Install a New Stair Handrail
So strong it’s kid-proof! We’ll show you how to do it.
If you have a loose stair rail, a weak stair rail or no rail at all, fix the problem by installing a solidly anchored railing like we show here. Would your stair rail hold up to three energetic youngsters hanging on it like this? If you’re not sure, or if you have stairways with missing rails, now’s the time to fix the problem. More accidents happen on stairways than anywhere else in the house, and a strong stair rail goes a long way toward making stairs safer and easier to use. In this article, we’ll show you how to cut and assemble your rail, how to mount it solidly to the wall framing and determine the proper handrail height.
- 150-grit sandpaper
- 4d finish nails
- 90-second epoxy
- Masking tape (1-1/2-in. wide)
- Railing brackets
- Railing material
- Wood glue
Measure the stair and purchase the stair railing
The design we chose to replace stair railings lightly exceeds the building codes in many regions. We extended the stair railing beyond both the top and the bottom steps. While this isn’t always possible, it allows you to grasp the stair railing sooner and hold onto the stair handrail longer to maintain good balance.
Before you go shopping for your handrails for stairs, measure from the nosing of the top landing to the floor at the bottom of the stairs and add 2 ft. This is the length of stair railing material you’ll need. You’ll find code-approved handrail and the other materials you’ll need at lumberyards and home centers.
Hardwood handrails for stairs like the oak stair railing we’re using are more expensive. Pine and poplar rails cost less. In addition to the stair railing, you’ll need wall mounted handrail brackets, a package of two-part, 90-second epoxy, and about 4 ft. of 2×4. Buy enough brackets to install two at the top, one at the bottom and one every 48 in. between the top and the bottom of the stair railing.
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