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What is a Handrail? A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Handrail

There comes a time in many people’s lives when they may need some help with walking. That’s especially true as they age and their musculoskeletal structures weaken. They may be unable to balance when walking up stairs or on other steep surfaces.

Fortunately, modern engineering and architecture come to the rescue with the handrail. Now, it’s time to answer a burning question that many people have, “what is a handrail, and how can it transform many peoples’ lives?”

Table of Contents

Definition of a Handrail

A handrail is nothing more than a rail attached to posts that are nailed to a wall or a wall itself. The rail offers people support when going up and down steeper stairs and surfaces.

When Do You Need a Handrail?

Many people ask the question, “When is a handrail required.” While that may seem easy to answer at first glance, it’s much more complex to answer. You’ll need to install handrails when people need more balance and leverage when walking up and down steeper stairs or surfaces.

That makes many people ask another question, “When is a handrail required for stairs?” That’s a bit more complicated question since it depends on the type of stairs or steeper surface you have in a building. It also depends on what the building codes where you live require.

You’ll need to contact officials in your local city hall since the rules and regulations governing handrail construction (techniques and materials) differ by city. All cities have rules that stipulate how high the handrail must rise above the ground. You’ll need to consider that when building your handrails.

How High Does a Handrail Need to Be?

You may ask yourself, “What is the height of a stair handrail?” when you’re building your handrail. If you live in America, you’ll have to follow OSHA rules determined by certain statutes, rules, and regulations. 

You can’t build a handrail over 37 inches above the ground. It will be hard for most people to easily hold onto it if it’s any higher than that. 

Building a Handrail Outside

Many buildings have steeper steps on the outside. If you’re tasked with building one of these, you’ll need to build a handrail for the steps outside. So, now it’s time to answer the question, “how to build a handrail for outdoor steps?”

Step 1: Level the area where the handrail’s base will lie. It’s as simple as building a level pad. The good news is that all you have to do is dig a shallow and level hole in the ground and fill it with concrete.

Remember that the hole must be at least 4 inches deep for the base to hold well. You can always pack the hole with paving stones if you need to learn how to mix and lay concrete. 

Step 2: Cut the bottom part of the rails also referred to as stringers. Then you fasten them with a piece of 2-by lumber. You want to secure it with screws to the bottom of the stringers since it will support the handrails. 

Step 3: Cut the posts out. Keep length in mind since they have to be tall enough to stand by the stringer but short enough to support the easily accessible handrail. Make sure to notch the bottom of the posts about 1.5 inches deep so that they can easily fit on the stringers. 

Step 4: Secure the posts in place. You do that by first tackling the posts into the framing. Please pay attention to how tightly it’s fastened to the stringer and surprise as you do that. You’ll know you’re on the right track if the posts are tightly attached to the stringer and surprise. 

Step 5: Attach the posts. Do that by nailing two wood blocks between the stringers. Make sure they are nailed tightly to the backs of each post as you’re doing that. Then, get a drill out and drill two half-inch holes into the stringers. The holes must go through the stringers and reach the posts.

Step 6: Drill another half-inch hole through the surprise, the posts, and the supporting blocks. Secure the posts, surprises, and blocks in place with half-inch galvanized carriage bolts. Use nuts and screws to tighten and secure the bolts in place. Install the risers and treads. While the handrail will be stable, it may be somewhat sturdy.

Product Suggestion: External handrails for steps

Building a Handrail

If you’re building handrails, you probably want to know how to build a handrail. Well, here’s your answer. 

  1. Measure the area where you will build the handrail. Then create a crude drawing. That will help you visualize the materials you’ll need to build the handrail and how you’ll have to build the handrail. Factors you want to pay attention to when measuring the area include:

a. How high the steps will be

b. How deep the steps will be

c. How far will each step be from the post markers?

