4 Common ADA Handrail Examples & How to Meet ADA Guidelines
Building an ADA railing can be confusing for many people or businesses that need to build an ADA compliant railing for the first time. ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, has very specific rules for ADA compliant railing. If your railing does not meet these requirements, it will not be up to code and could face legal repercussions.
At a glance, those requirements include the following (these requirements are also covered in the video below):
- The railing must be smooth and continuous. This allows the person using the railing to have a consistent grip throughout the entirety of the stairs or ramp. This also ensures there is nothing for the hand to get caught on when sliding up or down the railing.
- ADA handrails must be set at height of 34 to 38". This allows most people, including those in wheelchairs, to easily grab the railing.
- A bottom railing is required when there is a drop of 6" or more from the edge of a ramp. This ensures that a wheelchair does not roll off the ramp. It also protects feet and crutches from slipping off the edge.
- There must be railing on both sides of the ramp or staircase. The clearance between these two railings must be a minimum of 36". This allows enough room for a wheelchair to pass through comfortably.
- A railing must end directly into an upright, the wall, or the ground. This keeps things such as clothing or bags from being snagged on the exposed end of the railing. It also protects people from injuring themselves on a protruding section of pipe.
- The railing that accompanies a set of stairs must extend out one tread length before leveling out. It then must level out for at least 12" at the top and bottom of the staircase. This ensures the railing is set at height of 34 to 38" throughout the entirety of the railing. It also allows a person to grab the railing before beginning to go up or down the stairs.
- The railing should be 1 1/2" from the wall and provide a clear handrail path. There should be no interruptions on the railing that would block a person's grip. This allows a person to keep a hold on the railing through the entirety of stairs or ramp.
For a visual look at each of these requirements, check out the video below. These requirements are not all encompassing of every ADA requirement for handrails. But, these do represent the major "need-to-know".
To give you a better idea of how these requirements can be met using our ADA fittings, let's take a look at a few ADA handrail examples.
Some of these examples utilize one of our ADA handrail kits, while others are custom solutions built using our ADA fittings. Our full inventory of ADA fittings can be found here. For ADA consultation and design, contact one of our ADA experts here.
Concrete Steps ADA Handrail
One common place ADA handrails are needed is concrete steps. A fall on concrete could cause a serious injury, so safety is a big concern around concrete staircases.
Many businesses have concrete staircases that lead up to their front entrance. In the example above, this staircase accompanies a concrete path near a local lake.
Here, we can see that the railing is mounted to the ground at both the top and bottom of the staircase. This design is a custom solution. However, our ADA 555 railing kit offers a similar design.
Walkway ADA Handrail
Another common place ADA railings are used is concrete, stone, or brick pathways. The example above is again a custom solution.
Notice when the railing changes direction, that there is a smooth connection. This allows the person using the railing to keep their hand on the handrail for the entirety of the railing. This connection is made possible using the Variable Angle fitting.
The railing uprights are mounted to the concrete edge using the Standard Railing Flange. This fitting has a socket on one end to accept pipe. On the other end, there is a plate with two holes in it for mounting.
For more info on installing a railing on a concrete base, we recommend you take a look at the following articles:
- "10 Important Considerations When Installing a Stair Railing"
- "Attaching Railing to a Concrete Base or Wall"
Wall Mounted ADA Handrail
Wall mounted railings are also an option for ADA handrails. The above solution is a custom design but most closely resembles our ADA Wall 565 Railing Kit. Again, an ADA railing must terminate into the ground, wall, or the railing itself. This railing terminates into the wall to allow for a smooth connection for the entirety of the staircase.
Ramp ADA Handrail
Lastly, one of the most common places you will see ADA railing used is on a handicap wheelchair ramp. Remember that there must be railing on both sides of the ramp and there must be a minimum width of at least 36" between these two railings. This allows those in a wheelchair to pass through comfortably.
More information regarding these kinds of wheelchair ramp railings can be found on our handicap railing page.
Each of the designs pictured here is a custom solution.
Hopefully, this article has clarified a few confusing items revolving around ADA railings and their requirements. In addition, we have an ADA installation guide and downloadable manual that can better clarify some things. If you still have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to one of our ADA experts. Our team is here to answer any questions you have. We'll also work with you to come up with the perfect design for your ADA railing so that it looks great and meets ADA guidelines.
Our team can be contacted by visiting our ADA page here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.