Home Solutions ADA Basic Principals of ADA Handrails

Basic Principals of ADA Handrails

ADA Handrail Principals & Basic Guidelines

Look at the diagram and close up images to get an idea of what the ADA standard requires for handrail. We have pointed out the major considerations when building an ADA compliant handrail.

ADA Principals and Guidelines Diagram

Click to Enlarge Images

A) Railing Closeup

A) Railing: Railing must be a continuous smooth surface. A railing must be on both sides of ramp or stairs.

B) Railing Height

B) Railing Height: Railing must be 34"- 38" in height.

C) Edge Protection

C) Edge Protection: When there is a drop off, ramps require a curb or curb rail to prevent wheel chairs from slipping out from under the railing. In some cases a mid rail is sufficient to provide this protection.

D) Clearance

D) Clearance: A ramp must have a minimum clear width of 36".

E) D Returns

E) D Returns: Railing ends need to be rounded or return smoothly into a floor, wall or post.

F) Extensions

F) Extensions: Stairs: Railing should extend the width of one stair tread and then level out for 12". Ramps: Railing should extend parallel to walking surface 12" past the top and bottom of the ramp.

General ADA Handrail Guidelines & Recommendations

ADA Standard Recommendations
Handrail is to be between 34” and 38” inches from surface (ground/ramp/sidewalk). Place handrail at 36”.
Posts (uprights/verticals) must be no more than 8’ feet apart from center to center of each post. Place posts every 6’ feet from center to
Posts and handrail pipe need to be 1-1/4” – 1-1/2” Schedule 40.

Use 1-1/2” Schedule 40 for the posts and 1-1/4” Schedule 40 for the rails.

Note: Actual Outer Diameters of 1-1/4” Schedule 40 is 1.66” and 1-1/2” Schedule 40 is 1.90”.

The space between the inside of the handrail and the wall or any other obstruction must be at least 1-1/2”. A handrail or grab bar and any wall or other surface adjacent to it needs to be free of anything sharp or abrasive.
Handrail must be continuous. Use internal couplings, Type 18-7, to maintain continuity.
A ‘D’-Return is needed to “round out” the ends of the handrail.

On straight runs: ‘D’ returns shall extend at least 12” inches
beyond each end post.

On stairs and ramps: ‘D’ returns shall extend at least 12” inches beyond the top riser and at least 12” inches, plus the width of one tread, beyond the bottom riser.

Handrails shall not rotate within the fittings. Handrails are screwed to the Handrail Bracket which disallows rotation. 3/16” holes need to be drilled in handrail to attach to Handrail Bracket