The aesthetic appeal of a deck railing is important. But if there is anything that is more important than that, it’s the railing’s safety. Hence, if you are going to have a deck railing installed in your Ontario property, you should make sure that your railing meets the height requirement and other regulations.
Platforms that have an elevation of 30” and more require a deck guardrail. The height requirement for guardrail for a typical single-family detached home is at least 36”. This includes the space between the platform itself and the top rail. Meanwhile, commercial decks have slightly stricter requirements. The guardrail height for a commercial deck has to be at least 42”. A guardrail can have pretty much any design as long as the decorative elements are not spaced more than 4” apart.
We at Art Metal strictly follow the Ontario deck railing code. Ontario codes have the same basic requirements, but with some minor changes. The height code and other requirements for deck railing in Ontario are based on building experience and the area’s climate.
One specific requirement is that the space between the surface and the bottom rail should not be more than 4”. Additionally, the stair railing height should measure at least 34” from the nosing to the top rail. A load of 50lb per square feet is allowed for every baluster. Meanwhile, a 200lb concentrated load is permitted in the construction.
The main purpose of railing installation is safety, which is ensured only if the guideline for deck railing height and other regulations are met. These rules are determined by the code, which can be national, state, or county-wide.
A deck guardrail is required for any platform elevated to the height of 30” and more. The railing height for common single-family detached homes is controlled by the International Residential Code (IRC). It requires at least a 36” height guardrail, counting the space between the top rail and the platform itself.
Commercial decks that work for multi-family houses are controlled by International Building Code (IBC). The requirements are slightly stricter here, as the deck railing height code demands at least a 42” height guardrail for any deck.
According to any code, there are no restrictions regarding designs, unless the spaces between the decorative elements go over 4”. Guardrails for stairs can have a maximum of 6” space between its elements.
The basics of the codes are similar, with minor changes from area to area. The Ontario deck railing code is controlled by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Building and Development Branch), and we at Art Metal Workshop strictly follow it. The code includes regulations regarding the height, spacing, load, etc.
To be more specific, some of the regulations are:
The Ontario height code, as well as other requirements, are based on the special features of the area’s climate, as well as the building experiences.
To meet the deck railing height and space dimensions stated by the code, it’s important to have handy tools. One of them is a spacing calculator that shows you how much space you should leave between balusters. It’s very easy to use and can be found online in different modifications.
Residential decks are a good investment because of two things: first, they add value to your home; and second, they extend the overall space of your house.
According to the Remodeling website, which compared expenses and returns of renovations, the deck is one of the few areas in the house that will actually boost the value of your home when it’s time to resell. But the type of material used may dictate just how much of your investment can you recoup.
For instance, a wooden deck seems to command the highest value as homeowners typically get as much as 80 cents to the dollar that they put into the new renovation.
The cost of building a deck for your home will vary depending on the materials used, the design, and the size of the new construction. On average, a basic deck will cost about $15 per square foot but this figure will shoot up to $35 per square foot for an elaborate and sophisticated deck. This will cost you about $11,000 for a decorative deck but that’s totally on the high end. You can build a basic deck for between $3,500 and $4,000 and immediately increase the property value of your home while, at the same time, also adding curb appeal.
Good question. All over the world, property taxes are always based on the value of the house. So here’s what happens: A residential deck will increase the value of your home at the time of the assessment, which means that your property taxes will also go up.
The question now is how much? Again, it will depend on the size of the deck, the design, and the location that you are in. The assessor will not evaluate the deck as a separate construction but rather a distinct component of your home. You are likely going to pay less compared to a complete home addition like a basement or another room.
In some cases, you are not going to pay the taxes right away. While in others, you will be slapped with the new charge the next time you complete the form for your property levies. In some locations, the new rates will take effect after you filled up your business permit. Meanwhile, some cities have a strict schedule to follow so you may not feel the burden in two or three years.
The Ontario Building Code is the bible for any residential or commercial construction in Ontario. However, cities also have their own local laws and ordinances that will cover the addition of a new residential deck.
Their functions are separate:
Both follow the National Building Code of Canada, and are prohibited from going beyond the basic parameters set in the law.
The Building Code Act lays down the legal foundation of any residential or commercial development. This includes a raised deck, an attached deck, or a deck adjacent to the original structure. City laws, however, have their own rules for the building permit, particularly on the size and uncovered deck or its construction in relation to the ground level, as well as the location of the deck.
For example, if your deck is located in the backyard and it’s raised less than two feet above grade, then you may be exempt from zoning. Go beyond the two-foot yardstick and zoning laws will apply. Zoning will also take effect if you are building the deck on the front or the side where it can be immediately seen. Your contractor should be able to explain this further to you.
It should be noted, however, that not all decks will be approved, such as when the main structure could not support the new addition without reinforcing the foundation or beam support if the deck has a roof. Applying the recommended changes will cost you a substantial sum. Also, homeowner associations may balk at the changes.
City inspectors will generally look at the deck foundation, structure, as well as the handrails and guardrails to make sure they meet the minimum standards. We look at the parameters for the handrails and guardrails.
The Ontario Building Code distinguishes between the guardrail and a handrail.
The numbers vary but it will cost you somewhere between a low of $4,000 and a high of $11,000. On average, however, homeowners spend about $7,500 to build the new additional space.
There are a lot of paperwork when you try to add a deck to your house. Fortunately, most contractors are proficient in this regard. Aside from the requirements on railings and guardrails listed above, they should also make sure that the deck itself passes the criteria on structural integrity. These include:
After you have installed the deck, a city engineer will visit the property to inspect the construction and make sure it doesn’t violate any of the provisions in the building code and the local zoning laws.
Art Metal is a licensed manufacturer and distributor of handrails and guardrails in Ontario. With years of experience in the industry, the company is fully cognizant of the rules and parameters set in Ontario Building Code, along with the local laws on zoning and building permits. We guarantee that the railings and guards for your new deck will comply with the strict regulations of the city every time.
Meeting guardrail requirements is essential for your safety, so it’s important to know and implement all of them. Also, if you don’t feel like you’ll manage including all of the rules, we at Art Metal Workshop will consult you and help with your deck railing installation.