Balluster Spacing

More stupid crap to pick thru. :smiley:

Knox county requires a max of 4 inches between ballusters on a railing. .
The dillema is the individual ballusters. The bottoms are on or under 4 inches when installed but the tapered ones end up being shy over 4 inches at the top end.

Are they right or wrong??

I think a 4" sphere would pass through that - wrong, IMO.

There is no grey area.
It is wrong but how wrong is up to you as in talking to the client.
We just finished a big thread on this (actually ongoing)

Call it out.

If it can pass a 4" ball it’s wrong.

I’ll bet no one ever fixes it.

Call it out, let the buyer know and covered yourself. What they do about it is up to them.

If they use the IRC, it’s 4 3/8" sphere between balusters, not 4" sphere.

You are correct. The exception for the 4 3/8" sphere however is only for the open side of the stair treads. The spacing on the guards of the walking surfaces leading to or from the stairs is 4".

Code commentary: “A 43/8-inch (111 mm) sphere
rule is used for the guard on the open side of stair treads.
This minor difference of just 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) allows the
use of just two balusters at each tread greatly reducing
costs with no limitation of safety.”

Thanks Will, I should have been more specific.

This would be bad. Do you guys point out handrails that are not graspable?


Yes and I also write it up if it’s not continuous for the full length of the flight.

Only on the homes I inspect with exterior stairs (none of them are compliant).

Why not at interior stairs?

I use it for all stairs in and out Over kill maybe but I always try to CRA

Why is it overkill? Don’t people fall down the stairs inside a home in Canada? :roll:

Tapered spindles shall not be more than 4" at the narrow part. :slight_smile:

Handrails need to be graspable;


That was really my original question.

Maybe guard/handrail “requirements” at interior stairways depends on the density of the carpet/padding in some parts of the country.

Guardrail requirements haven’t changed that I know of. :slight_smile:

Well, if you hadn’t modified my original quote, you would have seen that your statement of “…some parts of the country…” was purposely intended to read as “…different countries…”! :stuck_out_tongue:

Since when are you all “PC” anyway??? :shock:


Since I started taking lessons from Robert.