Attic Handrail Safety
By Greg Vanden Berge
Some stairways that lead up to your attic will have a
safety or guard rail
to prevent people from falling down the stairs or off of them. Attic handrail safety can provide homeowners with a little peace of mind if they just follow the few simple steps. Make sure that the handrail is at least 42 inches in height. 42 inches is the minimum height for guard rails and can be found in the uniform building code.
The uniform building code is the Bible to the building industry and sets the standard for new construction and remodeling.
The 42 inches will be measured from the floor to the top of the handrail. Some older homes will have handrails that are 36 inches and some of them will be even 30 inches in height. A 30 inch handrail provides limited protection for anyone who is over five foot tall. 30 inches becomes the center point for any one over 60 inches and these people could easily fall over the short handrail.
Now for the homes that don't have any attic handrail safety systems. Some homes that were built before the 1960s won't have a handrail system at all in the stairway. Keep something in mind here, when these people were building these houses, some of them were trying to save money, some of them figured that it wasn't going to be a big deal and other builders simply forgot to install them.
It's not hard to install a working attic handrail for safety but keep in mind, that if the handrail isn't the right height, it will provide you with limited protection. Attic handrails that are lower than 30 inches can provide young children or others who are shorter than five feet with very little protection but can be a safety hazard to anyone over 5 feet tall.
If your attic doesn't have a safety handrail, use caution and be careful in these areas of your home. It wouldn't be a bad idea to install a locking doorknob if your attic access has a door that can be secured to prevent small children or other people from entering these unsafe areas.