Working Out Your Perfect Deck Railing Height

Compared to patios, most garden decking is intended to create a more clearly demarcated area in your garden. Rather than just being a paved section, decks tend to be raised off the ground and are often surrounded by balustrades and a deck railing, creating an enclosed, self-contained and distinct seating area.

There are several reasons to include handrails in the design of a deck. For decks that are raised significantly off the ground, they become an important safety feature. They can, of course, also be used for decoration.

An important part of weighing up these considerations is deciding on the height of your deck railing. Depending on how high your deck is off the ground, guidelines determine the minimum height of both the railings and the balustrade. Then you have to consider whether you want a railing fixed to the side of a balustrade, or running along the top. The deck railing height will therefore be influenced by the height of the balustrades themselves.

Deck railing height and regulations

Decks can be built, like patios, to sit level with the rest of the garden. But for reasons of protecting the timber from damp and decay, they are much more commonly raised off the ground to some extent.

If the deck is raised, building regulations make specifications for the minimum height of balustrades. While these only specifically reference decking on commercial premises – in other words, in a private residential garden, you don’t strictly speaking need a balustrade – it is good practice to follow the guidelines for safety reasons.

The height of the balustrade will obviously influence the deck railing height. Regulations make two recommendations, one for ‘low-level’ decking where the deck is 300mm or less off the ground, and for ‘high-level’ decking over 300mm. For low-level decking, balustrades should be a minimum of 900mm higher than the deck. For high-level decking, they should be at least 1100mm high.

In addition, regulations state that for domestic use, handrails should be a minimum of 900mm above the parapet of the deck, and for commercial use, 1100mm.

Starting points

These regulations give you your starting point for deciding on deck railing height. For a low-level deck in a private garden, if you wanted to keep the balustrade as low as possible, you would have to have the railing on top of the balustrade, as both must be a minimum of 900mm high. Your could of course have both rail and balustrade higher, but this might start to impede on views.

For a high-level deck, the balustrade has to be slightly higher at 1100mm but the minimum deck railing height remains at 900mm. In that sense, you get a bit more flexibility – you could fix the railing on the side of the balustrade at 900mm, or you could have it on top.

Bear in mind that on a high-level deck, the railing will have more prominence as a safety feature. You may need steps down to ground level, so the railing will be a support as people approach these. It should therefore be kept at a sensible and comfortable height, and not pushed too high.

Glass and Stainless are experts in deck railing, whatever the height. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.