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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Queens NY
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    Default Balcony Railing Project

    I need to build a bunch of balcony railings for a property i'm a partner in. problem is, i have never built a balcony railing nore do i have an artistic bone in my body. i have looked online and found a lot of neat stuff, unfortunately i have to do them on the cheap, so the money i spend will go into simple but strong railings. The building is old, over 100 years, so i would like to make something that doesn't look to modern. Do any of you guys know where i can find design ideas? Right now i'm thinking just a top and bottom rail with square uprights (i said i wasn't very artistic!). What is a good spacing for the uprights? i see 4-5" in some drawings. What size/gauge should i be using? They will be around 6-8 feet long and anchor to columns or 6x6 posts. Should i put mounting plates to the decking? I will have to build them to size and truck them almost 400 miles so a mounting system that offers some adjustment would be great. Any input is appreciated!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Los Angeles
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laiky View Post
    What is a good spacing for the uprights?
    there is no "good" spacing only "Code" spacing
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Eugene, Oregon
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    there is no "good" spacing only "Code" spacing
    What he said. Handrails are a big deal in most places and the local building codes will stipulate the "requirements". You should start there before you do anything IMHO.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    San Diego
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    there is no "good" spacing only "Code" spacing
    Ed speaks the truth.

    If you really want to get technical, you should also find out about the required minimum height for the top of the railing. If you are doing any handrails, you need to be aware of not only the shape of the handrail, but also the height as it relates to any stairs, and finally the details of any returns. Quite often, the handrail need to return so as not to leave protrusions for clothing to catch on (in an emergency egress situation).

    It all depends on the code requirements in your area... and the inspector(s), if any.

    Keep the design simple and build it well. Building something with thought and care will often lend enough to the design in and of itself.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Medford MA
    Posts
    542

    Default

    beyond meeting the code...

    check out king metals (http://www.kingmetals.com)
    or architectural iron designs (http://www.archirondesign.com)
    for ideas -- they have pretty extensive on line catalogs with
    lots of pictures.

    f

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Queens NY
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    Default

    Thank you all for your input, i will follow up with my partner who lives in the area. Then i'm sure i will have more questions. I will also try to find the pictures of the existing balcony railings. My biggest hurdle is that the property is almost 400 miles away, and i have a day job
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    8

    Default

    also keep in mind that there are sometimes a minimum horizontal load at a specificed height that it must withstand.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    189

    Default

    This might be too obvious but... search Google Images with a simple query of "balcony railings"

    I got some nice pics at the link below since I recently considered a similar project:

    http://images.google.com/images?gbv=...ilings&spell=1

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Queens NY
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    Default

    Bodybagger-
    I don't think the existing railings are 30" high! Luckily for me it's not in NYC. Actually it's close to canada. From what i understand, there aren't many codes or inspections that take place up there. I have no intentions of building anything shoddy or questionable. I take any safety related thing i do very seriously. I will likely build a test railing first and determine fit and strength based on that, the columns are likely to be replaced. Maybe with 6x6 or 4x4 with an outer decorative cover. Either way the attachemnet method will be robust and i can also screw feet into the decking for verticle loads.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
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    2,239

    Default

    Laiky,

    Good advice with regards to meeting local building codes.

    The only thing I've got to add, after seeing the scope of said project. It isn't going to be CHEAP no matter how you go. With the price of steel today, that project will cost twice what it would have 18mos ago.

    Good luck.

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