Upper Wood Banister Handrail Problem

wood stair handrailing banister safety code problem

This particular stairway looks like an accident waiting to happen, especially for anyone who's planning on going up the stairs with a large purse or loose clothing, not to mention the fact that the handrail doesn't go past the concrete stairs.

This is another problem stair builders face while working with existing conditions, during remodels. If this was me, I would've simply removed the concrete stairway and ran the wood stairs all the way to the bottom or better yet built a concrete landing the same height as the risers and then set the wood stairway on top of that.

One of the problems I see here is water sitting on the concrete pad at ground level. If you could build a concrete platform about 7 inches off of the ground or the exact same size as the stairway risers, then you could keep the wood off of the ground and the water off of the wood.

wood handrailing with additional balusters for safety and accident prevention

By simply adding a few extra balusters, you could reduce the chances of someone getting snagged on this section of the stairway handrail, even though it wouldn't solve all of our problems. In order for it to pass most building codes I'm familiar with, the guard railing
would need run past the front edge of the very first step.

For more information on this check out the lower handrail extension section of our stair building code pages.

extended wood handrailing design correction

This illustration provides you with a better handrail design, but I don't think it will pass a current building inspection, simply because there's a big difference in the width of the second step and would be creating problems with stair tread variations.


I'm pretty sure that steps or treads can't vary in size more that 3/8 of an inch from the others, but don't quote me on that.

Remember to always check with your local building department, if you have any doubts or questions about stair building codes, because some of our building code examples might not work in your area or could even be out of date.