Look at the picture below. Do you know what's missing?
HINT: Try to get a grasp on things.
ANSWER: It looks nice enough, doesn't it? New paint and all. But let's count the steps. I count 5, when you include the last step up to porch. So what is missing? How about a "graspable handrail"? A graspable handrail is recommended any time the number of step risers is 4 or more. So you might say they have it in the 2x4 handrail on the left, right? Not really. There is a very specific definition of a "graspable handrail". In fact it is so detailed it is best to show you a picture. Please see below.
The International Residential Code (IRC) rules are mostly in place now. The handgrip portion of the graspable handrail shall not be less than 1 1/4 inches or more than 2 inches in cross sectional dimension, or the shape shall provide an eqivalent gripping surface. The handgrip shall have a smooth surface with no sharp corners. Handrails projecting from the wall shall have a space of not less than 1 1/2 inches between the wall and the handrail. The handrail should be continuous and should return to the wall or the rail at the ends. So the basic idea of a graspable handrail is something you can wrap your fingers around. That is why a 2x4 does not work. Think about the very young and the elderly. On any step system, but certainly on one with steep steps or with uneven step risers, they need a graspable handrail that is firmly mounted to help them up and down.
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Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and contributing members of the Active Rain Real Estate network, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings. HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more! In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis. Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at http://habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753.
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