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Stair railing height requirements

Updated February 21, 2017

Proper staircase construction is crucial when building or remodelling a home. The stairs have to be almost perfect to pass the building inspection, and if they are not, they can be expensive to fix. Stair railings are required to have certain heights, depending on if they are indoor or outdoor railings.

Top Rail Height

The top rail height should be between 34 and 38 inches from the top of the nose of the step. This measurement should be consistent for each step. This is why making sure all the steps are the same height is very important. This rule is consistent with indoor and outdoor stair railings.

Interior Stair Landings

Interior star landing railing must protect a person from falling off the side of the landing. The code requirement height of this rail is a minimum of 36 inches and a maximum of 42 inches from the floor to the top of the rail.

Exterior Stair Landings

Exterior stair landings are required to be 42 inches tall and have a handrail between 30 and 34 inches. The railing of the staircase is still allowed to have the railing set between 34 and 38 inches. This protective measure complies with exterior guardrail requirements and is for fall protection purposes.

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About the Author

Adam Yeomans has been writing professionally since 2010, with his work appearing on websites such as eHow. He works in the construction industry as a builder and as an energy efficiency consultant.