Learn basic handrail standards to add sturdy railings to your home
By Glyn Sheridan
While a handrail may flatter the style of a home or a building, its main purpose is to offer stability to individuals who walk on a porch or a deck or climb and descend stairs. As such, the American Disability Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide handrail design recommendations and specifications.
According to OSHA, a safe handrail will support 200 pounds of weight applied downward or from an outward angle. This ensures that the handrail is sturdy enough to support the leaning weight of a person.
A handrail height between 30 and 37 inches is acceptable for most applications. However, if the handrail will accommodate disabled individuals, it should be between 34 and 38 inches high.
If you're looking to make your home handicap accessible, then you can use ADA's commercial handrail standards as a guide. ADA standards suggest that rails should be continuous, meaning they should run from the point of entry to the point of exit without any gaps.
In order for an individual to grasp a handrail securely, it should be at least 1 1/2 inches from the wall. This allows adequate space behind the rail for fingers and knuckles.
The diameter of the rail should be between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches to allow for ease of grasp.
If the handrails and the fittings are separate pieces, the handrail should not rotate within the fittings. In addition, the posts that support the handrail should be a minimum of eight feet apart.
About the Author
Glyn Sheridan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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