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  1. #1
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    Default Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Seen lots and lots of decks, but never had to inspect one with the aluminum and glass railing system ("see through railings"). - see pic -

    Standard wood deck. 'Railings' are safety glass. The aluminum railings have a fair amount of give (I can easily deflect the railing by a couple of inches without applying any lateral force.

    What also bothers me so much (besides the weeble wobble nature of thin aluminum tubular railings), is that each post is only anchored to the wood deck with 4 little tiny screws. The posts are held down with screws, not bolts. It might be safe today, but I can see that in a few years as the deck boards will begin to soften and rot, and the screws will just slide out.

    I have to assume this is a manufactured product, tested and all, but can't find a manufacture's name anywhere on the material, and of course the sellers weren't around so I can't ask who made it. IRC has standards for height, graspable rails, opening limits, etc. but nowhere does it say how much force the railing has to withstand. Some (other) city codes say 200 lb force, any direction. This local city inspector is hard to reach, and I seriously doubt that anyone ever permits a residential deck in this town anyway.


    Suggestions? Any widely known manufacturers that publish tech specs?

    Terry

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post


    Any widely known manufacturers that publish tech specs?
    .
    ....
    .

    Attached Files Attached Files
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Hey Mr Wizard, Pics and PDF's right out of your a---- oops. How's it going down there? They are out of thebox up here and crazzzzzy!!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Notice that among all the details given, the most important is NOT given?

    That of anchoring the posts to the "solid, structural mounting surface". How? What is used?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Thanks Billy, that helps.
    I had found a couple of others; some did, and some didn't offer specs.

    I see that this manufacturer states it meets UBC codes 'when installed under conditions above' etc. Couldn't see much, but I did see one screw projecting out of the bottom of a deck board (but not by much). Looked like a 2" wood screw, mabe 2-1/2 at best.

    Irregardless, with my 230lb weight load, I didn't like the movement the aluminum handrails allowed, no matter how long the screws were.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Irregardless, with my 230lb weight load, I didn't like the movement the aluminum handrails allowed, no matter how long the screws were.
    That's all the info. I would need to write that up. Screw the manufacturers installation instructions. Screws lack shear strength anyway's (most of them). I am assuming you meant guard rail posts?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Hey Mr Wizard, Pics and PDF's right out of your a---- oops. How's it going down there? They are out of thebox up here and crazzzzzy!!
    .
    No Wizard Here Just Us Red Necks.
    * Foreclosures are running about !,000 behind Property Sales YTD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Notice that among all the details given, the most important is NOT given?

    That of anchoring the posts to the "solid, structural mounting surface". How? What is used?
    .
    * See Step 18,
    Finial Inspection:

    #14 X 3" -18-8 stainless steel ( or equal ) was used in southern pine for the wood substrate-----
    .

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 07-08-2009 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Year to Date & Inches not feet
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    745

    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    From the 2006 IRC


    TABLE R301.5
    MINIMUM UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LIVE LOADS
    (in pounds per square foot)



    Use
    Guardrails and handrails (d)


    d. A single concentrated load applied in any direction at any point along the top.


    Live Load
    200 (i)

    i. Glazing used in handrail assemblies and guards shall be designed with a
    safety factor of 4. The safety factor shall be applied to each of the concentrated loads applied to the top of the rail, and to the load on the in-fill components. These loads shall be determined independent of one another, and loads are assumed not to occur with any other live load.



    Last edited by Wayne Carlisle; 07-08-2009 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Everything was bold after copy/paste. Turned off bold EDIT again...can't get bottom part bold off...sorry

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    * See Step 18,
    Finial Inspection:

    #14 X 3' 18-8 stainless steel ( or equal ) was used in southern pine for the wood substrate-----
    Oh ... you had to read past the pictures?

    So it says #14 screws, those don't look like #14 screws, and even if they were #14 screws 3 INCHES (not feet ) long and made out of 18-8 stainless steel, *I* would write it up and question it based on the fact that Terry said "with my 230lb weight load, I didn't like the movement the aluminum handrails allowed, no matter how long the screws were."

    Even if it was anchored with 1/2" through bolts, if *IT MOVED* like he described, write it up for repair - not ""evaluation" ... "repair".

    Why "repair"?

    1) Terry "evaluated" it.

    2) Someone could read the instructions and say "It meets the instructions" (their "evaluation) instead of actually testing it to see if it withstood a 200 pound load in ANY direction.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    I've installed a few of those for clients in the past. HD, Menards sells them up here. They sell specific fat hex head screws that work with the system. The instructions that came with the package specifically stated to screw into joists, not the decking. No movement on the ones I installed. I was very leery of the product at first but when properly installed I have to admit they were very strong. I made damn sure that rail wasn't going anywhere. Don't want to get that phone call.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Huntsville, Ontario
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Aluminum & Glass deck railing system -safe?

    I have installed aluminum railing systems in the past complete with the glass. The local building department requires engineered drawings of the post base attachment. We used 4 of 3/8" (minimum) through bolts with washers and nut. This went through the decking and through a 2x8 or 2x10 (the length of which was the space between the joists) on its flat fastened between two joists.

    Steve Bowman
    Top To Bottom Home and Property Inspections

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