  1. Do the math. If it sounds like an involved and multi-step process, it’s because it is! You’ll need to measure the posts first. You do that by ensuring all posts are of the same height. That’s more than just ensuring your handrail will be smooth and uniform. OSHA and BOCA rules require it. Both OSHA and BOCA rules also require the posts to be at least 42 inches high.
  2. Then calculate how long the handrail will be. Measuring and calculating the posts’ height was easy. Measuring and calculating the handrail’s length is not! First, you must measure how far the posts are from each other. Then add the length of each step and each post to each step to that number. 
  3. Then measure how high each step is. Tally each measurement. You have now calculated the angle and total length of the handrail.  
  4. You’ll need a calculator for the next step since your calculations must be accurate. You’ll need to calculate the handrail’s height and length angle. There is a simple formula that will help. First, divide the handrail’s height by its length. Then do an inverse tangent on the final figure. You have now calculated your handrail’s bottom angle. 
  5. You need to figure out which types of fittings to use. Note that Kee Klamp fittings are ideal since they have many options in terms of angled fittings.  
  6. You’ll need to measure and calculate your handrail pipe’s length. Use this formula (which you learned in high school Geometry class) a2+b2=C2. You must refer to a chart for accurate numbers or correct your final answer (from the formula).  
  7. The next step is to choose the flanges. The best bet is to choose a simple flange. Here’s a chart that will simplify the process. You’ll need a plastic plug to secure the top pipe and make it impervious to water. Once again, I’ll provide a chart that will make it easy to figure out which plug you need. 
  8. It is choosing the pipe. You’ll need to use specific materials that conform to OSHA and BOCA rules. You’re best off using a Schedule 40 PIPE since this will be the piece that forms the rail that people will hold onto when going up and down steep surfaces and stairs. 
  9. NOTE: NEVER USE A PIPE THAT DOESN’T HAVE GALVANIZED STEEL! Also, always use a powder-coated pipe. Your pipe will rust and become obsolete quickly otherwise.  
  10. You must select certain tools to build the handrail to certain codes. These are:

a. Schedule 40 1.15 galvanized steel pipes.

a. 2 types 62-8 flanges

b. 2 type c50-88 swivel fittings

c. 2 types 84-7 malleable plug

d. Concrete anchors

e. A drill

f. A concrete drill bit

g. Allen wrench

h. Level – while you don’t need it, it does help when you want to ensure that your handrail and posts are level and smooth.

i. Sharpie

j. A rubber mallet – note that a hammer and thick cloth will do a great job.

  1. The next step consists of laying down and securing the bottom flange. This may be a crude way to lay down and secure the bottom flange, but it works. It will be sturdy and level. That’s all you truly want and need from a handrail! 
  2. Place the flange on the posts. You should still be able to see the marking mid-circle. Use a marker to mark the two locations. Take the flange off of the posts. Drill the two holes in the locations. Put the flange back in place and secure it with concrete anchors. You’ll need to use a ratchet for the last step. 
  3. The next step is to fasten the post and rail in place. You do that by attaching the posts to the bottom of the base flange. Then connect a C50-88 to it. Finally, attach the handrail. It’s okay if it drops down for now.
  4. You want to attach the top post now. You’ll be putting the handrail together when you do that. Just remember that the flange won’t be secured at this point. Make sure to do a thorough walk-around inspection of the handrail to ensure it looks level. Then mark holes in the handrail. You’ll be securing the top base flange. 
  5. The next step is to secure the top base flange to the ground. You want to insert the top base flange into the top post. Then attach the top C50 swivel fitting. First, attach it to the top post. Next, please attach it to the handrail. 
  6. You’ll want to insert plugs into each end of the handrail. This will make it impervious to water (make it last longer.) It will also look nicer. Use your rubber mallet or thick cloth and hammer to secure them.

Attaching a Handrail to a Wall

Many people wonder how to attach the end of a handrail to a wall. I’m going to answer that question for you right now. First, you hold a 4-foot level rail plumb to the ground. Then, mark where the top of the rail meets the second step.

The next step is to measure and calculate the height of the handrail and mounting brackets. Be sure to mark the bracket height on the top and bottom of the staircase. You’ll want to use a level to do that.  

You’ll want to connect the two markings with a snap chalk line. You’ll need to mark studs at three points on the staircase: the bottom, middle, and top. You can only do that with an electronic stud finder. The next step is to use a 7/64-inch diameter screw to drill holes into the studs. You’ll need to drill through the chalk line to do that.

Then secure the mounting brackets to the wall studs. You’ll need to screw them in to do that. You’ll need to miter the length of the handrail to 45 degrees as you’re cutting it. It’s the only way they’ll fit. You’ll need to fasten each end of the handrail with a mitred return. For best results, use glue and screws to do that.

 Then make the handrail look nice by priming and painting it. You can use a stain if you can’t find paint. Please wait for the handrail to dry completely before fastening it to the mounting brackets. Use screws for that.

What is the Difference between a Balustrade and a Handrail?

A balustrade and a handrail are the same or even similar. They’re not. we’ll explain what a fence and handrail are in this section! A balustrade is a part that looks nice. While it’s attached to the stairs and looks like a handrail, its main function is to make the staircase look prettier. On the other hand, a handrail is designed to give people support when they walk up and down the staircase.  

A balustrade normally consists of a series of small interconnected posts or pillars. A handrail connects these. Since they’re ornamental, you tend to find them on staircases, terraces, and balconies.  

A handrail, on the other hand, is a continuous structure. It’s attached to a wall or some other solid structure since it’s designed to give people support. 

How to Build a Deck Handrail

I’ll walk you through all the steps you’ll need to follow to build a deck handrail. You’ll need to buy some equipment and materials first. I’ll list them in tabular format.

Drill – including driver and bits2-in x 2-in Pressure-treated Deck Balusters, Note:  the actual size of each baluster needs to be 1-31/100 in x 1-31/100 in
Impact driver2-in x 4-in pressure-treated lumber. Its real size is 1.15 in by 3.5 inches
Circular saw and blades2-in by 8-in pressure-treated lumber. The real measurements are 1.15 in by 7.25 inches
Jigsaw4-in by 4-in pressure-treated lumber. The real measurements are 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches
Table saw5/4-in by 6-in pressure-treated decking. The real size is 1 inch by 5.5 inches
Compound miter sawDeck screws
Router and bitsRated structural wood screws for pressure-treated lumber
ratchetRailing posts anchors/deck ties
Rachet socketsCarriage bolts rated for pressure-treated lumber
hammerWashers rated for pressure-treated lumber
Chalk reelNuts rated for pressure-treated lumber
Tape measureDeck hardware nails for pressure-treated lumber
Post level 
Speed square 
Framing square 
Saw horses 
Work gloves 
Eye goggles – to protect the eyes 
Hearing protection 
Dust mask 

Some Important Words

Before building a handrail for your deck, you’ll have some work. For example, you’ll need to build a sturdy frame for your deck since your handrail will rest on that. Now it’s time for the fun part – explaining how to build a handrail for your deck.

Mount the Rail Posts

You have two options when doing that. You can mount the posts on the interior of the rim and end joists. You can do that on their exteriors too. You’ll need to follow these steps in consecutive order if you want to build a handrail for your deck the right way:

  1. Calculate the number of posts – you’ll need to calculate the number of posts your handrail will need. Make sure to account for spacing between each post. Use this general rule to help you. You should have posts near your house, at least one post by each outer corner of your house (near where your deck is.) You’ll also need to put posts at the top of your staircase.
  2. Now, measure the distance separating your deck’s two corners. Divide that number by the space between each of the posts (the space should be equal. As a thumb rule, posts can’t have a gap of more than six feet.) Round up to the nearest whole number and subtract one from that figure. 
  3. Cutting the posts – you’ll need to use a saw to cut each post to the exact length. Keep local codes in mind when doing that. Make sure that the bottom of each post lines up with the bottom of the rims and edge joints. 
  4. Attaching the deck anchors – you want to attach these to the interiors of joists for a stronger railing. Always use deck screws when doing that. You want to screw more bracing between the end and floor joists – that’s the only way to secure the anchors. You can use the same lumber you used for the joists for the bracing. 
  5. It would be good to be up-to-date with local ordinances and codes when doing that because they may have a specific installation method to follow.
  6. Screw the posts – that’s how you secure them in place. Ensure they’re completely parallel to each other and their bottom goes to the very bottom of the corresponding joist. You’ll make the job easier by using clamps when doing this step.
  7. Align the bolt hole – you can only complete the installation process if you follow this step. The trick is to ensure that the bolt hole is in the center of the post and that it’s also two inches below the top of the joist. Use a sharpie to make a hole in the joist. Then drill through that. 
  8. Attaching the anchor – you do that by lining the anchor up with the hold you have just made. Use screws to fasten the anchor in place. You’ll want to secure the screw with a carriage bolt, a washer, and a nut.
  9. Drill another hole – drill this hole through the post and the joist. It should be about two inches from the joist’s end. 
  10. Stabilizing the rail – put a second carriage bolt through the bottom hole
  11. Strengthen the rail – attaching an anchor to the back of the rail should do the trick.
  12. Rinse and repeat – repeat the first nine steps when attaching the other posts. 
  13. Secure the anchors in place – add bracing between the posts.

When Do You Need a Handrail?

If you live in Texas, your building will need a handrail if it has a ramp with an incline that’s more than 8.33% of ground level. You’ll need to install handrails at least 34 inches and no higher than 38 inches above ground level.

 You’ll need a handrail if your staircase has at least one flight of full stairs with a riser. The handrails can stick up to 4.5 inches from the staircase’s surface. 

What Height Do You Need a Handrail?

Your handrail should be between 34 to 38 inches above the ground. 

How High Should the Handrail Be?

 In compliance with safety regulations, handrails shall be installed at a height that is not lower than 30 inches (76 cm) and not higher than 37 inches (94 cm) from the highest point of the handrail to the surface of the tread, aligned with the frontal end of the tread.

At What Height Is a Handrail Required?

The staircase or ramp must rise to at least three feet above ground level for a handrail to be necessary.

How to Install a Handrail in a Shower

Here are the general guidelines:

1. Determine the best location for the handrail, such as in a position where it can support the weight of the user and not interfere with other fixtures.

2. Mark the area where the handrail will be placed, ensuring that it is level and secure.

3. Drill the required holes into the shower wall using a ceramic-tipped drill bit or diamond hole saw.

4. Insert the mounting screws into the holes, ensuring that they are tight and secure.

5. Attach the handrail to the mounting screws, ensuring that it is level and tightly secured.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Pool Handrail?

Expect to pay $110 for each foot of the railing. That includes labor costs of about $30 an hour. 

At What Height Is a Handrail Required?

At least 30 and no more than 37 inches off of the ground.

At What Height Should the Handrail Be?

It should be between 33-36 inches off the ground’s surface.

How to Build a Wooden Handrail for Outdoor Steps?

  1. Measure the length and height of the stairs to determine how much wood and hardware will be needed.
  2. Purchase the necessary materials, including the wood for the handrail, brackets, screws, and drill.
  3. Cut the wooden handrail to the appropriate length and sand any rough edges.
  4. Install brackets at the appropriate height and spacing along the stairway.
  5. Attach the handrail to the brackets using screws and a drill.
  6. Finish the handrail with a protective coating, such as waterproof sealant or paint, to prevent rot and weather damage.
  7. Test the strength and stability of the handrail before use.

How Many Steps Need a Handrail?

There is no specification for the number of steps according to OSHA, but you’ll need a handrail when you have at least two risers. 

How Many Steps Is a Handrail Required for Stairs?

It needs to have at least four steps (‘risers.’)

When do Stairs Need a Handrail?

Any stairway, platform, or landing higher than 1 meter above the ground must have a railing. The resulting stairwell will have 3 risers and 4 treads, as required by code. Ramps longer than 2 meters must also be equipped with a handrail. 

What is the Difference between a Balustrade and a Handrail?

Staircases with railings are more common since they aid in balance and safety, whereas Balustrades are put up to protect people from falling over balconies, decks, and other high surfaces.

How Do You Fix a Handrail to a Wall? 

4 foot level150-grit sandpaper
Drill bit set4d finish nails
Cordless drill/driver90-second epoxy
hammer1.5 inch wide masking tape
Magnetic driver bit holderRailing brackets
Miter sawRailing mail
Nail setWood glue
Stud finder 
Tape measure 

The first step is to measure the stair’s dimensions and buy the materials. Make sure you add two feet to your measurements. Then, locate and mark the studs with a sharpie. It wouldn’t hurt to mark the top and bottom of the railing on the wall with masking tape. Remember that the railing should be at least 34 and no higher than 38 inches above the ground. 

