What Is The Right Deck Railing Height?

If you’ve ever thought about making your very own wooden deck but thought maybe it looked too difficult, you are not alone. Many homeowners tend to shy away from projects like this because they just seem too difficult to pull off without professional help, or they’re not sure of things like deck railing height.

If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re going to want to keep reading. Building a deck on your own is not only doable, but it’s really quite simple and you’ll be able to customize your deck to your exact specifications, which is always a huge plus when it comes to building something from scratch.

How High Should My Deck Railing Be?

There’s a reason for requirements to the height of deck railings, and it has changed over the years to meet modern safety measures. Building codes are stricter than ever these days, and it’s for good reason. If your deck railing is too low, you could risk people falling off. But, if it’s too high, you could risk structural integrity.

The code for deck railing height is actually 36 inches from deck floor to the top of the railing. This includes any sort of top piece.

Now, if you’re dealing with a commercial property or building condos, the height requirement is actually 42 inches. However, that does differ form country to country, so always double check with your region’s building codes.

Tip: if your deck or patio is less than 30 inches off the ground, you actually don’t need a deck railing. Yes, it does look better and adds safety, but it’s not required by building codes.

How to Build a Deck

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This is a great step by step guide that can help you along the way in building a beautiful deck for your home. This should help you understand the answers to things like what deck railing height you need and what materials work best. With each step detailed, you can easily see with great photos just how a deck needs to be built and what it should look like step by step. Here are some of the basics.

Remove old Concrete or Flooring

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You are going to want to make sure that all existing flooring such as concrete or even an existing deck is removed before you go to work on your neck deck. You can easily go to work by using demolition tools such as hammers, pickaxes and even some drills to get rid of any old flooring so that the job in creating a new deck is a lot easier on you.

Create a Concrete Mounted Frame

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The next step is to create a concrete mounted frame. This will basically be the bones of your new deck. It’s a bit of a cumbersome step since you need to make sure your frame is built to exact specifications, but the frame will help you create your deck shape. If you want to do something a bit more difficult, such as a curved deck or a deck with a specific shape, this step will take you a bit longer.

Install Deck Footings

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The deck footings are very important in this step because this is what is going to make your deck secure and prevent it from cracking or shifting through time and use. For this step you need to use posts or brackets in order to keep the whole deck together. During this step, you can also install pergola posts too if you would like to later install a covered area onto your deck.

Deck Frame

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Once your footings are dry and your wall mount frame is done, it’s time to install the deck frame. This part of the build is not very hard, but it will take some time, so make sure you have set aside a few days to get this step of the project done. You will be laying foundation to the exact specifications of your deck, so it can be a time-consuming process but a very important one when it comes to the progress of your deck project.

Deck joists

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The deck joists are pieces of lumber that run perpendicular to the actual deck floor that actually hold the floor up. These are important pieces of the overall project as these joists will act as mini support beams throughout your entire deck. This is a bit of a tedious step since you are dealing with smaller pieces of wood and having to fit them in to exact specifications, but it will go by quickly once you have the hang of it.

Installing the Deck Floor

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Here’s when you realize just how close to completion you are with this project. You will actually be laying the lumber for your deck and see it all come together. There are plenty of tips and tricks when it comes to laying the wood, so look around and see which method is the best suited for you. You also can learn different tricks from different types of wood, so if you are laying oak, for example, look up specific details on oak wooden boards and how to care for them. You are going to want to do this step carefully and precisely, so do not rush, take your time, and enjoy the process. The end reward to this step will be great and definitely worth all the work.

Deck Trim

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Once the deck is done, the trim is the last part before you stain and seal. The trim should run lengthwise down your entire deck and add both a protective and decorative element to your entire project. This will really give your deck shape and prevent any wood rot on the sides of your actual wooden boards. You can get as artistic or contemporary with this step as you like, but a basic wooden trim is the most basic and most popular way to go. This way, if you want to add a fancy deck railing concept in later, the trim will not distract from that concept.

Stain and Seal

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Depending on the type of wood you used for this project, you’re going to want to be sure that you have stained and sealed it correctly. This part is especially important for finer woods such as redwood. This will really bring out the beautiful natural colors of your wood and help preserve it for many years to come.

