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Removing Railing from Porch?

October 13, 2018
last modified: October 13, 2018

I want to remove the hand railings from our front steps. The original steps have a sort of low platform that runs up each side, and side handrails were installed on top of that at some point more recently. I want to remove the from both sides, and put flower pots on the low platform up and down the steps.

The first 2 pictures are of my house, and the 3rd is what I think it will sort of look like when done.


Comments (15)

  • jmm1837
    A photo would be helpful. Speaking as someone with arthritis issues, I always like to see a handrail on at least one side.
    green thanked jmm1837
  • green

    The photos are not showing?

  • jmm1837
    Photos are there now - thanks. You should probably check to find out what code is in your area, but no, I wouldn't want to climb those stairs without a rail.
    green thanked jmm1837
  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    your steps appear to be more steep, and more of them.
    previous owner probably installed the rail for safety, and to meet code issues.
    green thanked Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
  • green

    I need to replace the railings-they are rotting out. It is a custom job and one I am unable to re-create by myself. Instead of rails, I would be putting heavy planters on each side, with tall plants, to give the stairs a bit more of a closed in feel...

  • mainenell
    Yes, I understand WHY you think you should remove the handrails and just put decorations on the steps. Very pretty. But not safe. That many steps generally require a handrail. It is a safety issue.
    green thanked mainenell
  • einportlandor

    The day will come that you wish you had handrails. You or someone you care about will be ill, injured, disabled, pregnant, very young or very old and in need of a stabilizing handrail. Keep them on one side at least.

    green thanked einportlandor
  • handymac

    Local codes may require the handrails. Homeowners insurance often is based on code compliance. That means if the handrails are required by code, you remove them, and someone gets hurt because the rails are missing----insurance company may have grounds for denying a claim.

    Should not be an expensive repair.

    green thanked handymac
  • gracie01

    Your stairs are too narrow for what you show in the inspiration photo.

    green thanked gracie01
  • green

    Thank you for all the answers! What if I replace the heavy wood railing with something like this in oil rubbed bronze? Would that be safe? Do you think it would look ok with the original porch railings? Our home is a live/work artist studio inside, in a mixed use area of houses, warehouses and businesses.

  • Raye Smith

    My opinion is those look like institutional style rails, not a good style for your house. Here is a resource to help with your options https://www.oldhouseguy.com/porches/

  • green

    Thank you. I appreciate the link. I am looking for something sort of funky and industrial, rather than traditional.

  • thinkdesignlive
    Whatever you do on the stairs you will want to do on the upper porch for cohesiveness so it’s not a small job. This will largely be driven by code in your area as what you posted may be too open for the upper porch area. There are ways to mix in funky just depends on your budget.
    Front porch railings · More Info

    Start by going to your city building dept and ask for code restrictions for stair and porch railings and what they tell you will drive your next step.
    green thanked thinkdesignlive
  • green

    Thanks. The current rails on the stairs do not match the porch railing, which is original to the house. I appreciate the feedback. I am going to move this conversation over into design, as I am trying to figure out the aesthetics. I understand the code issues and will comply with them as I design the new funky railings. Thank you everyone!

  • green

    Moderator, please close this thread- I tried to delete but it is still getting comments. Thank you!

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