I just had a deck built and it failed inspection, partly because of the lack of a graspbable handrail (see also my related question How do I install concrete blocks to support 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?

  • If the deck failed inspection on these two simple aspects, I would worry what else is potentially wrong with it.
    – Tester101
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 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. Commented Mar 17, 2011 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
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


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


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.


Whatever you are doing to attach the rail, keep in mind that 2002 ADA Accessibility Guidelines required the rail to withstand 250 lb loading. In other words, make sure your rail and rail supports can handle that loading over the entire rail. You probably should check the latest ADA Accessibility Guidelines in case they've changed that.

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