any delay- your reply did not post to me. i discovered it while checking to see is you had answered what state you are in.

Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience: 35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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