installing a stair railing


Old 11-27-08, 11:17 AM
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Location: Baltimore, MD
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installing a stair railing

The stairs going down to my basement/game room do not currently have any railings installed on the bottom 1/2 of the stairs. The top 1/2 does have a railing but it is attached directly to the wall. The bottom 1/2 has no wall on either side.

I would like to turn this area into to a play area for my kids, however, the stairs are currently a safety hazard w/no railing.

I'd like to install a simply railing w/spindles on each side. My big question is how do I anchor the bottom base/support onto the stairs. My old house had a similar installation but the base support was very loose and wobbly. I would like to avoid this problem.

The stairs are typical building grade, wood and are open underneath on the backside (through a storage room).

What is the simplest way to do this installation? Any suggestions on where to find a good set of instructions?

Thank you very much.

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Old 11-28-08, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Install posts from the front of the bottom step up to the basement ceiling and attach the lower end of the railing system to the posts.
Old 11-28-08, 06:35 AM
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I would use a newel post at the bottom of the stairs and a length of handrail that you can get at any home center. You can also buy prepainted (or bare wood) standard balusters that have a 3/4" dowel on the bottom. All you have to do is drill a matching hole in the stair tread and glue it in place. You can also buy dowel screws if the baluster doesn't have a dowel on the end.

If you buy a handrail that is ploughed you won't have to drill the handrail to accept the balusters. Just cut the top of the baluster to height on an angle matching the handrail. A piece of shoe and a couple of finish nails will hold the baluster in the rail.

The toughest part of installing a railing is the layout. There are building code requirements for railing heighth and baluster spacing. Once you have that figured out it's an easy job. There is a lot of info on line about installing stair rails
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