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Stairway Handrail Installation

Handrails help people climbing stairs by providing them with something to hold onto and maintain their balance. Installing handrails is a relatively easy process but will require some basic knowledge of construction. Before installing the rail, you will also have to check the codes for installing handrails to make sure you are putting in the rail at the proper height, even if you're merely installing upgrades into your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Sharpie
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Chalk dust
  • Drill
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
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    • 1

      Place the level flat against the edge of a stair. Mark the spot with a Sharpie on the level where the top of the stair meets the level. Use a tape measure to measure the required length for the handrail on the level. Make another mark on the top of the level at the appropriate length.

    • 2

      Measure the thickness of the rail and the height of the mounting bracket. Subtract these measurements from your height requirement for the railing. Measure the length of the railing and bracket down from the top mark on the lever. Draw a line on the level for the new measurements. Place the tape measure against the wall and mark with a pencil where the mounting brackets should be placed according to your new measurements.

    • 3

      Coat the string in chalk dust. Stretch the string tightly from one wall mark to the other. Pull the string and snap it back to make a chalk line on the wall in order to see where the railing should align with the wall.

    • 4

      Move a stud finder along the line until you find the first edge of the stud. Mark the edge of the first side of the stud. Move the stud finder along the opposite edge until you find the second edge. Mark this edge as well.

    • 5

      Drill a hole in the middle of the stud for the first bracket. Use the drill to screw in the first bracket. Repeat the process for the second bracket.

    • 6

      Place the handrail next to the molding along the stairs. Mark with pencil on the railing along the top and bottom corners of the molding. Cut the edges off at a 45-degree angle so the railing matches the length of the molding. Glue the cut ends facing opposite on the ends of the railing to create a corner. Reinforce the glue with nails.

    • 7

      Place the handrail on the brackets. Make sure the railing lines up along the chalk line and that the ends fit against the wall. Screw the brackets onto the railing using the panels and screws that come with the brackets.