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Do I need railing on my deck?

Are you wondering if you need to install a railing on your deck? The good news is that we’ve summarized the requirements in this blog post. Find out more here.

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Do I need railing on my deck?

For homeowners across the US, adding a deck to their property enables them to transform their backyard, creating a space in which to relax while at the same time adding value to their property.

Balcony deck we constructed in Bellevue, WA.

Drone footage of a balcony deck we constructed in Bellevue, WA.

We’ve built hundreds of decks in and around the Washington and North Idaho areas, and one question we get asked often is about deck railing. Do you need it? Can you build a deck without a railing?

As with each deck that is crafted and installed by 3 Brothers Decking, safety is always the primary focus. While decks are great additions to a home, there are a number of safety considerations to make when designing and building them.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at deck railings, answering the question of whether or not you need them.

Before we jump into answering that question, let’s first take a look at the benefits of installing a quality railing system on your deck.

The benefits of a deck railing

While safety is clearly the main reason why people install a railing on their deck, there is more to it.

Horizontal stair and deck railing

Deck railing, while an important safety feature, also enhances the aesthetic of a deck, where you can choose from multiple materials to complement both your home and your deck. You could opt for a more rustic look with a wooden railing, a long-lasting metal option, or something more classy with glass.

Deck railing also provides a place in which to hang ornaments and flow pots, which will enhance the rest of the deck.

What are the deck railing codes in the USA?

We highly recommend that all homeowners follow deck and deck railing codes as set out. These codes can vary depending on where you live, but generally, they set out the various requirements like height, weight capacity, and spacing.

A key factor to note is that in most states you’ll need a railing that is at least 36 inches tall and balusters that are no more than 4 inches apart from each other. Then, you have to ensure that the railing can support a weight of at least 200 pounds.

There are other factors to consider, such as additional codes that set out bottom railing requirements or special design elements. We always advise our customers to speak to either their contractor or us to find out the specific requirements for their home and their deck.

It’s always best to trust the experts here.

When do I need to install a railing on my deck?

Height is a major factor here. If your deck is more than 30 inches off the ground, or on top of a sloped area, you’ll have to install a deck railing system to be compliant. If you don’t and there’s an accident, it could be a rather unfortunate situation.

Decks under 30 inches high are another story, we’ve built decks with no railing for a fully open view.

open deck without railing

The good news is that if you are required to install a railing, there are plenty of options for you to consider, as we’ve already mentioned above.

To ensure your railing meets all safety requirements, it’s best to consult with a professional like 3 Brothers Decking. You can enjoy your deck with peace of mind, knowing that you’ve taken all necessary precautions to keep yourself, your family, and your guests safe.

What should the height of my deck railing be?

As we mentioned above, you will need a minimum height of 36 inches for your railing system. It doesn’t matter if you are just above the minimum deck height or way above it – you have to meet this standard to be compliant.

It’s not only about safety though. You may want to consider other factors such as the privacy you’d like on the deck or what sort of view you want to have.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide on the ideal height that meets both safety requirements and your personal preferences.

Does a decking staircase need a railing?

This is another question we get asked often. Does a staircase on a deck need a railing?

The answer is usually yes, but it depends on a few factors. There is a separate code for handrails on decking stairs that set out what these requirements are.

Staircase railing and deck

In summary, you need to install a staircase railing on at least one side if your stairs have four or more risers in the staircase. The height of such railings has to be between 34 and 38 inches from the nosing of the stair treads. Also, as with deck railings, the stair railings have to be able to meet the 200-pound load requirements. The catch here is this is now measured in both an inward and outward direction.

Not only does a railing offer peace of mind and increased safety, but it can also add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the deck. So while it may be tempting to skip the railing, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and install one for the protection of everyone who will be using the space. As with deck railing, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Why you should consider installing a deck railing, even if you don’t have to

Deck railings are not only about safety but also about aesthetics. There’s more to them than just stopping people from falling off your deck!

Even if the building code states that you don’t need a railing, even if it’s close to the ground, there are still good reasons to have a railing system. First of all, you’ll be creating a divide between the end of your deck and the garden below – this will give your deck a specific area, which may enhance its aesthetic.

Deck railing with decoration

Also, a deck railing is a great place to hang decorations during the festive season or plants throughout the rest of the year. They also add a bit of texture to your backyard, especially if you choose a material that matches the rest of your home and garden.

Overall, a deck railing is a smart investment for anyone who wants to make the most of their outdoor space.

Components of a Deck Railing System

When it comes to a deck railing system, there are several components that made them up.

  • The balusters: the vertical pieces that run between the top and bottom railings
  • Railings: provide a horizontal support for the baluster
  • Posts: vertical supports that hold up the railings
  • Connectors: secure all the pieces together

Some decks, like those with frameless glass railings, are unique in their design.

Whichever one you choose, it’s important that you engage with a deck specialist to help you choose the right railing to match your home and deck.

Different Types of Deck Railings and Materials

There are various deck railings options available in the Washington and North Idaho areas.

