Maximum Handrail Projection From Wall

The maximum handrail projection into any stairway allowed currently is 4 1/2 inches. This measurement will be taken from the finished wall to the outside edge of the hand railing.


Reference: 2012 International Building Code - 1012.8 page 259


However, I would also like to point out that this particular building code requires a minimum distance of 36 inches between handrails. With that in mind, it would be difficult to follow the minimum width of the stairway that is also required at 44 inches and would be even worse if the minimum width of the stairway like that of certain residential buildings is 36 inches.

For example, if you have two 4 1/2 inch handrails (one handrails on each side) projecting the maximum distance into a stairway that's 44 inches wide, giving you a total of 9 inches and then subtracting it from 44 inches, you would end up with an unacceptable 35 inch distance in between handrails.

I could not find any exceptions for this building code and would suggest either contacting your local building department for clarification for making the stairway a little wider, if you think this could be a problem with your stair design.

Example: In the picture above, you would measure from the finished wallboard, to the outside edge of the hand railing. Don't forget that there is a minimum of an inch and a half space required from the finished wall to the inside of the hand railing, also.

Attention: Don't forget to check with your local building department to verify any building codes on this website. This information could be incorrect or outdated.

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