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Old 11-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #21
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Check your city codes, they will tell you how high the deck can be without requiring railings. I believe Columbus, OH is something like 30" requires railings.

I would be willing to bet that if you deck is "below the height that requires a permit", it is also "below the height that requires a railing", as the primary reason for the permitting process is safety.

My aforementioned uncle, having built his deck to something like 28", was below the height requirement for railings. He planted bushes around his deck instead. Not having railings saves a ton of money, alleviates a ton of maintenance headache, and lets you step up to the deck anywhere you like. Adding a "step" around the permiter of your deck might be a headache if you must also pour new concrete.

If you don't require a railing at your current deck height, I would recommend just removing the railing and decking and re-deck. Redesigning a lower frame is nearly going to be a redesign of the entire deck. The connection to the house will need to be redone, and you'll need to consider the support structure away from the house. If you're lucky, you may be able to get away with simply dropping the beam to a lower mounting on your posts. For the 1' high deck, I eliminated the post construction and layed the beam directly on top of the concrete piers.

My primary consideration for the low deck was that the privacy fence is 6' tall (on one side, and someday it will be 6' tall on the other side). If I built a deck 4' high, it kind of defeats the purpose of a 6' privacy fence. Not requiring safety railings is an awesome bonus to the lower deck - it makes the backyard feel a bit more open.

Last edited by fooger03; 11-13-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:30 PM   #22
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36" here without railings.
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Old 11-13-2013, 04:09 PM   #23
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14 month old toddler = railings if it's over 18 inches off the ground. I don't mind crying. I do mind hospital trips.
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