The deck on my home was not built to code and will be removed [and replaced at some later time]. I am preparing the plan for removing the deck and then its later replacement.

As part of the plan we need to handle the interim period after removing the deck and before the new one is installed. My current idea is to install a railing across the entire sliding glass door with 36 inch height and the requisite four inches (or less) spacing between the individual railings (whatever those railing posts are called). The railing would be securely fastened to studs in the house on either side of the doors.

I was unable to determine if there is specific building codes for this to be followed. The home is in Washington State.

  • Have you talked to your local building department yet, they will know national and specific local codes(building and fire escape). Your plan sounds good for adults, pets and trouble making kids a different matter.
    – crip659
    Apr 21, 2023 at 20:28
  • @crip659 I had left a message with the county permitting office and after posting this did get a call back with the specifics that have been made into an answer Apr 21, 2023 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


I managed to get through to the County permitting office and what I mentioned covers much of it :

  • 36 inches height (check)
  • 4 inches max inter-post distance (check)
  • constructed in a manner to withstand 200 pound of pressure at a right angle to the top of the rail

No permit is required for installing this guard rail.

  • Permit people are always right, but in my neck of the woods (Sf Bay Area), 42” height is required. Apr 21, 2023 at 23:34
  • 1
    This is why getting local information from the people who matter is important. Two locations kind of close(for us east coast people) with different requirements.
    – crip659
    Apr 21, 2023 at 23:55
  • 3
    But it's typically never wrong to go beyond code requirements if you feel it better to go higher for safety. 36" from the floor really isn't high enough to stop an adult from tumbling over the top by accident. Code is typically minimum requirement, not an iron-fast rule that must not be deviated from, as long as the deviation still meets code and is safer/better.
    – Milwrdfan
    Apr 22, 2023 at 2:06
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate 42" is for commercial here Apr 22, 2023 at 5:47

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