railing faqs

Can Perennial Wood be used to create handrails and guardrails?
Perennial Wood decking includes a railing system suitable for guardrails. Since these railings are 3 ¼" wide, however, they cannot be used for handrails, which need to be 2 ½" in width or smaller so they can be grasped easily.

Does Perennial Wood come with any rail installation tools?
No, but Perennial Wood railings do not require any special tools to install. Please review our Perennial Wood decking installation guide and check your local building code requirements before starting your project.

What should I know about handrails and guardrails?
To prevent injury, guardrails must be installed on any deck that is greater than 30 inches above the ground. In addition to guardrails, handrails should be used at stairs and differ from a guardrail in that they must be "graspable," as defined by building codes and DCA-6 Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide. Stairs with four or more risers require a handrail on at least one side. Be careful not to confuse guardrail caps with handrails. DCA-6 refers to the American Wood Council's Design for Code Acceptance 6 – also referred to as the "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, Based on the 2009 International Residential Code." You can find this guide at www.awc.org.

What are deck guardrail requirements?
Guardrails, posts and handrails must be capable of resisting 200 pounds of load applied in any direction to the top of the rail. Special connectors must be used to meet this load requirement. Guardrail should stand at least 36 inches above the deck surface, as required by DCA-6 Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide. Guardrail pickets/balusters shall be no more than four inches apart, as required by DCA-6 Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide. DCA-6 refers to the American Wood Council's Design for Code Acceptance 6 – also referred to as the "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, Based on the 2009 International Residential Code." You can find this guide at www.awc.org.

What type of structure requires a handrail?
To prevent injury, all stairs with four or more risers must have a graspable handrail on at least one side.

How do I install my rails?
Connections for guardrails made from Perennial Wood decking are installed in the same fashion as connections for traditional wood decking guardrails. Visit the installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

Can Perennial Wood decking be used for stair treads and risers?
Yes. The basic requirements shown in DCA-6 Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide are based on the International Residential Code and may be used in most localities. However, check with your local codes officials to ensure compliance. The building code requirements for stairs are strict in order to prevent serious injury. DCA-6 refers to the American Wood Council's Design for Code Acceptance 6 – also referred to as the "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, Based on the 2009 International Residential Code." You can find this guide at www.awc.org.

Are there lighting regulations for my stairway structure?
Lighting for stairways and landings must be controlled by either motion detection switches or an electrical switch within the home.