Screened Porch

Does the Screen Enclosure of a Porch change the minimum height requirements of a Handrail / Barrier?

Or is the Screening sufficient?

Deck surface to grade is 12 - 13 feet.

Height of kneewall below screen is 19 inches.

I would say the sceen is not sufficient.

Typically 200 pound load support is needed for guard and handrails. That screen is not going to hold some big guy falling against it.

Joe, that’s a good question, I would think although it’s a safety hazard it’s probably allowed.

I believe code says windows have to be 18" from the floor. Would this be concidered the same as an open window?

That was the thought that I had.

But a screen enclosure is not an open window…or is it?

That’s the part I’m not sure of, if it was a window there would be a master frame and the lower sash would raise up in front of the upper sash, so you cannot lean against it and fall out, unlike the pictures you posted.

Similar to sitting on a railing that’s to low and falling off, false sense of security.

Buyer is Investor.

I will try follow up in a few months to see how he proceeded with the recommendations given in the HI Report.

How did you word your recommendation?


This is a community of over 3000 homes. I do an inspection on average of 1-3 per month within this community. The conditions encountered are fairly consistent over all inspections completed in the last 6-7 years.

What would you have recommended with regard to this encountered screened porch / deck?

Joe, I have built some sun porches/screen porches using wood combination storm door/screen doors.
The come in either 32 or 36 inches wide and are 6’8".

You must remember the old wood storm doors, they had a thumb latch on each side so you could remove the glass in the summer and install the screens.

So I looked in my book and I found that these inserts are sold with safety glass and the glass can be as low as 7" from the floor, now what happens in the summer with the full screens in?

As I said, I’ve done a few of these and there was never a code issue.

Home is 15 years.

I do remember the type Doors/Screens that you reference. (I am that old, admitted begrudgingly).

These are full screens without provisions for windows.

I am just looking for input. (Right or Wrong is not the issue)

I’m not challenging you, Joe. You said you would wait to see how the client responded to your recommendations and I was curious as to what your recommendations were.

Joe, I guess if it were my inspection I would take a picture and make a note in the report that it could be a potential safety hazard and let the client make their own decision, this way you have done your job to inform them and made note in your report in case something was to come back on you.

Good post, very grey area.


Not sure I would see a grey area.
Put that porch 100 feet in the air.
Ok now what do you say to that?

Bob, I’ve installed these over 30" and had no problems.

You did not answer my question though.
If you lived in the city on the tenth floor and had a 2 year old kid,would you call it safe.
You know where I am going with this I’m sure.

Well Bob, yes, but I think the picture that was posted is clearly not on the tenth floor, nor where the references I was making.

I understand where your coming from but I don’t think it applies to Joe’s post.

Maybee not but what I was leading to is that it should be considered the same as an open deck as the screen is not a safety device as I see it.
I may be wrong but was trying to make a point for seeing it in that way.

I know Bob and a good point it is, how about this?

I’m building a deck, it’s 20" off the ground, the front of the deck will have a bench the entire length that adds another 19" does that bench need safety guard rails?

Good question .Which is why judgment comes into play,and codes are not all encompasing as per my replies on the members only posting about that deck.
Just wanted to make a point,and you seem to understand very well.
Some people can’t see the trees through the forest and site code for everything.