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. Drone footage of a balcony deck we constructed in Bellevue, WA. We’ve built hundreds of decks in and around the Washington and […]

October 18, 2023

Do I need railing on my deck?

October 18, 2023

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. Drone footage of a balcony deck we constructed in Bellevue, WA. We’ve built hundreds of decks in and around the Washington and […]

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.

YOUR PREFERRED DECK BUILDER & EXTERIOR RENOVATOR

You can trust 3 Brothers Decking for your decking needs. We proudly serve Western Washington, including the Greater Seattle Area, and Northern Idaho, with deck installations that bring safety, strength, and style to your outdoor living space. Our design and build services combine expertise, experience, and exceptional service at a competitive price.

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YOUR PREFERRED DECK BUILDER & EXTERIOR RENOVATOR

You can trust 3 Brothers Decking for your decking needs. We proudly serve Western Washington, including the Greater Seattle Area, and Northern Idaho, with deck installations that bring safety, strength, and style to your outdoor living space. Our design and build services combine expertise, experience, and exceptional service at a competitive price.

Looking for other home construction services?

3 Brothers Decking also provides siding and other home exterior services in and around Seattle, Spokane, and Northern Idaho.

MaisyRailing.com sells complete deck railing kits and parts for cable railing, frameless glass railing, and framed glass railing for contractors and DIYers.

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