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I just had a deck built and it failed inspection, partly because of the lack of a graspbable handrail (see also my related question Concrete blocks supporting deck stairs) . The current rail is a flat 2x6. The inspector said I could attach a 2x2 or similar handrail to the balusters with a bracket of some kind.

I've done some googling but I can't quite find the kind of bracket it sounds to me like he's describing. What should I be looking for?

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If the deck failed inspection on these two simple aspects, I would worry what else is potentially wrong with it. – Tester101 Mar 17 '11 at 15:36
@Tester101: The inspector said everything else is fine. I think this is more of a case of a contractor not wanting to finish the job than shoddy work from the start. We've been going back and forth with these guys for months, and are ready to move on. – Matthew Leingang Mar 17 '11 at 16:22
The handrail isn't a big deal, but not pouring a pad for the stairs to sit on is just being a jerk (especially if they installed the stairs). I'm sure they knew you would have to remove the stairs and pour a pad yourself, what a bunch of goons. – Tester101 Mar 17 '11 at 17:45
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You need to have a graspable (grippable) handrail... in other words something that you can get your hand around and hold onto if you fall off the steps. The 2x6 is too big for your hand to grab around and does not qualify.

Standard handrail brackets usually look something like this:

handrail bracket

Also see this article (Deck Stair Handrails) for a picture of a handrail that is a one-piece design:

enter image description here

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You can also use small 2x2 blocks as spacers for the 2x2 handrail. It blends in well. I did this for my deck, and it passed inspection.

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