Stair railings serve two purposes. The primary purpose is as a safety feature; the railings provide something for people to hold onto when ascending or descending the staircase. Stair railings also serve as decoration, as they complement a banister on the opposite wall or break up the monotony of a bare wall. This home improvement project can be completed fairly easily and at a low cost.
Locate the studs on the wall where you are installing the railing. Use a stud finder, then mark the studs on the wall with a pencil.
Make marks along the wall over the studs at the desired height of the railing. If there is a banister on the opposite wall, use the height of the banister. If there's no banister, follow local building codes regarding the height of stair railing. Connect the marks by snapping a chalk line.
Hold the mounting brackets for the railing over the studs where you are installing them. Mark the locations of the brackets on the wall by making small pencil marks in the screw holes on the brackets.
Measure, and cut the railing to fit the length needed with the compound miter saw, then cut both ends of the railing at a 45-degree angle in a miter box so that when the railing is placed on the wall angling up and down its ends have 45-degree cuts that appear to be vertical (straight up and down).
Measure and cut pieces of railing for the returns, and cut one end of each return at a 45-degree angle. The returns are the short pieces of railing that span the gap between the main railing and the wall at each end. Smooth cut wood with a sanding block or the rotary tool with a sanding accessory.
Apply carpenter's glue to one end of the railing and place one of the returns against it, positioning the two pieces so that they form a 90-degree angle. Connect the return and the railing by nailing two finishing nails through the return and into the railing at the joint. Wipe away any glue that seeped out with a damp rag. Attach the other return to the railing using the same method, and allow the glue to set for the time specified on the packaging.
Finish the railing. This could involve staining the railing, or adding a coat of primer and then painting it. Allow the stain or paint to dry.
Attach the mounting brackets to the wall with the screws provided with the brackets, placing the screws so that they sink into the wall studs.
Attach the handrail to the mounting brackets with the provided hardware.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear safety glasses when working with power tools.
Things You'll Need:
- Stud finder
- Tape measure
- Chalk line
- Mounting brackets
- Compound miter saw
- Sanding block
- Rotary tool with sanding accessories
- Carpenter's glue
- Finishing nails
- Damp rag
- Safety glasses
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