Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question, it’s very likely listed below – these are just a few of the questions we hear over and over again. But if you can’t find an answer to your question, please feel free to send us an email and ask us directly!
What are the options for mounting?
The first question we ask a client is how they want the guardrail to be mounted. Poured in place, side/fascia mounted, or plate/top mounted. We ask this question early on due to its importance, both in cost and how it can affect the overall dimensions of the rail. Poured in place is usually the most affordable followed by side mounting with top mounting being the most expensive. Contact us now to see which method is best for your application.
Poured in place:
Our most affordable method. This is when a railing post that is poured in concrete. This method does not work for wood decks as it requires a concrete curb or pad for the post to drop into and then filled with concrete.
Side mounting is the most common method of attachment as they are mounted to the side of a surface during installation. This gives the option to adjust height to ensure the railing is level and is the second most affordable method of mounting.
Plate mounting is when plates are welded to the posts during fabrication, and when installed are mounted to the top of a surface. Because of its aesthetic, it remains a very popular mounting technique, and also most expensive due to the amount of work involved.
What are the code and engineering requirements?
Whether your local jurisdiction requires a 36” or a 42” tall guardrail, all jurisdictions require that no space shall fit a 4” sphere through at any point. The railings must also meet engineering that requires load testing of 50 lb per linear foot for hand/cap rails and a concentrated load of 200 lb atop the guardrail. Though our products have all been designed to exceed engineering requirements, your local plan check may require site or application specific engineering. We only supply engineering that we performed which can be used as a baseline for your engineer to write application specific for your project.
Because we perform local installations in the Bay Area, we are familiar with California’s code requirements, and wherever the project, the client is responsible for working with local jurisdictions and relating any pertinent information to us before we fabricate the railing systems.
What are the advantages of your railing systems?
Besides the artistry of our designs and being California code compliant, all of our railings and hardware are considered non-corrosive, and will not rust and rot away like a steel railing. When building or rebuilding a deck, you would use materials that will last a long time, and our railings are a perfect match. All of our products are built to measure for your project, and we provide excellent service and prompt custom fabrication.
Do your railings meet current code?
Yes, they are engineered to exceed the current California code, and when installed correctly, will not have any open space of 4” or greater.
What is the different between a guardrail and a handrail?
A guardrail is required when there is an elevation change of 30” and guardrails are either 36” or 42” in height depending on your local building code. Additionally, a guardrail has a fill panel to provide protection during a fall. A handrail is only the handrail, a requirement for stairs so there is something to hold onto while going up and down and is set between 34”-38” in height.
What is the difference between a cap rail and a handrail?
A cap rail can be any size and shape, whereas a handrail must be graspable and able to fit into a 2-1/4” circle.
What about the ladder effect of the horizontal rods?
Current code has no regulation on residential railings with horizontal rods that result in a ladder-like effect, though you should have your local plan checker approve all railings before beginning construction. If you like the aesthetic, and worried about people or children climbing it, contact us for ideas on workarounds that will meet your needs.
I’m worried the glass is going to get dirty, and I’ll have to clean the glass all the time.
We recommend that glass be cleaned as often as you have your windows cleaned.
What makes you different than the competition?
Our railings are custom made for your project — they are not a generic, mass produced system that is adapted to work on your project. We are a licensed metal fabricator and install our product as well. When getting a quote from the “other guys”, ask them if they have ever personally installed the railings they sell. Since we install them, our technical services, both in fabrication and installation, are second to none. It also means that we’ve designed the railings to be as easy as possible for any handy person or contractor to install them.
What if I want a special height for my posts? Or angle for the corners?
Since our railings are custom made we can easily address requests for non-standard railings. For example, our glass railings have been used as tall windscreens. We often have projects that don’t have 90 degree corners, and have made a few indoor dog parks that were very short with close picket spacing.
What if I need a gate and/or a handrail or another custom fabricated metal?
Let us know what you’re looking for. We can easily fabricate just about anything with our 15,000 sq. ft. shop stocked full of CNC machinery, welding and machining equipment and our large variety of metal polishing machines. Whatever you need, we’ll help you design the right system for your project.
Where are you located? Do you have a showroom?
We are located in Emeryville, CA. We have a showroom with all of our railings on display and occasionally go on the trade show circuit. If you’re in the area, contact us to set up an appointment to see the showroom and discuss your project with us.