Oftentimes if you have installed a deck that is low to the ground you probably don’t think you need a railing. Other times you might think that a handrail is only necessary if your deck is more than 30 inches above the ground.

The answer isn’t always black and white though, as there are other deciding factors when it comes to deciding whether or not to install a railing on your deck.

Why Would I Need Deck Railing?

Some things you should take into consideration when making your decision are:

  • Code violations (The height of your deck off the ground).
  • How many people will be using the deck.
  • If small children or elderly people will be using the deck.
  • Your decks location.
  • What you will be using the deck for.

There’s a Decking Code

If your deck is below 30 inches from the ground then you usually don’t need a railing, but check with your city ordinances as some might have different regulations.

There are also two types of decks that almost always require railings:

1. Decks located in commercial areas such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.

2. Roof decks.

Related: Deck Replacement: When It’s Needed & What You Need To Do

How Many People Will Be Using The Deck

If you are constantly entertaining large groups of people on your deck then a railing is probably a good idea.

You don’t want anyone falling off or getting hurt because there was no railing to prevent it.

Even if you don’t entertain often, if you have a lot of people over for BBQs or gatherings a railing can provide some extra safety for your guests.

Do Small Children Or Elderly People Use The Deck?

If you have small children or elderly people using your deck then a railing is definitely something you should install.

You want to do everything you can to prevent anyone from getting hurt, and a railing will help to keep everyone safe.

Your Deck’s Location

The location of your deck can also play a role in whether or not you need a railing.

If your deck is in a high traffic area then a railing is a good idea.

You don’t want anyone walking into your deck and falling off, so a railing will help to keep everyone safe.

Another thing to consider is if your deck is near a pool.

If so, then a railing is definitely something you should install as it will help to keep everyone safe.

What You’ll Be Using The Deck For

The last thing to consider is what you’ll be using the deck for?

If you plan on using it for dining then a railing is a good idea. You don’t want anyone accidentally knocking over a chair and falling off the deck.

If you plan on using the deck for entertaining then a railing is also a good idea. You don’t want anyone spilling their drink or knocking over a glass and falling off the deck.

The Different Types of Deck Railing

There are various different types of deck railing available on the market, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Wood railing

The most common type of railing is wood. Wood railings are usually made from pressure treated lumber and cedar. They are both durable and look great.

Related: How To Care For Pressure Treated Wood (THE RIGHT WAY!)

Aluminium railing

Another popular type of railing is aluminum. Aluminum railings are becoming more popular as they are low maintenance and look great.

Glass railing

Glass railings are also becoming more popular as they provide a clear view and don’t obstruct the view.

To be honest, glass railings are used a lot more in commercial applications such as office buildings, restaurants, and hotels.

They are also used in some high-end homes where the owners want to show off their view. Glass railings can be expensive though, so they might not be the best choice for everyone.

Composite railing

Composite railings are also an option. Composite railings are made from a variety of materials such as wood, plastic, and metal.

Related: Facts About Composite Decking

Vinyl railing

Vinyl railing is another option. Vinyl railings are made from PVC and come in a variety of colors. They are also low maintenance and looks great.

No Railing?

If you’ve decided that you don’t need a railing then there are a few things you can do to make your deck safer.

One thing you can do is to add a handrail. A handrail will give people something to grab onto if they feel like they are going to fall.

Another thing you can do is to add some lights to your deck. This will help people to see where they are walking and prevent them from falling.

You can also add some safety netting to the sides of your deck. This will help to catch anyone who falls off.

And lastly, you can just tell people to be careful. This might not be the most effective solution, but it’s better than nothing.

As you can see, there are a few things to consider when deciding if you need railing on your deck.

FAQs

Can I just add a handrail if I don’t want a railing?

Yes, you can add a handrail to your deck if you don’t want a full railing. You can also add some lights or safety netting to make it safer.

Do I need a permit to add a railing to my deck?

It depends on where you live. You should check with your local building department to see if you need a permit.

Are there any regulations I need to follow when installing a railing?

It depends on where you live. You should check with your local building department to see if there are any regulations you need to follow.

I have a pool, do I need a railing around my deck?

It is recommended that you have a railing around your deck if you have a pool. This will help to keep everyone safe.

About the Author

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