Lets talk porch railings

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Old 04-16-12, 03:09 PM
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Lets talk porch railings

Last year I tore out my existing railing on the front porch of our home because it was rotting and peeling. Well fast forward to the present and I'm looking to reinstall a nicer version of railing and balusters. Here is my issue, the porch is only 9 inches off the ground so it does not require a railing. The previous balusters were spaced 8-10 inches apart, the house was built this way and many other homes in the area have a similar or the same setup. If I replace the railing do I need to follow the current building code spacing requirement of 4 inches for the balusters?
 
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Old 04-16-12, 04:42 PM
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Spacing

Yes, you do. The code requirement is to prevent a small child from placing their head between the balusters and getting trapped, which could lead to a choking incident.

Look at some of the pre-made railing supplies at the big box stores. I used them on my front porch and have been well pleased.
 
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Old 04-16-12, 05:17 PM
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I was in the same predicament with a client. They wanted to "save" a portion of their handrail on their deck (4' off terra firma) and install new where they were bad. What do you do? They were only 32" tall and spaced at about 8". Technically I could carry the design forward with my inspector's blessing, but I finally talked them into letting me bring it into the 21st century and make it safer.
Ken, are you referring to the metal balustrade components? They do look sharp!
 
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Old 04-16-12, 06:42 PM
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Thanks for the info fellas, Now I need to decide if its worth even putting them in now. I'm not a fan of the close spacing so I'll have to figure something out.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 06:09 AM
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Railing

Ken, are you referring to the metal balustrade components? They do look sharp!
Larry, I used the white composite from the blue and white store.



I think it matches well with our white trim.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 07:46 AM
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That doesn't look too bad. Is that 4" spacing? it looks a bit larger.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 12:43 PM
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Spacing

The space between balusters at the square part of the baluster is 3.25 in. Spacing between balusters at the smallest part of the baluster is 3.5 in. The top and bottom rails have the holes pre-cut for the balusters.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 02:36 PM
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Looks good, Ken. I was envisioning the metal balustrades that come in sections. I like yours better.
 
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Old 04-17-12, 02:43 PM
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I like it too.....helped my neighbor back in VA do similar.

How'd you enjoy putting the porch posts in?
 
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Old 04-19-12, 06:22 AM
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If you mean inserting the treated posts into the sleeves, it wasn't much fun. Perfectly straight posts would have been nice, but we all know that is only a dream.

Doing the railing for the steps took some creative engineering, too.
 
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Old 04-19-12, 09:03 AM
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What is the greatest distance I can go between posts? I could not find that in the building code. I have two sections to do and one is 126", can I just do a straight railing with braces on the bottom to prevent sagging or does that great a distance dictate that another post be centered between the first two.
 
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Old 04-19-12, 09:28 AM
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Most of the vinyl or composite railing only comes in 6 or 8 ft sections. Seems like I remember the pre-assembled sections were 6 ft and you could by the components as 8 footers. Even on an 8ft I think you would need some sort of brace. A post would make it more rigid and probably look better as well.
 
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Old 04-19-12, 11:39 AM
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Thanks again, I'm planning on doing PT lumber so once I buy the wood and other components I'll see how rigid it will be and decide if I need to center a post.
 
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Old 04-19-12, 12:25 PM
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Oops...sorry. Got caught up in the other discussion.

In that case, I think you should really split that long section in half and put in a post. It will help with warpage and twisting as well. A 10' could twist almost 45 degrees as it dries.
 
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Old 04-20-12, 05:31 AM
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Gotcha! I wouldn't want that.
 
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