Monday, December 3, 2012

Does my deck need a railing?

Does my new deck need a railing? Some of my deck is about 12 inches off the ground but on some sides there is 26 inches to the ground.


The answer to your question is yes you do need a railing and no you don’t need a railing.

The parts of your deck that are 12 inches off the ground do not require a railing. They do not require anything at all.

The parts of your deck that are 26 inches off the ground do need a railing. Any area of your deck that is more the 24 inches off the ground requires a railing. When you get into building a railing you can’t just get away with installing a railing at the proper height. You have to also install spindles. Your spindles should be set at no farther apart then 4 inches. This is the building code.

If the ground around your deck is fairly up and down then you might want to put a railing around most of the deck instead of trying to install a railing only were the deck is too high off the ground.

A great way to meet the building code requirements is to install seating around the outside edge of the deck. Your seating cannot though just be a bench seat. Your seating to qualify must have a back rest that acts as a railing also. It’s a great way to jazz up your deck, create much needed seating and comply with the building code.

Another way is to install stairs in areas where your deck is to high off the ground, stairs also can act as seating and help give your deck a more finished look. If you have an area that is small but over the height limit then stairs are an easy way to meet the code.

Thanks for the question

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. Good answer. It really does depend on what kind of deck you have. If there’s a possibility of falling off from your deck and hurting yourself from the fall, it’s best to put a railing on your deck.

    - Kylee Groves -

  2. I second Kylee. Safety is always first. But I’m a practical person, too, and having something that’s a step away from necessity is definitely not my thing. As long as the deck is clean, it’s fine by me.


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  4. can i just put in steps around the deck and not put a railing