Porch Baluster Spacing

 
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:21 PM   #1
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Porch Baluster Spacing


I'm putting a railing around a porch on an old home. I'm using newel posts, centered between the columns. I'm wondering the proper way to space the balisters on a balistrade where one might be 8' long and the other 7' long.
The porch railing will consist of 9 balistrades and all the columns are not the same distance apart.
How do you space the balisters so they look uniform?
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


I'm in CT and code is 4" center to center, So I would have to make it work around the building code.

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Old 06-16-2006, 07:16 PM   #3
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Here, it's 3 7/8...so just commit to the spacing and play with the ends?
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Old 06-16-2006, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


no more than 4" space in MI
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Old 06-16-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


I wonder who measured to decide that a baby's head is bigger than 4"
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:00 PM   #6
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Good question Dave.....
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:35 PM   #7
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robie
Here, it's 3 7/8...so just commit to the spacing and play with the ends?
I like to adjust the spacing so the ends are the same as the others--I think it looks better.
Someone posted a baluster spacing calculator on here some time back. Just plug in your overall distance, baluster width, spacing and whaallaaa.
Even with the calculator it's still a good idea to start from the center and measure out.

For some reason I can't attach the file, so if you need, I can e-mail it to you.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:50 PM   #8
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Thanks! I searched and found this calculator...it'll be handy.
http://www.virginiarailingandgates.c...icketspace.asp

I want the end spacing to match up also...that is what is perplexing. If one distance is 37" and the other is 38"...how do you configure the balusters to remain evenly spaced?
The calculator should do the trick.
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Old 06-17-2006, 12:14 AM   #9
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodcrafter74
it's still a good idea to start from the center and measure out.

.
This is only good if you have an odd# of balusters in that particular segment, If you have an even # you will have to measure out from the center half the spacing.

1/2 spaces on segment ends:
post to post (inside 2 inside)=x
# of balusters=y
baluster spacing=z

y= x/(z+one baluster width), round to nearest whole #
z=x/y
take 1/2 of z and divide in half, this is your first and last space between baluster and post.



even spacing entire segment:
(x+one baluster width)/z=#of equal spaces
(x+one baluster width)/# of equal spaces=z
butt your tape to post or post mark and go, baluster goes on side of mark that your butting
this is no different than figuring stairs, just think of the baluster spacing as the rise and the baluster itself as tread thickness

hope this helps

Last edited by Bone Saw; 06-17-2006 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:39 AM   #10
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Robie if you are only replacing the the guard rail you wouldn't need a building permit, then you can build the rail to the design when the porch / house was built . if you want to follow todays code yes the 4 inch rule is a fact --but if the porch is 30 inches or less to the ground you don't need a guard rail
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:26 AM   #11
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Robie, I usually try and have even spacing within each section, and if the spacing between sections differs too much I might cheat one or two balusters at the posts.

Problem is how to find the equal spacing! I used to have a hard time figuring it out until I started using this method, imagining a baluster buried in each post, and dividing the OC measurement until I was within the 4" max gap rule.
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Last edited by Joe Wood; 06-17-2006 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:16 AM   #12
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Deck rails are now required to be higher, and balustrade gaps narrower because humans have become taller, but their heads have become smaller. ( kidding ) 4" center to center is rule of thumb, a 4" ball should not be able to pass through any gap
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:40 AM   #13
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
I wonder who measured to decide that a baby's head is bigger than 4"
Just ask any women that has pushed one out...she'll tell you...
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:05 PM   #14
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


I like to keep the baluster spacing consistent,section to section, so I just use the number of balusters and weather one is centered on the section or a space is centered on the section, I make a story pole and work off the centerline of the rail sections to get the end baluster spacing what I want.
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #15
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


I am going to use 72 1/2" as an example

72 1/2" / 5" (whatever ballester spacing may be) = 14 1/2 (round this number up to 15 and this is the number of ballesters)

72 1/2" / 15 = 4 13/16" spacing

I ussually do a layout on either the top or bottom rail to make sure my numbers work
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:53 PM   #16
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by N.E.Bldg&Rest.LLC View Post
I'm in CT and code is 4" center to center, So I would have to make it work around the building code.

Close, code is no bigger than a 4" space between balusters. The inspector will show up with a 4" ball and it can't fit through any balusters.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:40 AM   #17
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


I use a 2x4 for spacing, pull center and plumb it. For decks around me it is 3 1/2".

Thanks
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:51 PM   #18
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
Close, code is no bigger than a 4" space between balusters. The inspector will show up with a 4" ball and it can't fit through any balusters.
I've never seen a dude show up with a ball, but in one town near me, the inspectors will take a tape to EVERY baluster. I just stand there and laugh at them. If you must be that critical, go to three random places and measure.

I get PO'd when inspectors criticize what is clearly above average work that exceeds code just because they have to say something negative. I just framed a deck that is probably the tightest deck frame this guy will ever see and he actually told the HO to make sure the riser heights were consistent because "the bottom riser is already one inch shorter than the other ones" (the 5/4 treads were not on yet). What a stupid thing to say. He made my HO question me for doing something that a lot of guys F-up. He should've said, "Oh...your contractor knows what he's doing."

Rant over. Sorry.

I've always wondered why anyone would settle for being an inspector when they could make much more money building things instead.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:40 PM   #19
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Di View Post
I've always wondered why anyone would settle for being an inspector when they could make much more money building things instead.

A lot of inspectors are contractors that couldn't hack it (or should I say that could 'only' hack it) . . .
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: Porch Baluster Spacing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom R View Post
A lot of inspectors are contractors that couldn't hack it (or should I say that could 'only' hack it) . . .
TRUE, TRUE, TRUE

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