Parts of the House/ Stairs & Railings/ Woodworking & Workshop/ Carpentry/ Finishing & Refinishing/ Molding & Trim Work/

How to Make a Hand Rail or Railing for Steps and Stairways

Transcript

Install a Matching Wood Handrail on the Wall Side of Your Stairs for Eye-Appeal and Stair Safety

Secure a second decorative wood handrail to the wall on the opposite side of your staircase. The second stair railing adds interest and eye-appeal to the bare wall and, more importantly, provides additional safety for people as they go up or down the stairs. Orienting the handrail on its side can add finger-hold and save space on narrow stairs.

Read More
drawing a vertical line at each mark
Step 1

Measure and Mark the Correct Height for the Wooden Handrail

Measure the banister height and mark that distance above the stair treads at the top and bottom stair. Use a level to draw a vertical line at each mark and connect them with a chalk line for the stair railing.

locating wall studs with an electronic stud finder
Step 2

Use an Electronic Stud Finder to Locate Wall Studs

Locate all the wall studs along the length of the stair rail with an electronic stud finder. Mark each for use in securing a mounting strip directly to the studs for extra strength.

cutting the mounting rail to fit the handrail channel
Step 3

Fit a Mounting Strip to the Handrail's Bottom Channel

Cut a mounting strip to fit the width and length of the bottom channel of the decorative handrail, mitering/angling the ends to fit the cap at the top of the railing and the horizontal section along the bottom.

securing the mounting strip
Step 4

Position the Mounting Strip and Countersink Screw Holes

Align the mounting strip below the chalk line. Drill pilot holes and then countersink holes for the screws on top of each stud

masking off the mounting strip
Step 5

Mask off the Wall and Stain the Mounting Strip

Use low-tack painter's tape to mask off the wall around the pre-stained mounting strip. Add some stain to the polyurethane and apply a second coat to match the existing stair railing. Remove the painter's tape.

mitering the decorative handrail
Step 6

Cut the Decorative Handrail to Fit with Mitered Ends

Double-check measurements before cutting the expensive decorative handrail and the cut it to fit each section with appropriately mitered ends.

slipping the handrail over the mounting rail
Step 7

Slip the Handrail Channel over the Mounting Strip

Slip the handrail channel over the mounting strip. Mark evenly-spaced screw positions on painter's tape along the railing that do not coincide with screws in the mounting strip. Countersink screw holes and drive in wood screws to secure the handrail.

fitting mitered ends of the handrails together
Step 8

Cut a Horizontal Rail for the Bottom of the Stairs

Cut a short horizontal handrail for the bottom of the stairs, mitering one end to fit the angled main handrail and square-cutting the other end square to fit the wall. Secure it the same way as the main rail.

positioning the mitered cap on the handrail
Step 9

Miter a Cap for the Upper End of the Handrail

Cut a mitered cap of the same material to fit the upper end of the main handrail. Apply glue to the mitered surface and position the cap prior to driving in countersunk screws for extra strength.

covering screw holes with wooden pegs
Step 10

Insert Pre-cut Wooden Pegs into Each Screw Hole

Glue ready-made pegs of matching wood into the holes to cover the countersunk screws. Ensure the grain on the peg aligns with that on the handrail and gently tap them flush with the handrail using a hammer.

comments

Related Tips

Blog Articles

November 18, 2017

Trompe-l’œi - The Art of Illusion Brought Home

A visit to a trompe-l'œi artist's home where what meets the eye may be misleading.

November 04, 2017

How Millwork Was Made 100 Years Ago

A visit to a Victorian era millwork shop and museum.

January 11, 2017

How to Choose the Right Blade for an Oscillating Tool or Multi-tool

How to select the right oscillating tool or multi-tool BLADE for the job at hand.

Recent Articles