Building a deck is a project many homeowners decide to do themselves. It is important to consider the Connecticut building code requirements when designing your structure. One particular area that is strictly regulated is the height of railings or guards. This is to provide protection from falling off the deck and possibly injuring a family member or guest.
Deck Railing Height
The height of a railing is measured from the top of the floor boards to the top edge of the railing. If a deck's floor surface is more than 30 inches from the ground it must have a railing. The height of this railing must not be less than 36 inches. It is wise to build a higher railing if your deck is more than 6 feet from the ground. This provides additional protection from falling and provides a barrier that is more difficult to climb.
The openings between each spindle in the guard must be less than 4 inches. According to the building code, a 4-inch sphere cannot pass through the guard in any location. There should be no horizontal wood members installed in between the guard spindles to prevent climbing. Spindles should be fastened in a way that makes them difficult to detach. Several long wood screws through the top and bottom will accomplish this.
It is good practice to install a vertical 4-by-4 support every 4 feet for a guard. This support should be bolted to the wood floor joists in a manner that provides rigidity for the posts. The support posts prevent the guard from failing during a significant side impact. This can occur if someone is pushed or is falling towards the railing.
Have your plans reviewed prior to building the deck by your local building authority. This avoids having to change your design after it is built. Once completed, have the entire structure inspected before using.
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