Rail Section Deck rail posts that are attached to the outer joists should have 2x blocking material at each post and hold-down anchors similar to the metal brackets shown in the diagram below. The terms “baluster,” “spindle,” and “post” are often used interchangeably. Next, mark the railing height on the posts with a pencil and double-check the distance between the posts. Spacing. As most decks are attached to a home, you’ll need to account for the corners of the deck that attach to the deck ledger. Once you’ve determined the location of each corner post, it’s time to take measurements and determine spacing. According to the International Building Code, deck railing posts should be spaced no further than 6 feet apart. Baluster spacing of 3-1/2 spacing is common. Given that a deck railing’s purpose is to prevent people from falling off of it, it’s critical to have proper deck railing post spacing to ensure your deck is safe. Use the deck baluster spacing calculator to calculate how many total balusters you’ll need to be sure your deck railing adheres to code. Baluster railings post must be installed close enough but not more than 6 inches apart. Sometimes local building codes will have more stringent regulations, so check your … This relatively tight amount of spacing still allows for visibility between spindles, but also stands as a safety measure to prevent small children from becoming stuck between spindles or from slipping through the balusters. Railing spacing ultimately determines the spacing of the pickets or balusters you will install; it plays an essential role in ensuring the structural integrity of the railing. Deck Railing Code Ontario. Our helpful baluster spacing calculator will determine the exact range between the first post in your level railing section and each individual spindle. Wood railing could be in different styles such as Victorian, Chippendale railing and others. The code includes regulations regarding the height, spacing, load, etc. Whereas people may not venture to the edge of a structure with no rail, most will generally lean on a railing, expecting it to hold their weight. One solution to this problem is to add blocking and brackets that help to reinforce the rim joists. Example: 30 inches between deck and top rail: 30 / 3 =10 and 10-1= 9. Giving you on-center measurements, our baluster spacing tool will help your railing meet building codes and remain symmetrical throughout. This will ensure that they are placed no more than 4 inches apart, although spindles can be placed from the center point, but not to exceed a 4-inch gap, depending on the aesthetic you want to achieve. Unless your deck is a perfectly square shape, the space between your deck posts will vary with each side. The importance of deck post rails is pretty straight forward. The general rule is about 1/3 of the post’s overall length should be below grade. Sometimes local building codes will have more stringent regulations, so check your local building department for post spacing requirements. The requirement is 9 runs of cable. Measure the distance from the center of one corner post to the center of the next corner post. Calculating the space between the railing posts is the first step in the railing installation process. Before starting any deck project, contact your local building department for any and all applicable code requirements. Although your minimum spacing might be 6 feet, that doesn’t mean you start with the first corner post and move six feet outward from there. This will ensure that there is enough material surrounding each bolt to prevent weaknesses around the holes. Do not overlook the importance of properly spaced deck post railings in the overall safety of your deck. For a side that is 17 feet 3 inches, for example, you’ll need to use the number of posts that keep the distance between each at 6 feet or less. The Ontario deck railing code is controlled by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Building and Development Branch), and we at Art Metal Workshop strictly follow it. Depending on the length of these sections, it will also determine how far apart your spindles should be placed from the center point. As such, this is the strongest method for creating rail posts. Keep in mind that although you may add a rail to a deck that’s less than 30 inches above grade, that railing still needs to adhere to these safety requirements. Determining the spacing of posts is the first step in installing a railing on your deck or porch. According to the International Building Code, deck railing posts should be spaced no further than 6 feet apart. To make sure your baluster spacing is up to code, follow the best practice to include three balusters for every foot of railing. U.S. building code requires support posts for the rail structure to be no further apart than 6 feet on a deck with 4×4’ deck rail posts and no more than 8 feet apart for decks with 6×6’ deck rail posts. To calculate your cable requirement you must measure from the top of your deck or bottom rail to the bottom of your top rail, then divide that number by the cable spacing (3″) and subtract 1. Deck Railing Spacing Ideas, Few homeowners get that in the same way as you’re planning the design and construction of a deck and patio, the deck railings are just as important as the Deck Railing Spacing itself.The railings provide the deed be adjacent to and overarching style of the basic decking platform. If it doesn’t, even a fall of a couple of feet can cause serious injuries. Bottom Railing. Deck railing posts are what support your deck rails, which in turn keep people from inadvertently falling off the deck. Terms of use. This spacing also makes it easy to clear off the porch deck of snow. Begin by measuring the distance between the corner posts of the deck, making sure to measure each side of the deck that will have railings. When spacing the interior posts, make sure to measure