Asked on Oct 18, 2013

1975 balcony railing too low, not to code

Susan Cryor
by Susan Cryor
our new home has balcony that was to code in 1975 for hight but way too low for us, below our waist, easy to go flying over. Can not afford a new one, still have home in Maine that is not sold. Any ideas on what to do? We have small dogs so if raised, they could go under to a hard fall...wood floors below.
  32 answers
  • Larose LoganOakes Larose LoganOakes on Oct 18, 2013
    I take it that you are looking for a permanent solution to this issue?
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 18, 2013
    How about just adding a wooden handrail above the metal. with a small gap 3 " or so below the hand rail this would bring up the height close to 6". the lower area will remain the same for the small dogs. This railing runs about 4 to 7 bucks a foot, add in a pair of end plates and you could be done for 30 to 60 bucks.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 18, 2013
    thanks! Will share w hubby and son....I was afraid because of the height to have to take the wrought iron out Afraid of heights! Do they make flat ends plates? Thought only angled ones. I will google it! Thanks again!
  • Originals by Rhonda Originals by Rhonda on Oct 18, 2013
    Susan you could unbolt and raise that rail to the height that you need and then if the gap at bottom is too large maybe just a short row of stone or have someone to build the equivalent of a tile shower threshold. I would form a simple row of concrete and perhaps mosaic it :))
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 18, 2013
    Rhonda, good idea however there is carpeting on the other side, hallway side
  • Nancy R Nancy R on Oct 18, 2013
    Possibly raise the current rail and add an adjustable shower rod, painted the same color as the railing below for puppy security?
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 19, 2013
    great idea! And VERY affordable
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Oct 19, 2013
    Were I you, I would find a body shop in your area and go see if they would be willing to fabricate you something to go across that opening. I bet someone will offer to help you if you explain it is for safety reasons. Actually, take a photo and measurements with you and they can either find some scrap or tell you what to buy. (An old second hand railing from a thrift store can be modified...ask them if it could. Imagine your railing with the spindles cut down to 6-10" and reassembled) They build it, you prime and paint it then install it (brackets that screws to the wall at the top and bottom). Plain, very simple!
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 19, 2013
    body shop? As in cars?
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 19, 2013
    Unless you have a hand full of rambunctious youngsters about, or are in the practice of doing complex gymnastics in the hall way near this railing, its height should be a fine to keep people from toppling over the edge.
  • Z Z on Oct 19, 2013
    If the opening is 44" or less I'd buy a wrought iron baluster and two baluster shoes and attach it all horizontally above the current balustrade to add the extra height.
  • Originals by Rhonda Originals by Rhonda on Oct 19, 2013
    Hey Susan Cryor I thought that was a Very Nice Exterior Railing, Sorry. So if you dont have kids or dogs you may not need to do anything beneath the rail if moved up. If there is still an issue, just a nice board or small beam or something across would work
  • Seabreezn Seabreezn on Oct 19, 2013
    Susan , I just had an off the cuff idea for your opening about glass shelving from top to bottom holding a wine collection ?( Beautiful with a background light ) Or your favorite whatever's ..Best of luck !
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 19, 2013
    actually it comes to my waist...I have Mal de disembarkment .. Dealing with it for almost 2 years (January will make 2 years) ..I am dizzy, rock like still on a boat and just had a brain anyurism surgery On meds for both, plus due to right foot is numb along with my two small toes so I am not feeling safe with it that low, plus have to pass it to get to bedroom/ bathroom. I lean and grab onto the walls when I am rocking hard. I know, I have a friend who says we should get a gun! Seriously, I am concerned.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 19, 2013
    wow what a great idea! I just checked them out ( I did not know what they were or the shoes! That seems like a quick, affordable fix! Can not wait to share w hubby!
    • See 2 previous
    • Z Z on Oct 20, 2013
      You're very welcome @Susan. I wish you the best of luck. I don't know enough about your illness, but I do hope it's one that will get better and your body can heal.
  • John Folts John Folts on Oct 20, 2013
