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how to alter existing stair railing to comply with code?

crm caton
3 years ago

State and county (Fairfax, VA) code is: "Once the opening between the railing and the ceiling exceeds 4 inches and the railing is less than 34 inches from the nose of the treads, an additional rail would be required to raise the height of the guardrail." I'm not even sure what an additional rail would look like here. Ideas?


Our contractor has removed drywall (stairs to basements) and installed stair railings without any issues with inspectors, but we weren't so lucky. (how could anyone possibly fall through that space?) Our measurements near the top are: 21" 26" 31" - heights from middle of spindle (bottom) to ceiling and 2.5. 6.25" 10" - heights from top of hand rail to ceiling. All of this is from spindles 1,3, and 5 respectively.


The contractor's solution (he's not happy about closing off the space/likes it open) is to drywall and remove the upper half of the railing - extend the wall. I'd like to just attach the upper end of the railing to the ceiling, but the contractor doesn't like that look. I do think it would be better than drywalling and cutting the stairwell in half - and we're more than willing to pay for it - it would likely require us to buy a new railing and more spindles (we love our contractor!) any other ideas out there?




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