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1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Note: This document, portion of document or referenced document was published prior to the 2010 ADA Standards, and all or part of this information may only apply to Safe Harbored elements.

4.9.4 Handrails.

Stairways shall have handrails at both sides of all stairs. Handrails shall comply with 4.26 and shall have the following features:

(1) Handrails shall be continuous along both sides of stairs. The inside handrail on switchback or dogleg stairs shall always be continuous (see Fig. 19(a) and (b)).

Plan diagram showing stair handrails and extensions

Fig. 19 Stair Handrails

Elevation of center handrail

Fig. 19 Stair Handrails

(2) If handrails are not continuous, they shall extend at least 12 in (305 mm) beyond the top riser and at least 12 in (305 mm) plus the width of one tread beyond the bottom riser. At the top, the extension shall be parallel with the floor or ground surface. At the bottom, the handrail shall continue to slope for a distance of the width of one tread from the bottom riser; the remainder of the extension shall be horizontal (see Fig. 19(c) and (d)). Handrail extensions shall comply with 4.4.

Side elevation of stair handrail extension at bottom of run

Fig. 19 Stair Handrails

Side elevation of stair handrail extension at top of run

Fig. 19 Stair Handrails

(3) The clear space between handrails and wall shall be 1‒1/2 in (38 mm).

(4) Gripping surfaces shall be uninterrupted by newel posts, other construction elements, or obstructions.

(5) Top of handrail gripping surface shall be mounted between 34 in and 38 in (865 mm and 965 mm) above stair nosings.

(6) Ends of handrails shall be either rounded or returned smoothly to floor, wall or post.

(7) Handrails shall not rotate within their fittings.


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