There are plenty of great stains out there made for your wood of choice, so make sure you do some research and find the best stain available for your type of wood. It may take a little extra time looking for the perfect stain, but once you have your stain on and see just how great your wood looks, you’ll realize it was all worth it. Your sealant is just as important since this is what will protect your wood from cold, sun and rain. Depending on where you live, you are going to want to find a perfect stain for your part of the world.

Cool Deck Railing Ideas

When it comes to deck railing, you have to really look around and see what’s out there that you like. Finding the perfect deck railing height, for example, can be a bit difficult, but it’s absolutely doable if you have the proper tools and guidelines. Here is a list of deck railing ideas that are most popular within home design right now.

A Modern Seascape

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This deck railing by Design Builders Md looks as if it’s about to guide you to a serene ocean side view. This deck railing is a bit of a shorter railing with metal and wire cables that gives the look of sophistication with a modern twist.

This would be a perfect deck railing concept to have at a beach house or vacation home by the lake if you have a more modern house you want to furnish. This deck railing style will give the whole perimeter of your house an interesting feel and is sure to impress all your visitors. This just goes to show you how much of an impression a deck railing can have on your home and how they can bring in a specific feel to a given space.

Vintage Flair

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This deck railing by Deck Guardian brings in just enough vintage feel with a very modern flair. This is a clean looking deck that adds plenty of texture and dimension into a perimeter space and would be perfect for both traditional and modern homes.

The textured squared null posts bring in plenty of intrigue and adds a lot more to the area than just a deck railing. This deck railing gives you a perfect example of just how much a deck railing can bring into a space. If you want to step this idea up with an even more modern twist, make sure your posts have lights in them to act as a guided light path at night. It will make your entire home look much more elegant.

Basic Elegance

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This basic deck railing design by Apple Creek Remodeling, LLC offers plenty of perspective on deck railings. This is a prime example of a simple yet elegant design and goes to show you that not all deck railing ideas need to be complex in order to look good.

This deck railing is an ideal height and will add plenty of support while going up and down the stairs, as well as just looking good. While the railing depicted here is white with black metal poles, you can easily paint this kind of railing different colors to give you contrast. Even with a basic design, you can add so much to your living space and guests are sure to notice the flair brought into the space by these types of railings.

Traditional Style

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This traditional style deck by Affordable Views by RJB Construction, Inc. gives you plenty of perspective on how timeless a traditional style deck can look. This is a deck railing with a long line due to the large stack of stairs and the patio area at the top looks even more inviting due to this traditional yet elegant deck railing.

What’s great is that this style could look great with so many different house and patio designs, you just need to decide which areas of your house need this type of deck railing. While white is more traditional, you can easily use the raw wood color of this deck railing to give your house a more interesting color contrast.

Transitional Deck

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This transitional deck ideal by Nick Ryan offers plenty of texture and the deck railing itself even acts as an accent piece. This is a great design to have if you have several shorter areas of deck, you’d like to add railing to, and you are going outside that traditional box decked in feel.

These deck railings look fantastic as they match the wooden elements of the house perfectly, both the natural wood color and the white accents. This is a great idea concept to show you just how versatile deck railings can be and how the height of your deck railing can also bring in so much texture to your outdoor living space.

Simple Design

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This gorgeous deck design by Fredric J. Ueckert brings in plenty of class without all the frills of bulky railing posts. This design is ideal for an outdoor sitting area where you’d like to take in more of the scenery, like this gorgeous forest scenery in the photo.

While deck railings definitely serve a useful purpose, you don’t want to overdo it if you want the main focus to be on your gorgeous surroundings. This is a prime example how great and minimal a deck railing can look that won’t distract from the scenery around you. This deck railing idea is mostly just wood and cabling, but the design is elegant yet simple making it ideal for an outdoor sitting are near a babbling brook or river.

The Wrap Up

As you can see, there are so many great deck and deck railing designs that are sure to blend in that modern feel with a dash of contemporary flair or traditional nostalgia. It really just depends on what design style you’re going for and your exact specifications can move around that initial idea concept.

If you like the more traditional look, for example, you can’t go wrong with elaborate posts that bring in plenty of texture to space. If you are looking at a more minimalistic design, the photo from that forest sitting area is a great way to encircle an area yet leaving it open so that you can see all the gorgeous natural views around you.

Whatever you decide, there are so many great ideas and tips and tricks on how to make your ideas come to fruition. Whether you need a deck railing for support for stairs or you just want to add some more decorative elements to your home that can also act as accent pieces, you are sure to find just what you want and you can make it all happen on your own.