In many (if not most) cases, a handrail system won’t perfectly fit the designated section of stairs or ramp. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the product. You simply need to learn how to extend a handrail to the appropriate length. This can easily be tackled with a DIY project. But if you’re working with a contractor, you may still find it useful to learn so that you can better communicate with your contractor and oversee the project’s success. Scroll down to learn how to extend a handrail.
How to Extend a Handrail
Choose Quality Mounts and Internal Connectors
Your handrails are only as good as their mounts and internal connectors. Look for high-quality, durable connectors with collars as well as reliable mounts. If possible, purchase these products from the same company that supplies your handrail system for consistency. If you’re struggling to find mounts that match the color of your handrail, work with a company that offers several different options of powder-coated aluminum colors. In addition, look for a low-maintenance material like aluminum, which will maintain its strength over time and won’t rust.
You may be interested in Aluminum Handrail Direct’s CHR Internal Connector & Collar. Made of powder-coated aluminum, it can securely attach two lengths of handrail together. And if you select an AHR handrail system, check out the AHR Connector.
Once you purchase the required parts, you can get to work or schedule the project with your contractor.
Once you have your railing system and your internal connectors and mounts, you simply need to follow the provided directions to attach the lengths of rail together. With some connectors, the installation is intuitive: you simply place the connector between the two lengths of handrail and secure the three pieces together, creating a seamless whole. Other connectors may involve the following steps:
- Insert the connector into one piece of the railing, up to the screw.
- Slide the collar over the other length of railing.
- Push that piece of railing over the other end of the connector.
- Remove the screw.
- Push the two lengths of railing together. The collar will hide the seam.
Once the extension is complete, you can install the mount to support the lengthened handrail.
Follow Applicable Building Codes
As you plan the length of your handrail and prepare to combine two pieces of railing, you will need to review all applicable building codes to ensure compliance. These will vary depending on whether it is a residential or commercial project.
Every little detail matters when it comes to designing a structure that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) building codes, especially since these codes evolve over time. According to the most recent ADA standards update, ramps and curb ramps with handrails are required along handicap-accessible routes when there are changes in ground level greater than half an inch, and they must span the entire stretch of handrail. You’ll need to install railings along accessible routes with slopes steeper than five percent. In order to meet ADA standards, your building’s handrails must extend one tread horizontally from the bottom step. In addition, ADA standards require stair rails to extend horizontally by one foot past the top tread. For this reason, it’s often necessary to extend a handrail when complying with ADA guidelines.
Do you still have questions about how to extend a handrail? Contact Aluminum Handrail Direct for assistance. We offer high-quality, maintenance-free aluminum handrails and accessories, and we would be happy to help you understand how to install our products. With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, we can help you choose the right railings for your application. We’ll even ship your handrails directly to you to make your building process as easy as possible. For more information, give us a call at 417-409-3179.