Testing Stairway Handrails - Concentrated Load Of 200 P.S.I.

I don't have a picture of a stair handrail being tested, but they use a machine that would look something like my crude illustration above, to apply pressure to concentrated sections of the handrail. If the handrail system breaks before the minimum required pressure is applied, the handrail system will fail the test.

Most building codes require that a stairway handrail resist a load of 50 pounds per linear feet, applied in any direction.

Single-family homes require a 200 pound concentrated load on the hand railing.

These tests apply concentrated loads to the handrail itself, or the upper section of the handrail unit. There is a special machine that applies pressure on different types of handrails, in a controlled environment, to find out if they can or can't be used on certain types of buildings.

The next question you're going to ask me, is how does this building code work with a guard rail
. I couldn't find the word guard rail
mentioned anywhere in this section. A guard rail
could require more than the amount specified on this page. However, I did find some pictures of tests being done on handrails, that looked like guard rails, if you know what I mean.

People often get the word handrail mixed up with the word guard rail
, but I have seen the word handrail used to refer to a guard rail
, more than once.

Remember, most metal guard rail
s or handrails that are made from metal are going to be stronger than those made from wood. I would imagine, that most wood handrails systems would fail these tests.