What are code requirements for Handrails?

  • Handrails must run the entire length of the stair (bottom nose to top).
  • The top of the rail should be between 34-inches and 38-inches, measured directly up from the stair nosing.
  • There needs to be at least 1-1/2-inches between the wall and the rail.
  • Handrails must tie into a wall or newel post.
  • Custom shapes are acceptable but may have a specific size requirement (check with your local building official).


How to determine the size handrail you need

You will need to know your nosing to nosing distance.

 To obtain the nosing to nosing distance, measure the top edge of the nosing of the first tread to the top edge of the floor/landing nose. Do not confuse this measurement with the overall length which is used for railings with pickets.