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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    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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    2,862

    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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    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
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    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
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Queens NY
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    Default

    a pic of the junk that needs replacing. I intended to make the new ones higher and anchor them better, those rickety columns aren't structural, and may be replaced with 6x6, not sure yet.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage AK
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    344

    Default

    To my knowledge most local codes have adopted the ADA standards.
    They the ADA standards are a good place to start any way.

    Found at http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html


    Generally it must pass the 4" ball test must be 42" tall and withstand minimum force of 200lbs lateral force applied to the top edge.

    Generally one must know a bunch of stuff to make a proper guard rail

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    22

    Default railings and codes

    The first place to go is the place you get a building permit from, i.e. the place with jurisdiction over what you will build (many local libraries have copies of codes for free inspection). Each municipality usually adopts the basic code as noted above, 4", etc. but some opt for more restrictive rules. To further muddy the water, there are places with NO codes, but then there is the National code.

    Know the rules before you start. Do NOT assume anything or let anyone tell you that "x" is ok! Pay for a copy of that portion of the code applicable to your project and KEEP IT!

    None of this really matters until someone gets hurt!
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