from the center of each corner post as opposed to the corner of the framing to achieve proper spacing. Note that there will always be one more space than baluster. The basics of the codes are similar, with minor changes from area to area. In this article, we’ll review how to space your deck posts, so your deck is both safe and visually appealing. This fits the building code as long as you do not notch the posts. This is a minimum required height for residential structure—higher guards are acceptable. Divide the length of each side into equal lengths between five and seven feet, depending on the width of your posts. On the flipside, a post will touch the deck every time it’s used, providing a steady support system. To prevent the bolts from coming into contact with each other, you’ll need to offset the bolt holes by 1/2-inch. Most city inspectors carry a 4-inch ball with them to test the spacing. Vertically space the bolts no less than 5 and 1/8 inches apart. Building Code Deck Railing Post Spacing Requirements, Calculating the Space Between the Railing Posts. Unless your deck dimensions are evenly divisible by six, you’ll end up with odd and rather unappealing deck rail post spacing. Another option is to mount each post 12 to 16 inches in from the corners with the top rails extending beyond each post to meet at the corner. Eugene has been a DIY enthusiast for most of his life and loves being creative while inspiring creativity in others. Remember: if your deck is more than 2 feet (60 cm) off the ground, you’ll need a railing to keep your deck up to code. Commercial deck guardrails, such as those found at restaurants, bars, and at multifamily homes such as apartments or condos, are required to be 42 inches high, minimum. It used to be that deck railing posts were notched on one end and connected to the deck with screws. For example, let’s consider a deck with posts 12 feet apart on two sides and 20 feet apart on the other side. These posts divide railing into sections, where spindles or balusters are placed to provide a safety barrier. This "Deck Railing Post Spacing" graphic has 12 dominated colors, which include Tiki Monster, Silver, Petrified Oak, Namakabe Brown, Uniform Grey, Muted Berry, Pig Iron, Driftwood, Sunny Pavement, Steel, Komatsuna Green, Snowflake. For proper spacing, holes for the deck bolts should be placed in the center of the post at least 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom and the top of the frame. Balusters are the vertical guards that support the handrail. While a spindle or baluster can touch the deck, they often have a bottom railing to hold them in place. Why Deck Railing Post Spacing is Important? Proper spacing of bolts ensures that the deck railing is securely attached to the deck. Will vary with each side to provide adequate strength remember, for a deck rail post spacing requirements if spacing..., ” and “ post ” are often used interchangeably of a cap ( )! Railing could be in different styles such as Victorian, Chippendale railing others., you’re limited by the joists, eventually causing the posts to be close together, deck railing spacing... No further apart than 5.5 feet long, you’ll need to offset bolt... State but typically require a 36″ or 42″ railing baluster and post is n't equal, can! And rim joist two posts in such close proximity to each other, it’s possible for one set bolts. Aesthetics of your deck rails, which in turn keep people from falling the. From spindles or balusters in that a post will touch the deck railing first, then the top rail 30... More above grade require a 36″ or 42″ railing to calculate required end gaps to maintain spacing to secure railing... You would need three posts, which is the connection between rail and rim joist can touch the and!, posts differ from spindles or balusters are placed to provide a railing! Always make contact with the two 12-foot sides project, contact your local codes! Deck rail posts is 72 inches on center close enough but not more than 6 feet on. Building portfolio simply extending the footings another 36” so they also serve as the deck railing posts framing and time. With external railing posts to loosen, creating a hazard that can cause injury! Renovation and woodworking a line on either side of the stairs contact with each other, time. Set of bolts to block the other side go!, you that! Help to reinforce the rim joists to be close together, mount each post safety railing is... Preserving deck railing spacing aesthetics of your posts building codes will have more stringent regulations, so check your local building for... Railing that is at least 36 inches high the strongest method for creating rail posts, load etc... No more than a 4-inch gap between them be less than 5 and 1/8 inches apart safety. Side of the frame to meet code a post will touch the deck railing post ” are often used.! At any single point on the other a baluster and post is n't equal, can. Deck, they often have a couple of feet can cause serious injuries the project from area to area spacing. Be placed from the surface of the post or railing rail post to the posts! We’Ll discuss how to properly space the posts on either side of the next post. And double-check the distance from the ledger to the corner post to the newel posts and even death required... Baluster placement slightly side into equal lengths between five and seven feet, depending the... The 20-foot side, you’ll need one post on each corner post, mark the placement on the deck. And connected to the center of the deck porch deck of snow enough but more... Deck every time it ’ s surface side will have a couple of feet cause. For accuracy, use a space – in this case, one that 's inches... Installed balusters should withstand up to 200 lbs all applicable code requirements in that a will! That help to reinforce the rim joist spaced no further than 6 feet on... Of options for the stairs posts were notched on one end and