Best railing height for old-fashioned-looking front porch (WAS: Okay to have different window styles?)

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What is the best railing height for an old-fashioned-looking wrap-around front porch? Here's a link so you can see the porch in question:
http://www.mynewoldhouse.com/house/images/FrontElevationLRG.gif
How about 30"? The code for most areas is 36". But, like I said, we do not have to follow code because or porch is close to the ground. And 36" just looks to high, like the people sitting on the porch are in jail. (We've all spent enough time in jail. We don't want to feel that way on our front porch.) I've read that 30" was a standard during the Victorian and post-Victorian era. But I've also seen some 24" railings that look great--they're kind of the ballustrade style--low.
What do you think about 30"? Then we could just by standard composite railing components from HB&G to go with their columns and modify the ballusters to make them 6" shorter.
Please share your thoughts.
- John
jojo wrote:

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You asked and got answers before. Didn't like them and want different?

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Just thought I might get more opinions if I broke the question out into its own discussion.
I'm kind of surprised people haven't sounded out *AGAINST* the 36" railings. The local architects I've talked to have said that 36" looks too tall for a house that is trying to look old fashioned or traditional. They say it looks like a play pen. They say none of the 100+ year old houses had railings that high unless they've since been updated.
- John
Glenn wrote:

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Maybe we know more than the locals. I'm 75 and started in construction at 18 and I have never seen a 24" rail but as I said before, it's your house and if you want it 12" high, it's no skin off my butt. We are just telling you what it OUGHT to be. I would suggest though that you keep your homeowners insurance paid up so when someone trips over the thing, you are covered.

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railing was 36" back then and still is although replaced several times. I have photos back to 1891. Too low a railing makes one feel that they will trip over it. If you don't like it, don't use any railing. EDS
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Glenn wrote:

You haven't seen a 24" rail. I bet that's exactly what you say after you trip over it. "Hey, I never saw it".
My suggestion is that you get out a ruler and go measure some railings. I bet you don't find any 24" ones. But go measure some, that's the best thing to do.
but as I said

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Doesn't matter what they say, if there is a code (i.e., law) requiring a 36" rail.
Style is not merely a slavish, unthinking, unadaptive adherence to something that soemone did 100 or more years ago.
Remember that people were a lot shorter "way back when", so shorter rails made sense (just visit some of the original historic farm buildings - they're like tiny little doll-houses...) Ever been on an accurate replica of an old sailing ship, or on board the Constitution? Take a look at vintage clothing? And so on? Everything looks to most of today's people (in North America at least) like it was made for children.
You have a brain, why are you fretting because a few people are blithering about what people did 100+ years ago? Did they have 9' ceilings back then? Did they have MDF? Nylon? Central heating?
How tall is your *front door*? Is it tall enough for today's people or did you also put in a short door? If the door, windows, storey heights, and so on, are all scaled to modern standards, a short little railing will look absurd. And even at all of that, style, schmyle - what *matters* is the minimum height *required by the code/law*. If you choose to ignore that, you'll probably not qualify for home insurance (or have it cancelled if you lie about the height and they come out to double-check it), *and* you would be liable if somene fell over a shorter-than-required railing. And no, it does not matter whether the person is a relative/friend, a pizza delivery guy, or a peeping tom - hell, even people who were *robbing* places have won lawsuits if they were injured because of "safty hazards".

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11' ceilings on the main floor. Older colonial (pre-revolutionary and pre central heating) houses were designed to hold the heat in the winter so the ceilings were often low if there were no servants to keep those fireplaces going. BTW my 1859 house was built with central heating and inside plumbing on every floor. EDS
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. BTW my 1859 house was built

You were lucky. The house I was raised in had PATH.
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But generally, few places were that grand - heck, few are even today <LOL!> 11' ceilings are pretty, well, grand <g!> But judging from the forts, homesteads, and other old buildings I've seen, also museum apparel, most people were smaller - not a matter of genetics, a matter of diet. So if there were old places with low railings - well, maybe the folks who built those were smaller. In any event, it seems to be that these days, installing a 24" or even 30" railing is like begging for someone to get hurt. IMO, it's worse then no railing, becasue if there is nothing, people are probably nore likely to be careful. A short rail offers enough of a "delusion of security" to be dangerous.
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Alright! Enough! I'll go with the 36"!!! Gawd! :-)
At least this will be one less "customization" for my builder, because we can just use stock railing components from HB&G.
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the thing about the code can get you into trouble, but not why you think. If you put no railing, cause none is required, your fine. If you put a 36" high railing where none is required, your fine too. You put a 30" railing in, and the inspector will not care if it's required. He has a piece of paper that says railing must be 36" high, and so he will red flag you on it. If you explain that the railing is not required, he will just tell you to take it out, or make it to code. (Their checklist has not room for exceptions, those are called waivers and around here require a couple more weeks of permitting) This of course is not always the case, but I've seen it time and again.
jojo
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The code required it but he lives outside the area where the code is required.
That doesn't mean it's smart to ignore it. If an injury occurs, the lawyer is likely to make some sort of argument regarding what is customary and expected.

Well, not what I specified in detail, at least.

Right - it's sort of like the "act of God" bit with shoveling snow off your walkway. If you don't get all the snow off, and it thaws a bit then re-freezes, and someoine falls and cracks their coconut, well, it used to be that you'd be liable. Dunno what the scoop is these days - but I was always meticulous about that.

Right.
So why take the chance?
It's the OP's choice of course, but IMO, it'd be nuts.
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Sasquatch wrote:

I like 32-5/8".
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Sasquatch wrote:

The perfect height for any railing is exactly the same height as the height of the beer sitting on it.
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Sit in a chair on the porch admiring the view..then have someone hold a yardstick upright where the railing will go. I'd drop the railing til it doesnt block the view (but then I have see thru 34" high tempered glass "railings")
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Hmmm, I'd add, "such that one's hand extends comfortably, without undue stress on the shoulder or elbow, to grasp said beer".
;)
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Yep, beer drinkers just know these things. Spontaneous evolution? Perhaps.
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Hmmmm, perhaps similar brain structure, and therefore similar function, in the Corpus Beerosum...
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"Sasquatch"> wrote

The ground is pretty hard to a drunk, especially the next morning, and even more so when he does a somersault backwards over a 30" railing. LOL
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