Hand Railing at Steps

Question regarding this step/porch railing. Should there be any offset compensation with the railing at the brick on the top step?

Don’t know what you do down there, but up here it needs a “graspable” hand rail (one you can wrap your hand around). Not sure what you mean about an offset.

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I suspect he feels something needs to be against the masonry wall side of the staircase. It doesn’t. It just needs a graspable handrail along the wooden guardrail side. The masonry is fine as is.

No need to put an offset in the handrail where the brick veneer projects out, but as pointed out above, it does not meet the standard for a “graspable” handrail.

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At this point, since you have to install a graspable handrail on the inside of the railing , you might as well run a standard hand rail on the brick and have it returned to the wall at the top of the stair. That would take care of anyone’s concern about the offset. And reduce that riser opening down to 4" at the same time.


Thanks guys. My concern is just the top step where there is gap between the step and the space above the brick. I did call out the graspable handrail and the risers with openings greater than 4 inches.

Yes, Bobby, I would call that out as a potential safety hazard. It would be easy to twist an ankle in that void at the top step, IMHO.

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After the open risers and lack of handrails, the top tread gap caught my attention. An easy fix though.

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What about wood in contact with masonry block? Pressure treated or preservative at least?

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I saw that too. Also, what’s the riser height of that top step? It looks like too much of difference. How are the stringers attached to the house? Not seeing much of a nose on treads either.

Stringers should be spaced close enough to adequately support the treads. This spacing depends on the tread materials. If treads are 2-by lumber, stringers can usually be as far apart as 16 inches on center. If 5/4 decking or composite decking is used, they should be 12 inches or closer. Be sure to check with your building department and follow the manufacture’s installation instructions. I see this often. They try to save money on material by not using 2x12 stock for treads and instead use deck planks but they don’t use the proper spacing for deck planks used as treads.


Hey Scott, what editor do you use to add the pointer arrow like that? I was trying to mark the pic before I posted. Thanks!

Thank you Marcel. I added this recommendation to my report!

It is pressure treated wood. I recommended it be treated annually to protect against deterioration.

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Thanks Bert. The treads are 2x6 pressure treated lumber.

Bobby, I have to agree with Bert, those are 5/4 thread planks.

Just look at the difference in thickness between the treads and the stringers and you can see that the treads are 5/4".

I copied the pic to my software program. (Tap Inspect) Edited, saved and then deleted from the program. I’m sure there’s an easier way, but I’m cheap. Don’t want to pay for another photo editing app!

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Thanks guys I checked and you are correct it is 5/4 deck boards. I will amend my report.


A good single shot editor for posting pictures to the forum is Power Point. I use power point to open the picture, edit it and then ‘save as’ .jpg.

Snap Markup is an easy, free markup editor for your Android.