Stair Hand Rails
Design Ideas for Your Front Porch or DeckOften overlooked in porch designs, stair hand rails shouldn't be taken for granted. The right porch hand rails can add to the overall appearance of your porch or deck.
Your options are limited only by compliance with local building codes and your own imagination.
I'm a big proponent of porch hand rails. Remember, it only takes one "step" to fall!
Stair Handrail Design Pictures
Outdoor stairs have to meet exacting construction requirements to pass most building inspections. If they don't meet codes they are often difficult and expensive to fix.
Once you select a design be sure to review our porch hand rail codes and options section.
Stair Hand Rail Design FeaturesWe'll use the photos below to show you specific features of stair hand rails you may want to consider.
Placing the actual hand rail along the balusters (pickets) on the railing instead of the top rail is an option. It must; however, still meet your local building code height requirement (normally 34-38 inches above the stair treads).
Note also that the hand rail is the same dimension and shape as the balusters.
This is the same type of railing system as in the photo previously; however, the porch hand rail is located adjacent to the top rail. This is most typical location where we would normally reach for stair hand rails.
Either location works (if built to code). Just make sure it is visible to your users.
I like the design above. The hand rail is located adjacent to the top rail and wraps around the front of the supporting column.
This gives the user a clearly visual picture of the hand rail location and also adds a nice overall touch, much like adding interior trim to a room.
There is usually no requirement the balusters have to be vertical pickets as is the case in the photo above. The top rail also serves as the handrail.
This is acceptable in certain locales and must meet specific width requirements. This is aesthetically more pleasing; however, it does not necessarily provide the best grip capability.
Consistency is key for stair hand rails. Make sure you place the hand rail in the same location along the entire run even it stops and starts again as in the photo above.
Wrought iron hand rails are always a good option. Maintained correctly, they can last a very long time. Wrought iron can range from the a very simple design to a more elaborate pattern.
Hand rails don't have to be perpendicular to your porch either! Curving wrought iron hand rails open up the entrance giving it a more spacious look.
Note how the actual stair hand rail is located lower than the top rail. You don't see that specific design often and it looks great.
We encourage you to consider adding hand rails to your porch even if it only has a step or two. This open porch doesn't require it but adds appeal and a measure of safety for your family and guests.
Something else to consider in your hand rail design. The hand rail must be a continuous piece uninterrupted as in the photo above.
Although there are supporting columns in the middle of the run, the hand rail is continuous in that it does not start and stop at each column.
This is acceptable (photo above) although it is not a continuous run. The stairs are broken by a landing in the middle and as long as the landing complies with building codes, you don't have to have a continuous run.
Solid railing systems still require a hand rail. This one, a wrought iron hand rail, is attached to the brick.
We came across this hand rail in Blowing Rock, North Carolina and thought it was pretty cool. These would be ideal for a porch or for deck hand rails too.
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