Railing Span and Post Spacing With Ipe

I am replacing an old deck using Ipe wood. Is it alright to have my railings 7' railing span between posts? Most sites suggest 4' to 6' span between posts.

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Apr 03, 2011
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Closer posts make a stronger rail
by: Anonymous

As a general rule, I would stick with railing spans no greater than 6 feet particularly on long runs. A long run would be anything greater than 18 feet. The distributive load requirements add up quick as you get into longer and longer spans. So post spacings have to get closer.

So those sites your refer to are correct. Its always safer to have closer post spacing.

But this is only a general answer to your very general question. It is not intended as construction advice for you project. You will have to ensure at your end that whatever you have built will meet the code.

Only a detailed load analysis with the known load ratings for the way in which you connect your posts to the deck and a detailed picture of the entire railing system could absolutely tell you what your railing would be able to safely handle.

It is not the strength of the post material that matters so much as the strength of the connection of the post to the joists or the deck surface if it is surface mounted.

In this case Ipe is incredibly strong but it still has to be secured to the deck somehow. That connection and its load capacity will determine the maximum safe post spaces.

To complicate matters, any run of railing will become stronger overall whenever it runs between to corners (direction changes) or fixed ends.

So don't go more than 6 feet apart and closer is wiser especially if you have a long span. And if in doubt, get a structural engineer to take a peek at what you plan to do.

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