Metal Hand Rails are widely used in both residential construction and commercial construction.
The International Building Code has hand rail code requirements listed under the means of egress section. Both stair hand rails and ramp hand rails are required in most situations. Talk to the building official in your area to clarify whether your stairway or ramp should have a hand rail.
Metal hand rails are used indoors and outdoors. Metal hand rails tend to be more durable, last longer, and leave a finished look on stairway projects. Metal hand rails can be fabricated in most machine shops that also take on welding work.
Two important things to consider when contracting with a machinist/welder to fabricate a metal hand rail for your residence or business are the height requirements and extension requirements of your new hand rail.
Section 1009.11.1 states that: “Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finished surface of ramp slope, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).”
This means that starting from the stair or ramp surface, the hand rail should slope somewhere between 34 and 38 inches above the tread line.
Where the metal hand rails are free standing and do not continue on they must extend at least twelve inches at either end. Section 1009.11.5 states that “Handrails shall return to a wall, guard or the walking surface or shall be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent stair flight. Where handrails are not continuous between flights, the handrails shall extend horizontally at least 12 inches (305 mm) beyond the top riser and continue to slope for the depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser.