If you have exterior steps leading to your porch, there’s a good chance that local building codes mandate at least one handrail. But how do you go from reading building codes to putting the finishing touches on a handrail on your property? And do you really need to hire a handyman, or can you install the handrail yourself? Short answer: You can absolutely build a handrail yourself. Learning how to build a handrail is a relatively simple DIY project for anyone, even homeowners without much do-it-yourself flair. These steps will help you get started.
How to Build a Handrail
Step 1: Check Your Local Building Codes
First things first: You’ll need to consult your local building codes before you install your handrail. These codes dictate everything from handrail height and length to the distance between posts. So, who makes the rules? First, the International Code Council (ICC) reevaluates and updates home and business owner codes, making it a great place to start. However, the ICC isn’t the only governing body with handrail restrictions. Passed by Congress in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of Americans with disabilities. The ADA is full of regulations for homeowners, business owners, and renters, all of which are designed to make your property more accessible. That includes handrail access. While the ADA code is fairly straightforward, you can be penalized if you fail to comply. For that reason, you should always work with an ADA-compliant handrail company like Aluminum Handrail Direct.
Step 2: Check Your Equipment
After you’ve checked your local codes, you should be ready to get started. But first, you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Luckily, building a handrail is a fairly simple process, so you won’t need to purchase a lot of extraneous equipment. Generally speaking, you’ll need the following pieces of equipment:
- #2 Phillips Head screwdriver or bit
- Electric drill
- Chop saw or hacksaw
- 1/8” metal drill bit
- Tape measure
- Bar clamps
- Blue painter’s tape
Step 3: Take Measurements
Remember those building regulations from earlier? Those are your best guide when it comes to handrail measurements. Before you get started, make sure to take several key measurements; namely, the height of your staircase, the length of your staircase, and a rough estimation of where you want your handrail to begin and end. If you plan to install ADA-compliant handrails with returns, be sure to include the returns in your measurements. Mark measurements with blue painter’s tape for best results.
Step 4: Follow the Instructions
If you’ve decided to build your handrail yourself, make sure to follow the handrail installation instructions exactly as they are written. Otherwise, you might be left with an unreliable handrail that could fail at an inopportune moment. Our website includes step-by-step how-to guides for OHR handrails, CHR handrails, and AHR handrails.
Now that we’ve reviewed how to build a handrail, you should be ready to get started. Be sure to follow our step-by-step instructions and, when in doubt, give our customer service experts a call. With a little patience and attention to detail, you’ll have your new handrail built in no time.
At Aluminum Handrail Direct, our sturdy and stylish powder-coated aluminum handrails will deliver the look that you want and the reliability that you deserve. Our attractive, maintenance-free aluminum handrails are finished with a durable powder coating in a wide range of colors. Are you worried about small nicks or scratches marring your handrail? There’s no need. We also offer suitable touch-up kits: a pen/bottle, a spray paint kit, and a three-part kit. View our amazing selection today in our online store, and explore our full range of products to find the perfect handrail for your project.