# Railing - Stairway Handrail Construction

The railing of a hand rails system could be the top or bottom piece that runs in between two sections of the handrail. The railing can also be used as something to hold onto, while walking up and down a set of stairs. The picture below provides you with an example of a rail.

#### Bottom Rail Building Code Problems

In the past it wasn't uncommon to see a rail at the bottom of a handrail system, but today's building codes could make something like this a thing of our past. If I built a stairway handrail today using a bottom rail, I would have problems with one particular building code.

One of the building codes requires that a 4 inch sphere cannot pass through any parts of the stairway, including the handrail. If I ran a railing parallel to the top of the stairway, this would leave a large triangular shaped gap between the bottom of the railing and the top of the stair tread.

You would definitely be able to stick a 4 inch round ball through this space. However, there are other ways to solve problems like these, but you're going to need to get creative and start thinking outside of the box.

I wanted to point something else out, I don't think I've ever heard anyone who I worked with, refer to any stair parts, including the top and bottom banisters of the handrail, as the railing. The top section of the handrail is usually referred to as the handrailing or banister and the lower railing would be referred to as the bottom rail.

Stairs / Stair Glossary

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