    How about a large head board and you could decorate it with a vine.
  • Rocco A Rocco A on Oct 20, 2013
    railing only needs to be at 36" to meet code. It looks fairly close to that if its only a few inches you can maybe just raise it and add a wood spaced to the bottom painted same color as rail to make up the difference. Also something no one has mentioned in here if you are going to sell the home the railing spacing is to far apart also. A infant could slip through and fall. So I would honestly recommend replacing that rail with an inexpensive wood replacment or adding a plexiglass guard to the face of it.
  • Kate McComas Kate McComas on Oct 20, 2013
    You could always find some free pallets and arrange the boards to create narrow planter boxes that are high enough to make you feel safe and low enough to keep your pets from a tumble to the ground....
  • Sara Glenn Sara Glenn on Oct 20, 2013
    I raised the height of a fence by opening a couple of grapevine wreaths and wrapping it around and around the fence top, rather like a scallop, (or like the barbed wire at a correctional facility) I added hydrangea clusters and other seasonal goodies...
  • Pat Dollar Pat Dollar on Oct 20, 2013
    You can buy a length of galvanized pipe at the hardware store and have them even thread the ends if necessary If the flanges are threaded along with two flanges which will attach to either wall. Just measure the opening and the store will cut it to size. The pipe and flanges can be then painted to match the existing railing. Just attach to the walls at the right distance for you above the existing rail.
    comment photo
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 21, 2013
    this lead to an interesting site, where if u burn galvanized pipe u can get zinc poisoning.....I went into painting galvanized pipe seems one would have to use an acid to allow the paint to adhere. I shake so badly, you would not want me working in a dynamite factory!
    • Cherie Cherie on Dec 29, 2014
      @Susan Cryor The "acid" used can be vinegar. You just need to wash it with that first to help the paint adher to it. Very simple!
  • Karen Young Karen Young on Oct 21, 2013
    I would get a wooden beam maybe 4 inches square running the length of your railing, attach it to the floor, stain it thy same color as your wooden floor, reattach the wrought iron railing on top of the beam. I believe this would be quite sturdynd you would not have a fear of falling.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 22, 2013
    ok, will pass on to hubby, he loves me being on this site, his "honey do" list gets expanded!
  • Cynthia E Cynthia E on Oct 22, 2013
    You could attach lexan or glass to walls or railing itself behind the railing from floor to ceiling in the opening, that would enclose it safely while leaving the open look.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Nov 03, 2013
    here is the solution we came up with! need to stain n paint, but truly strong, actually finally was able to lean on it and clean air conditioning vent....really needed cleaned...filthy!
    comment photo
  • Ginger Robinson Ginger Robinson on Dec 29, 2014
    It would be fairly easy to build a bookcase so you would have some storage on the landing side and on the side you would see from downstairs could be bead board or nice wood, painted.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Dec 29, 2014
    We have it covered! PERFECT height, no fear of tumbling over, still nice an open! Simple really! Thanks to Home Depot guy!
    comment photo
  • Cynthia E Cynthia E on Dec 30, 2014
    Looks great and cheap easy fix to problem . Congrats.
  • Maggie Ann Maggie Ann on Feb 08, 2015
    @Susan Cryor I LOVE the way it came out!! I sure do understand your concern about falling over the railing (before you implemented your solution) since I have MS, and lose my balance throughout the day. I'm now in a one-story apartment, so no more worries. I would suggest you stain the new rail to match the wood at the bottom, so it'll look like part of the original building. But I love the way it came out!!
  • Renata Renata on Feb 08, 2015
    Low budget idea comes to mind is buy two brackets , (The type builders use to hold the 2x4's ) Buy two 2x6 x how ever wide the opening is planks , some screws, glue , can of paint. Paint ur brackets and the 2 planks, attach one bracket to each side of the opening. slide one of the planks into the brackets. Then apply glue along the plank then screw the other plank flat wise as to form a counter to the other plank. Wallaaaa U have a place to sit plants and don't know what the view is but I like to just stand a few minutes and WATCH with my coffee in the mornings.
  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Oct 31, 2021

    add extension a pretty one