US Building Codes for Deck Railings

Posted on Posted in Decking, Stair and Railing

Yes, your deck has railings but are you sure they’re up to standard? The building codes for deck railings come from the International Residential Code (IRC), although local building authorities may set additional restrictions for their specific communities. Before your local building authorities issue a permit for building a deck, they will need to inspect your plans.


Some of the critical restrictions are:


Railings on any deck should be 30 inches or more from the surrounding surface and on at least one side of a stairway leading to the deck. The top of the handrail should be at least 34 inches but not more than 38 inches high.


Balusters must be installed close enough that the space between them is no greater than four inches.


The railing posts should be no farther apart than six feet on the flat deck and no farther apart than 5 1/2 feet on stairs.


If you’re using a bottom rail, make sure it does not sit more than four inches above the deck surface.


Not sure if the deck you already have passes US standards? Call Westside Company at 310 994 4626 or e-mail us at for more information about professional deck inspections and make sure your deck is up to standards. We serve Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.