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How to Hang a HAND RAIL

by dakremer
posted 09-26-2018 06:49 PM


25 replies so far

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#1 posted 09-26-2018 07:08 PM

I should also note, I believe this is a plaster wall, not drywall…

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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WoodenDreams

728 posts in 415 days


#2 posted 09-26-2018 07:12 PM

I’ve installed hand rails twice before. Each time I put a the brackets on each stud. Going by your picture, I’d put in 4 brackets. The rails will have more strength with the brackets near the end, and each stud in between. normally 16” apart, and on the studs. If you need to turn them in, do it just after the bracket on the uppersection. The lower turn in, could you wrap the turn in around the corner? per the 1st picture. USE THE STUDS FOR YOUR ANCHORS. If not, run a 3/4” thick board on the wall the length behind the brackets. Anchor the board to all the studs then install 4 brackets to the runner board. The board will act as a accent trim behind the rail.

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#3 posted 09-26-2018 07:17 PM

the problem is that stud 1 and 4 are right next to the vertical trim so the bracket will be right up against the trim – which won’t look great but also won’t give me enough room to turn/miter the handrail into the wall….

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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WoodenDreams

728 posts in 415 days


#4 posted 09-26-2018 07:35 PM

Ok, What about installing a 1”x6” runner board the length 1st. Than you can the 4 brackets where you wish between your end turn-ins.

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Kazooman

1356 posts in 2457 days


#5 posted 09-26-2018 07:38 PM

Unfortunately, the time to plan for the handrail was before the drywall went up. Appropriate blocking installed between the studs would have provided a solid anchor point at a reasonable distance from the end of the rail. It looks like the best method might be to have the rail long enough so that it overlaps the trim with or without turning back into the wall.

I recently had a bathroom remodeled. Decided against installing a handicap grab rail in the shower at this point in time since we do not need it. However, I had them install 2 X 10” blocking between the studs at positions where a future rail would go. All documented with drawings and photos before the expensive shower enclosure was installed. A wide variety of rails (length, angle on the wall, etc.) can be added in the future with firm anchoring into the blocks.

A “no holds barred, money is no object, super high quality” fix for your dilemma would be to pull off the drywall, install the blocking, re-drywall, and hang the rail.

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#6 posted 09-26-2018 07:43 PM



Unfortunately, the time to plan for the handrail was before the drywall went up. Appropriate blocking installed between the studs would have provided a solid anchor point at a reasonable distance from the end of the rail. It looks like the best method might be to have the rail long enough so that it overlaps the trim with or without turning back into the wall.

I recently had a bathroom remodeled. Decided against installing a handicap grab rail in the shower at this point in time since we do not need it. However, I had them install 2 X 10” blocking between the studs at positions where a future rail would go. All documented with drawings and photos before the expensive shower enclosure was installed. A wide variety of rails (length, angle on the wall, etc.) can be added in the future with firm anchoring into the blocks.

A “no holds barred, money is no object, super high quality” fix for your dilemma would be to pull off the drywall, install the blocking, re-drywall, and hang the rail.

- Kazooman

Yeah, I wish everyone would do things “right” the first time. This house is 100 years old, so not sure a handrail was even a consideration when this was built. The steps can be a little slick, so I definitely need a handrail with a pregnant wife roaming around!

Definitely not taking the plaster down to install a handrail :) :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#7 posted 09-26-2018 07:44 PM

Since this is a lath/plaster wall, would some wall anchors be strong enough since it would be anchored behind the lath? I’m assuming not

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#8 posted 09-26-2018 07:48 PM



I ve installed hand rails twice before. Each time I put a the brackets on each stud. Going by your picture, I d put in 4 brackets. The rails will have more strength with the brackets near the end, and each stud in between. normally 16” apart, and on the studs. If you need to turn them in, do it just after the bracket on the uppersection. The lower turn in, could you wrap the turn in around the corner? per the 1st picture. USE THE STUDS FOR YOUR ANCHORS. If not, run a 3/4” thick board on the wall the length behind the brackets. Anchor the board to all the studs then install 4 brackets to the runner board. The board will act as a accent trim behind the rail.

- WoodenDreams

I want to keep the railing contained within the vertical trim, and not wrap around the bottom or top. I also don’t think I’ll like the look of the trim board behind that railing. I guess I could really upgrade the stairwell and add a wainscoting, and then put the trim on that. Seems like a lot of extra work though :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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JADobson

1445 posts in 2615 days


#9 posted 09-26-2018 07:54 PM



Ok, What about installing a 1”x6” runner board the length 1st. Than you can the 4 brackets where you wish between your end turn-ins.

- WoodenDreams

This seems like the best option.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#10 posted 09-26-2018 08:26 PM

maybe the best option for sturdiness, but not for aesthetics.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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WoodenDreams

728 posts in 415 days


#11 posted 09-26-2018 08:26 PM

All on your personal preference for strength and looks.

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#12 posted 09-26-2018 08:48 PM



All on your personal preference for strength and looks.

