What is the longest length allowed for a stair handrail?
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
There is no maxium length specified in the code for a stair handrail, but the longest length for the stair run below the handrail is defined by the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.3) and Florida Building Code (FBC) as a maximum of 147 inches (12’-3”) of vertical height between floor levels or landings. That is an extremely long stair run, though, and most residential stairs will have an intermediate landing for that much height.
Also, a handrail must be continuous for the entire length of a stair, from directly above the top riser to directly above the bottom riser, and terminate (die into) the adjacent wall or a newel post, per International Residential Code (IRC 3126.96.36.199). It can, of course, extend longer into the landings. Top of the handrail is required to be 34 to 38-inches above edge or nosing, it must be easily grippable, and a minimum 1-1/2-inches away from wall.
Also, see our blog posts What is the difference between a handrail and a guardrail? and What is a grippable handrail? and How many exterior steps require a handrail? and When is a handrail required on both sides of stairs?
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