ballusters required for stair railing
Are vertical balusters required for the stair railing on a deck? It is 14ft long and 8ft high. I was planning to just put up the posts, a top grab rail, a middle rail attached to the sides of the posts, and maybe a bottom rail.
In NY, yes. No more that 4" apart.
"It is what it is."
should have mentioned this is Vermont. Don't know if it matters.
Generally balusters are required if the walking surface is greater than 30" above the surrounding grade. For something 8' high, not meaning to be rude, but common sense aught to tell you what you need to do - unless your friends are coming over with those bratty little kids that need to be disposed of anyway... ;-)
Eric - depends where in VT. I'm in the Benningtn area and there are no inspectors in most towns and no one cares at the local/state government level. However, I have had to add balusters due to homeowners insurance companies demanding it.
Check with your local town hall and your insurance company.
I'm guessing that you don't have any kids. If there's a hole big enough to fall through, it's just a matter of time before some kid does. I'd go with the ballusters.
Where are you? In Michigan they are required. I'm pretty sure thats standard in the code book.
Eight feet above grade? Almost certainly a railing and ballusters are required.
Your local building department can give you their requirements, but here in San Jose, CA, any deck or porch more than 18" above grade must have a rail at 36" with ballusters spaced so there's no more than a 4" opening between them.
In Chicago, no opening more than 4" at it's widest point. I'm guessing similar rules apply in your area and just about anyplace else.
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I am in vermont and have balusters on the deck itself. I have young kids and have a child safety gate at the top of the stairs so the kids can't use the stairs. Was wondering if I could skip the vertical balusters on the stairs and essentially use "horizontal" balusters (2x4's along the length of the stairs, attached to the posts). Have seen several others like that around here, but wasn't sure of code.
Regarding "The code" - there is no universal code for all states.... So really you need someone from your state, maybe even your town or county to answer the question. The best thing is just to pick up the phone and call your local building inspections department. Even if building code is not present or enforced in your locale you still could be held liable if an accident were to occur.
This web page says "ICC INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE, 2003 EDITION - AS AMENDED" is used in Vermont under "adopted codes". The "AS AMENDED" is the reason you need a local resource to get a definitive answer.
Regarding horizontal balusters - some codes specifically prohibit these as kids can climb on them - essentially using them as a ladder.