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How To Install a Wall-Mounted Handrail

How To Install a Wall-Mounted HandrailDid you know that more accidents happen on stairways than anywhere else in the house? 

If you’ve ever lived in a home without a stair rail (or even a wobbly, uneven one), this statistic probably doesn’t surprise you. Therefore, handrails are considered an essential safety inclusion in any two story or split level home- so it’s important to install one as soon as possible. If not for the sake of yourself, then certainly for any young/elderly relatives you might live with.

The good news is: installing a wall mounted handrail is a relatively inexpensive, DIY friendly project. You don't require any specialist tools, or previous experience, just a bit of common sense and elbow grease!

We’ll walk you through the entire process from start to finish, to ensure that you end up with a handrail that not only looks great, but will stand the test of time!
 

Before you start


We always recommend double checking your local building code before making any alterations to your staircase- especially in commercial settings. Handrail codes are ever changing, and the recommendations outlined below may not necessarily be compliant in your area, or at the time of reading. 
 

What You'll Need

 
  • Handrail (**Note, in this guide we’ll be using timber rail, but stainless steel/galv can also be used)
  • Handrail Brackets
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Stud Finder
  • Timber/Wood Screws (if not provided with the brackets)
  • Painters Tape
  • Pencil
  • Drill & Bits
 

Instructions

 

Locate Your Studs 


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Run your stud finder along the wall you intend to install your handrail on. Generally, studs will be spaced approximately 450mm apart from each other (when measuring from centre to centre). So, once you locate your first stud, the rest should be relatively easy to find.

Once you have found a stud, use a level and either painters tape or a pencil to mark a long, vertical line down the centre. This will help you find the best placement for your wall brackets in the next step.
 

Mark Your Bracket Positions


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Decide which studs you want to place your brackets on. Generally, we recommend a spacing of between 900 and 1000mm.

Using the same tools as above, faintly mark a point along your guideline between 865mm and 125mm above the nose of the stair treads. These marks represent the location of the top edge of your handrail and should act as a guide only- not the final location on your bracket (so draw lightly)! The overall height of the rail depends mostly on preference, but we recommend 1m in most circumstances.

With the help of a few others, line the top end of the handrail up against the pencil marks. Make new reference marks along the bottom of your handrail where it intersects the studs. This is where the top of your handrail brackets should be located.
 

Measure & Cut Your Handrail To Length 


If you have purchased your handrail from us, you can skip this step, as we offer a free cutting service on timber rails! 

If not, measure and cut the handrail to your desired length. It’s common for handrails to extend between 250 & 300mm past the top and bottom steps, so you should take this into account. Now is also the time to attach any end caps or fittings, and paint/stain your rail. 
 

Attach Brackets To The Wall


Position the top of your handrail brackets on the marked points along the studs. You should be able to mark and pre-drill your holes from here. 

Make sure that you line your handrail bracket up on the correct angle. You should be able to use the marks that represent both top & bottom as a guide.

Every bracket will have a different way of fixing it to the wall- so unfortunately there’s not a one-size fits all solution here. If you have any questions surrounding our handrail brackets, we’d be more than happy to answer them via email or over the phone. 

 

Attach the Handrail To Your Brackets


Once you’ve attached your brackets to the wall, all that’s left to do is hang the handrail. 

Simply place your timber rail atop the brackets, and attach it using timber screws. If you want to prevent splitting, you can pre-drill small pilot holes first. This is an especially important precaution to take if you are using hardwood rails.

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Done!