Are your Deck Railings installed correctly?
Deck railings are an important safety feature that can help to prevent falls. In Wisconsin, the minimum height for railings is 30 inches, but it is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if your deck is more than 30 inches above grade, the railing height should be increased to 36 inches.
Guardrails are required for all decks more than 30” above grade or stairs exceeding three risers. When required, guardrails shall be a minimum of 36” above the decking. Openings in guardrails shall have rails or an ornamental pattern such that a 4-inch sphere cannot pass through.
Reasons why it is important to have a railing that is the proper height
First, a higher railing will make it more difficult for children and pets to fall over the edge of the deck. Second, a higher railing can provide more support for people who are sitting on the deck. Third, a higher railing can help to block the wind and rain, making the deck more comfortable to use.
If you are building a new deck or replacing an old one, it is important to make sure that the railings are the proper height. You can find more information about deck railing requirements in the Wisconsin Administrative Code, SPS 320 to 325 Appendix B.
Why is the Proper Height for Deck Railings Important?
There are several reasons why the proper height for deck railings is important. First, a higher railing can help to prevent falls. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, falls from decks are the leading cause of deck-related injuries, and children are at a particularly high risk. A higher railing can make it more difficult for children to fall over the edge of the deck, and it can also provide more support for people who are sitting on the deck.
Second, a higher railing can help to block the wind and rain. This can make the deck more comfortable to use, especially during windy or rainy weather.
Third, a higher railing can provide a sense of security and privacy. This can be especially important for decks that are located near busy streets or other areas where there is a lot of foot traffic.
How to Measure the Height of a Deck Railing
The proper height for a deck railing is measured from the top of the railing to the floor or ground. It is important to measure the height at several points along the railing to ensure that it is consistent. If the railing is not the proper height, it should be replaced or modified to meet the requirements.
What are the Exceptions to the Minimum Height Requirements for Deck Railings?
There are a few exceptions to the minimum height requirements for deck railings. For example, if the deck is less than 30 inches above grade, the railing height is not regulated. Additionally, if the deck is located within 3 feet of a wall or other structure that provides protection from falls, the railing height is not regulated.
What are the Materials That Can Be Used for Deck Railings?
There are a variety of materials that can be used for deck railings. Some common materials include wood, metal, and vinyl. The material that you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the style of your deck.
What are the Safety Features That Should Be Included in Deck Railings?
In addition to being the proper height, deck railings should also include several safety features. These features can help to prevent falls and other injuries. Some common safety features for deck railings include:
- A top rail that is at least 36 inches high
- A bottom rail that is at least 4 inches high
- Mid-rails that are spaced no more than 24 inches apart
- Posts that are no more than 6 feet apart
- A smooth surface that does not have any gaps or openings that could trap a child or pet
- A handrail that is at least 1 3/8 inches in diameter
How to Maintain Deck Railings
Deck railings should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good condition. If any damage is found, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Deck railings should also be cleaned and stained or painted on a regular basis to protect them from the elements.
By following these safety tips, you can help to keep your family and friends safe from falls and other injuries.
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