Strong, sturdy handrails don’t just look nice: They can be life-saving devices, preventing dangerous spills down the stairs. And because proper handrail installation is important for aesthetics and safety, it can be intimidating. This is especially true if you’re not accustomed to do-it-yourself home projects. To ensure you install an aesthetically pleasing, safe, and solid handrail in your home, review the tips below.
UPDATE: Check out our Handrail Installation Instructions blog post for up-to-date guidance.
Tips for Installing a Handrail
Prioritize Accurate Measurements
Measuring Handrail Length
Lazy measurements can mean the difference between a secure, attractive handrail and a wobbly handrail that’s more of a nuisance than an asset. Safe, code-compliant handrails need to run the entire length of your stairs. Before installing your handrail, measure from the bottom stair nose – the horizontal, protruding edge of the stair – all the way to the top stair nose. The easiest way to do this is with a tape measure, which you can hook onto the bottom stair and run to the top. After measuring the length of your handrail, be sure to give yourself a bit of buffer room before you cut the handrail – up to three inches or so.
Measuring Handrail Height
Once you’ve established your handrail length, make sure to measure handrail height. Most municipality staircase codes dictate that staircase railings be between 34 and 38 inches high from the stair nose to the top of the railing. Measure this height from the stair nose, then mark it so your railing is in compliance with building codes.
Mark the Studs
If you’re hanging your handrail brackets on a wall, drywall anchors simply aren’t strong enough. You need to secure handrail brackets to wall studs to make sure they stay secure. Space brackets for round and oval handrails approximately 32 inches apart, and space larger, more rectangular handrail brackets up to 48 inches apart. Use a stud finder to find studs on the wall, then mark them for easy installation.
In addition, consider one of our more aesthetic tips for installing a handrail: Mark the railing height and wall studs with painter’s tape so you don’t have to worry about leaving pencil marks on your wall. It’s easy, cheap, and practical!
Follow the Directions Carefully
Though they share a lot in common, every handrail kit is different. When you purchase your kit, review the directions carefully and contact the seller or manufacturer if you have any questions. Use only the tools directed, and follow your measurements. The truth is, anyone can install a sturdy, beautiful handrail with the right tools and a helpful guide.
Installing a handrail doesn’t have to be complicated – just make sure to be precise in all measurements and follow the directions carefully to keep your home up to code. Ultimately, when you work with Aluminum Handrail Direct, you won’t just get tips for installing a handrail. You’ll get step-by-step instructions that will make installation a breeze.
Do you still have questions about installing 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 417-720-8137.