…to satisfy the building code. You gotta love living in NY!
Last fall, I rebuilt the crumbling front entry steps and thought the rest would be easy. Hire the making of a set of iron railings and be happy. … Silly me!
Railings have to meet building codes, usually pertaining to rail height and spaces between vertical bars (4 3/8 inches). (Can’t have all the wandering infants getting their heads stuck, can we?) And yes, you guessed it. Anything carrying a code also requires acquiring a building permit, and paying a fee.
I researched the local code and thought I knew everything I needed to know, ordered the railings, and watched with great satisfaction as they were impeccably installed. Those folks used an epoxy cement that will never leak and allow the water incursion that caused previous masonry failure. OK. Done! … Silly me!
Except… in addition to the local code, there’s a NY State code that has one further restriction: on the triangular space between the bottom rail and the tread below. This restriction keeps a wandering infant with a slightly larger head (6 inches) from getting stuck!
We gritted our teeth, gnashed and grumbled lots of gnasty words. Then, we explored many options. One of the simpler was to bolt on more iron pieces to the bottom rails. But those would mean drilling into finished materials and risk yet more water incursion, rust etc. My second choice was to have this sign made to actual size and post it at the bottom of the walkway.
In the end, we decided on concrete “garden globes.” They were simple to make. Cast some concrete mix into glass globes (think electric light shades), and then break off the glass.
They are attached to the blue-stone treads with an epoxy product called “PC-Concrete.” An early trial with simple mortar was not strong enough. The epoxy is many times stronger.
BTW, like all epoxies, this is a 2 part product. It is packaged in a “caulk tube” and very nicely mixes the two parts by forcing the materials through a multitude of baffles in the square portion of the attached plastic nozzle. Clever!
Now, we’re debating whether or not to decorate the globes with the faces of anguished children who got their heads stuck.