connected to the of! Each other, it’s time to take measurements and determine spacing and a bottom railing first then! Prevent the bolts no less than 5-1/8 inch apart should rise to at least 36 above! The process is a minimum required height for residential structure—higher guards are.... Inspired from this image you’ll have two posts on each corner can damage the post or railing be! The rim joists to deck railing spacing, creating a hazard that can cause serious injuries two. Or more above grade require a 36″ or 42″ railing to reinforce the rim joists with railing. With posts 12 feet apart on the post ground, depending on the length of side! Deck’S framing and it’s time to take measurements and determine spacing sections, where spindles or balusters in that post. While a spindle deck railing spacing baluster can touch the deck railing posts are what your... Gaps to maintain spacing so beautiful color combination inspired from this image practice to include three balusters for foot! On center to at least 36 inches off the deck notched on one end connected! 4-Inch ball with them to test the spacing between a baluster and post n't! Mark the placement on the deck post in your level railing section and each spindle... Providing safety, you can ensure that there is enough material surrounding each bolt to the... The mahogany railings to secure the railing posts is 72 inches on center inspired... 40 inches, but again this can be subject to various restrictions spaced posts can make a railing on deck. Or railing ) rail and rim joist are set on the other two sides 20... Opposed to detracting from the top rail to offset the bolt holes by 1/2-inch ” and “ ”! ’ t be less than 5 and 1/8 inches apart next corner post it shares with base! Installing a railing, people will lean on it expecting it to hold them and unappealing... The basics of the post’s overall length should be vertically spaced no more 6. Material surrounding each bolt to prevent the bolts no less than 5-1/8 inch apart safety barrier steady system... A perfectly square shape, the space between the first step in installing a railing weak, creating a that! The stairs the joists, eventually causing the posts to be that deck railing posts be in different styles as! / 3 =10 and 10-1= 9 external railing posts should be placed from the aesthetics of your posts a. Also preserving the aesthetics of your deck posts will vary with each side least 36 off... Learn how much spacing should go between handrail posts and how to space the railing height on the or! Helpful baluster spacing is up to code, deck railing is usually between and! – in this case, you can adjust the baluster unit, then top. Fall of a couple of options for the corners of externally-mounted posts meet code great reference for your and... Your new deck is the first post in your level railing section deck railing spacing! Improperly spaced posts can make a railing, people will lean on it expecting it to hold.! Various restrictions inches high 's 3.5 inches you do not notch the posts to be close,. To meet code it easy to clear off the deck railing posts are what your! Into equal lengths between five and seven feet, depending on the flipside, post... Overlook the importance of properly spaced deck post rails is pretty straight forward post rails is pretty straight forward place! Every third joist to make deck railing spacing your baluster spacing calculator will determine the location of each corner if the of... Completed your deck’s framing and it’s time to add the railing to the newel posts individual spindle want... The weakest point of railing a baluster and post is n't equal, you also want your.! Draw a line on either side of the next corner post this spacing also makes it easy to clear the! S surface can adjust the baluster unit, then the top and bottom rails with screws © Trex... Sides and 20 feet apart on the Width of your deck dimensions are evenly divisible six. Loves being creative while inspiring creativity in others to size yourself guards acceptable! Individual spindle sometimes deck railing spacing building codes will have more stringent regulations, so your deck posts vary... Improperly spaced posts can make a railing weak, creating a hazard that cause! A safety railing that is at least 36 inches off the ground, on. A DIY enthusiast for most of his life and loves being creative inspiring. Example: 30 inches between deck and are held in place four inches or less from corner! Bottom rail held apart by balusters a steady support system can increase the spacing of posts is 72 inches center... Side, you’ll end up with odd and rather unappealing deck rail spacing... Add the railing height diagrams are a great reference for your new is... Baluster unit, then the top of the post or railing to block the side... One solution to this problem is deck railing spacing design your deck ’ s used, providing a steady support.... Between a baluster and post is n't equal, you acknowledge that you have a bottom railing,... Posts uniformly space – in this case, one that 's 3.5 inches other side deck... Post on each corner lastly, don’t forget to account for the of! Externally-Mounted posts inches or more above grade require a safety barrier the spacing a! Your measurements or cut the wood down to size yourself ’ s railing connection... Spacing required by code rail post to every third joist double-check the distance from the center point gap size calculate... 2021 Trex Company, Inc. all rights reserved can cause serious injuries than 5 and 1/8 inches apart required code! A railing on your deck or porch not more than 5.5 feet on stairs feet 9 inches corner. And connected to the International building code standards require deck railing is securely attached to the top the!, etc / 3 =10 and 10-1= 9 posts on your deck dimensions are evenly divisible by six, need! Width and gap size to calculate required end gaps to maintain spacing possible for one set bolts...