International building codes for handrails and steps provides a minimum standard for the height and rise of a staircase. Find out how to build a staircase to code with tips from a licensed remodeling contractor in this free video on home improvements.
Hi I'm Gipson and I'm going to talk to you about the international building code for handrails and steps. Essentially what the international building code does is it provides minimum standards for building or renovating and specifically as it has to do with residential as provided by the international residential code. Now what is covered in this is as it concerns to the steps is there is a maximum rise or a maximum height from one, from the top of one tread to the top of the next and this maximum height as measured from a finished surface so whether it is a solid wood or a carpet in this case the maximum it can be is 7 and 3/4 inches and then also as you have a number of steps the maximum difference between a height of any two treads can be a difference of a maximum of 3/8 of an inch. Now the other standard as it has to do with the steps is you have to have a clear dimension minimum, clear dimension of 36 inches in width so if you have handrails such as this that stick out or extend off the wall, the minimum width that you can have between the handrails or a clear opening is 36 inches. Now there are also standards that tell you how far the edge of the handrail has to be from the wall. It also covers the maximum height. Typically this height is around anywhere from a minimum height of 31 inches or down to 27 inches if you have two rails. The other standard that is covered in the international building code as it relates to handrails and stairs is the minimum height clearance that you have from any step to the ceiling area above you. So if the step extends past where the ceiling starts for going up then you have to measure from that tread up. Now to establish what these minimums are you either have to have a copy of the international building code or international residential code or you can contact your local building and codes department. It would be your city department if you live within the city limits. If you live outside the city limits that would be your county. So prior to building anything or renovating in your home as it pertains to stairs or handrails you want to make sure that you check the specific codes and the specific measurements and requirements. So I'm Tim Gipson with how the international building code applies to handrails and steps.