One of the most popular is wood, but other homeowners choose metal, composite materials, and even frameless glass. Each one creates a different look, and as we’ve mentioned before it’s important to choose one that matches the rest of your home.

Metal railing offers a modern look with visible security and safety in a sleek package. Horizontal cable railing and vertical cable railing are both excellent choices.

With so many options to choose from, it’s important that you consider what you’d like to achieve with the deck and how a railing system fits into that. If you don’t choose the right material, it may make your deck look completely off. 

At 3 Brothers Decking, we work closely with each of our customers to help them select the perfect option to match both their home and their budget.

Choose 3 Brothers Decking to install the perfect railing on your deck

When it comes to enhancing the overall look and safety of your deck, choosing the right railing is crucial. That’s where 3 Brothers Decking comes in.

With years of experience, our team of professionals specializes in providing top-notch decking solutions that cater to your specific needs. From classic to contemporary styles, we have a wide range of railing designs that will complement your deck’s aesthetics while ensuring maximum safety for you and your loved ones. One of our most popular railing systems is the frameless glass option.

Our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is unmatched, and we take pride in delivering the highest quality service and craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.

Choose 3 Brothers Decking for the perfect railing that will transform your deck into a beautiful and safe outdoor haven.

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We're your deck builder and exterior renovator

When it comes to building a deck, you want 3 Brothers Decking. We proudly serve Western Washington, including the Greater Seattle Area, and Northern Idaho with deck installation that brings safety, strength, and style to your outdoor living space. Our design and build services bring knowledge, experience, and top-notch service to you at a competitive price.

With a 3 Brothers deck, your home's value, function, and style will be significantly improved. We'll be there for you every step of the way: we can help you budget, design, build, and decorate the outdoor space of your dreams!

Why choose 3 brothers decking(3BD)

Why choose us?

We are proud to offer our customers in Washington, North Idaho, and Bay area the full package. This includes expert craftsmanship, friendly customer service, and quality building materials.

Our experienced team has all of the knowledge and skills needed to ensure your satisfaction in every project we do. With us, you don't have to worry about a thing - from the very beginning of the project planning process all the way through to its completion and beyond.

We take pride in being reliable and organized so that each job is completed on time while meeting all of your highest expectations. There's a good reason that hundreds of homeowners across Washington state choose us for all their decking needs.

Our Services

We specialize in all aspects of deck services such as repair, installation, and maintenance for homeowners across Washington, North Idaho, and the Bay areas. We strive to ensure that your dream project is properly taken care of from start to finish. All projects are guided by qualified professionals who take pride in customer satisfaction.

No matter the size of your project, we will provide you with the best quality craftsmanship available to create a deck that suits your personal tastes and needs.

Our services include:

Deck construction and installation

Our team of decking specialists is some of the best in Washington state, having planned and constructed hundreds of decks. We build decks that are tailored to the specific needs and wants of each individual customer, ensuring that you get exactly what you desire.

Our customers choose us for many reasons. First and foremost, we make sure to use only the highest-quality decking materials and construction techniques. Our goal is to build decks that last and that add value to a home.

We are also extremely passionate about what we do, with a proven track record of success. As a family-owned business, we take great pride in designing and building decks that stand the test of time. Follow our journey by visiting our deck blog.

Deck railing systems

Transform your deck into a stylish and secure outdoor oasis with the perfect railing system. At 3 Brothers Decking, we provide a wide range of tailor-made railing choices for decks, all designed to complement the aesthetic of your home and deck.

We offer a range of railing options, all designed to match the rest of your home and deck. You can opt for cable railing, glass railing, aluminum railing, or natural wood railing.

Each type of railing offers something different, whether you want an unobstructed view with frameless glass railings or a natural look with wooden options. For those seeking a low-maintenance option with great longevity, aluminum may be the option for you.

We understand that each of our customers has different needs, and as such will add an outdoor railing system that will complement the rest of your property.

Deck cover installation

Extending your roof or building an awning over your deck creates a safe covered space in all seasons, especially winter and summer.

We build deck covers, pergolas, awnings, automatic-pergolas, gazebos, and more to keep your deck out of the damp rain and heavy sun.

Home siding installation

If you are looking to improve the exterior of your home, consider using home siding. We have been repairing and constructing siding for many years, becoming the preferred supplier for hundreds of homeowners in the Washington and North Idaho area.

Our expertise spans a wide range of materials, from classic wood to sleek aluminum. Our mission is to provide you with not only the best functional solution but also one that adds to the overall beauty of your home. We'll work with you every step of the way to ensure the materials, colors, finishes, and textures are just right for your unique vision.

Deck lighting installation

Lighting can help bring your deck to life and enhance the mood of your outdoor space. With the right deck lighting, you'll have an impressive space in which to enjoy and entertain day and night.

At 3 Brothers Decking, we offer a variety of deck lighting options. From traditional lighting to modern LED lights, we have the perfect fit for you. Our team is experienced in customizing the right lighting solution that meets your budget and style.

Whether you want subtle illumination or a bold effect, our deck lighting experts will work with you to create a stunning outdoor ambiance.

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