Stairway, Handrail & Guardrail Regulations

Residential Regulations
  1. Stairways shall be a minimum of 36 inches wide and shall be equipped with a handrail.
    • Maximum riser height is 7 3/4 inches.  No riser shall vary from another by more than 3/8 inch.
    • Minimum tread depth is 10 inches.  No tread shall vary from another by more than 3/8 inch.
    • All treads shall have nosing (leading edge) that protrudes past the riser 3/4 - 1 1/4 inch.  No nosing shall vary from another by more than 3/8 inch.
  2. Handrails are required for all stairs that have 3 or more risers.
    • All handrails shall return into the wall or newel post.
    • Handrails shall be 34 to 38 inches from the nose of the tread.
  3. Guardrails are required for porches, decks, balconies, ramps, open sides of stairs or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below.
    • Guardrails shall be a minimum of 36 inches tall.
    • Spindles in guardrails shall be a maximum of 4 inches apart.