- WoodenDreams

Yep, I absolutely agree. The board behind the railing would not be my preference for looks, so looking for different options

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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OnhillWW

186 posts in 1737 days


#13 posted 09-26-2018 08:50 PM

If it were my project I would:
A) Check to see if the wall on the other side of the stairs provides better options – different stud spacing etc.
B) As long as the handrail is a strong unit, I would go with using the two center studs as a place to anchor the 2 brackets. Then install the handrail – then with the use of in-wall anchors (many options out there) place and install a bracket near each end. I would be careful about drilling around that switch as obviously there is wiring in the wall there. Two brackets in a stud will carry the lion’s share of the load, with a stiff handrail any load will be shared so I think your going to be OK.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#14 posted 09-26-2018 08:52 PM



If it were my project I would:
A) Check to see if the wall on the other side of the stairs provides better options – different stud spacing etc.
B) As long as the handrail is a strong unit, I would go with using the two center studs as a place to anchor the 2 brackets. Then install the handrail – then with the use of in-wall anchors (many options out there) place and install a bracket near each end. I would be careful about drilling around that switch as obviously there is wiring in the wall there. Two brackets in a stud will carry the lion s share of the load, with a stiff handrail any load will be shared so I think your going to be OK.

- OnhillWW

That’s kind of what I’m learning towards – use the two studs in the middle and then wall anchors on two other brackets at the ends. I just wasn’t sure if this was a big no-no (using anchors) or not. I would imagine anchors into lath is decently strong.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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JADobson

1445 posts in 2615 days


#15 posted 09-26-2018 08:59 PM



maybe the best option for sturdiness, but not for aesthetics.

- dakremer

I don’t know. If you paint the board to match and do a neat job of butting it up against the existing trim I think it would look pretty good. If you wanted to get fancy you could do some wainscotting below. Make it look like you planned it that way.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#16 posted 09-26-2018 09:01 PM


maybe the best option for sturdiness, but not for aesthetics.

- dakremer

I don t know. If you paint the board to match and do a neat job of butting it up against the existing trim I think it would look pretty good. If you wanted to get fancy you could do some wainscotting below. Make it look like you planned it that way.

- JADobson

yeah i was thinking that – if I did it that way, I’d want to put wainscoting below it. Think I’ll try it with two brackets into the studs and then one with a wall anchor and see how it holds up. If it’s not sturdy enough, maybe i’ll go the wainscoting way…..

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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GR8HUNTER

6436 posts in 1217 days


#17 posted 09-26-2018 09:05 PM

1 ? 4 u … are you sure these are you stud locations ? because plaster with lath can give you false readings :<((

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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OnhillWW

186 posts in 1737 days


#18 posted 09-26-2018 09:08 PM

I would not rely on drill and knock in mollies (plastic). Assuming a bracket which requires more than one fastener in the wall I’d make sure at least one per bracket is an expanding type anchor, preferably the type that expand behind the wall. Any others could be a simple plastic insert. Not knowing which brackets you are looking to use, some have screws that are pretty close to each other, in that case placing two expanders side by side is not a good idea as they can interfere with each other as they expand. Also the two oversized holes required to install a decent anchor may need to be so close to each other that it weakens the wall in that location rendering them less efficient than one solidly installed anchor.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#19 posted 09-26-2018 09:12 PM



1 ? 4 u … are you sure these are you stud locations ? because plaster with lath can give you false readings :<((

- GR8HUNTER

4 is definitely a stud, There’s an outlet on each side of the wall at that location along the stud. I’m not 100% positive that 1 is a stud. 2 & 3 are definitely studs.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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GR8HUNTER

6436 posts in 1217 days


#20 posted 09-26-2018 11:00 PM

well then I recommend you screw directly into all studs you can …. and for the ends just simply use Molly bolts or toggle bolts or possible just fasten directly to wood at end the just make small round or oval for studs 2 and 3 just big enough for the bracket if you go this way be sure to drill holes first a little bigger then what you need :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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000

2859 posts in 1404 days


#21 posted 09-26-2018 11:18 PM

Hit the 2 middle studs
Use snap toggles on the outside 2. You can pick them up at any big box store. Very strong. I did a test and it pulled out at least a 5” round patch of drywall. Plaster maybe even stronger?

Edit:
Here is a picture of the piece it tore out of the wall. Some of it is just sheet rock paper but the chunk of sheet rock that came out was at least 4 inches. (I had to glue it back in, landlords, go figure )

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#22 posted 09-26-2018 11:25 PM



Hit the 2 middle studs
Use snap toggles on the outside 2. You can pick them up at any big box store. Very strong. I did a test and it pulled out at least a 5” round patch of drywall. Plaster maybe even stronger?

- jbay

That’s what I ended up doing. Hit the two middle studs and then used anchors on the outside two. So four brackets total. The thing feels super solid. I don’t think I’ll have any issues

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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Jim Jakosh

23362 posts in 3610 days


#23 posted 09-27-2018 12:47 AM

I’d put 5 brackets on the rail you have shown- Put them all into studs…especially the end ones. It looks like an 8ft ceiling downstairs by the number of stairs. I have a 7ft ceiling and I used 4 brackets.

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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dakremer

2746 posts in 3596 days


#24 posted 09-27-2018 02:19 AM

jbay – nice! I think that’s plenty strong, especially with two of the brackets hitting studs. This is also lath/plaster, which should be stronger than drywall. I think I’m safe.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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d38

134 posts in 767 days


#25 posted 09-27-2018 06:48 PM

Glad it worked for you. I’d agree, knowing you hit the 2 middle studs, then a good heavy anchor on the ends should be solid.
My house is 118 years old (been in it 8 years), so I know how these things go. Most walls are sheetrock over plaster, so finding studs is difficult. I added a hand rail going upstairs a few years ago. Luckily I hit several studs, and its solid.
Jobs like this do need function as the high priority, even if we need to sacrifice beauty (luckily you got strength and the look you wanted). If we lose our balance, we NEED the rail to prevent major injury.

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