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Thread: Stair Railings

  1. #1
    Terry Tubridy Guest

    Default Stair Railings

    Anyone have any recommendations regarding railings for a two-story wooden stairwell?

    Stairs have a landing at the midpoint, with a 12" space between the two stair sections. Bldg is a Church/School so I'm thinking of going with solid walls running from bottom of stringers to slightly higher than railing height (I want to avoid a continuous wall from the floor of the bottom deck to the top of the railing on the 2nd deck landing). Each inside stringer would have its own wall with a 1-by cap and railing. The walls would be joined at the midpoint landing for a continuous turn. Plans originally called for steel stairs but change to wood did not include design update.

    Joe Fusco recommended two books back in July but I've had no luck finding them at Amazon, JLC, or Taunton. The books are Contract Joinery by Ken Austin and A Treatise on Stairbuilding & Handrailing by W&A Mowat.

    20 yrs as a Marine gave me lots of project management skills but I only have a year of carpentry (and no design) experience. Any and all help is appreciated.

    Terry

  2. #2
    Mike Nathan Guest

    Default Re: Stair Railings

    For a public use situation.
    Start with your local building inspector.See what they must have.
    If you know a architect they have standard specs for this sort of thing. They have a book called Architectural Standards. I'll tell you how to breath.
    Most handrails have to have a maximum dia. @ 2".
    Verticle hieght off nosing to top of handrail,should be around 33" .
    Think of thousands of people hanging on it, Anchor it to wall!.Kids are merciless to stair systems. Small children grab a handrail from underneath.
    Watch little kids 2 to 4 years use a handrail sometimes.
    Make your handrail "graspable" from above and beneath.
    42" is a good min.hieght for a balcony railing.

    The handrails where we live have to go horizonital at end of run, then return to wall, so clothing won't catch as you run down stairs in emergency.

    Mowat is a PHD in stairs, you won't need that book for a straight run.
    That book is available from Linden Publishing Co.
    3845 N.Blackstone, Fresno Calif 93726

  3. #3
    Mike Nathan Guest

    Default Re: Stair Railings

    For a public use situation, start with your local building inspector, see what they require.
    If you know a architect, they have standard specs for this sort of thing. They have a book called Architectural Standards. I'll tell you how to breath.
    Most handrails have to have a maximum dia. @ 2".
    Verticle hieght off nosing to top of handrail,should be around 33" .
    Think of thousands of people hanging on it, Anchor it to wall!.Kids are merciless to stair systems. Small children grab a handrail from underneath.
    Watch little kids 2 to 4 years use a handrail sometimes.
    Make your handrail "graspable" from above and beneath.
    42" is a good min.hieght for a balcony railing.
    The handrails where we live have to go horizonital at end of run, then return to wall, so clothing won't catch as you run down stairs in emergency.
    Mowat's book is a "PHD" in stairbuilding, you won't need that book for a straight run.
    That book is available from Linden Publishing Co.
    3845 N.Blackstone, Fresno Calif 93726

  4. #4
    Terry Guest

    Default Re: Stair Railings

    Thanks Mike.

    Kid abuse is why I'm looking at going with walls along the exposed sides of the stairs. The walls would be sturdier and I'm afraid the "1-by" stringers won't support the racking of railings & balusters over a long-term period (although I guess I could reinforce the stringers).

    Thanks for the code info and I'll be sure to get with my inspector...

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