Next, use a stud finder to locate the studs. Then use a piece of masking tape to plumb up the top of the railing. It should be a vertical line that’s even with the horizontal line that’s 36 inches above the ground and the front of the nosing.

Cut the railing to the exact dimensions then secure the joints in place. That’s the next step. The next step is to cut a 45-degree miter on one end of the rail. You’ll want to rest this on the ground parallel to the wall.

Step 6 is to cut a 45-degree miter on the top end of the rail (nosing.) Then mark a 16-degree angle on your miter saw and cut the railing at that degree. Repeat for the other edge of the rail. The seventh step is to see how the rail fits on the joints. You can do some adjusting by cutting once you’re finished with this step.

The next step is to cut the 2x4s to the exact angle as the railings. Screw them into place into the studs and secure those with epoxy glue. The next step is to align the top of the rail with the wall. Then center the rail bracket and mark all three holes (The ones that you have secured screws into.)

Then find each stud’s center. Finally, drill in ⅛ inch pilot holes and secure the brackets to the wall with screws. The next step is to attach the railing to the brackets. Finally, you want to cut the returns and attach them to the railing. You can mark the angles on your miter saw and use that to cut the returns.

How Far Apart Should Handrail Brackets Be?

Between 36-48 inches apart.

How to Finish the End of Handrail?

It depends on the type of handrail and how it’s fastened to the wall. But the easiest way to finish the ending is to cut the miter.

How Many Stairs Require a Handrail?

The specific requirement for the number of stairs that require a handrail can vary depending on local building codes and regulations. In general, most building codes stipulate that a handrail should be installed on staircases consisting of two or more risers. However, it is advisable to consult the building codes and regulations specific to your location to determine the exact requirements for handrail installation in your area.

When do you need a Handrail on a Deck?

The requirement for a handrail on a deck is typically determined by the deck height. In many jurisdictions, a handrail is necessary when the deck surface is elevated more than 30 inches above the ground.

What is the Minimum Height of Handrail in Scaffolding?

The minimum height requirement for a handrail in scaffolding can vary depending on the specific jurisdiction and applicable safety regulations. However, as a general guideline, many regulations require a minimum handrail height of 38 inches (96.5 meters) for scaffolding. This ensures a suitable barrier to prevent falls and provides a secure gripping surface for individuals working on the scaffold.

How to Fix Decking Handrail to Newel Post?

You’ll need the following equipment and supplies to do the job:

  • 85mm newel post bolt
  • 32mmx32mm square rail plate
  • Bolt washer
  • Fixing screws
  • Timber cover button

You start by positioning the newel posts and letting the glue dry completely. Then cut the rails to the desired length and angle. The third step is to use the square plate to mark the desired position on the newel post and edge of the handrail. Then chisel the newel post enough to fit the square plate. The fifth step is to drill a half inch hole in the end of the rail so that the square plate’s threaded hole will screw in securely.

Then, screw the plate onto the end of the handrail. You’ll probably have to dig the hole further if your newel posts are smaller. You’ll need to drill the newel post now. That’s the only way you’ll be able to fit the bolt in. You’ll need to countersink the bolt’s head into the newel post so that you can get the cover button to fit.

Note that you may have to make some adjustments to make the newel post fit the way you want. Then, pass the rail through the newel post. You’ll want to fasten it by tightening the square post on the rail. The last step is to glue the cover button to the newel post.

How to Cut Stair Handrail Angles?

To cut stair handrail angles:

1. Measure the length of the handrail and mark the desired angle at each end.

2. Use a miter saw or a coping saw to cut the handrail at the marked angles.

3. Ensure that the angles are cut accurately and fit securely against the adjoining sections of the handrail.

4. Smooth the cut edges using sandpaper or a file to create a seamless and polished finish.

5. Test the fit of the handrail on the stair railing to ensure it aligns correctly and provides proper support.

6. Secure the handrail in place using appropriate fasteners or brackets, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Deck Height Requires a Handrail?

A deck height that is 30 inches or more above the ground typically requires a handrail according to most building codes and regulations in Australia.

How High Should a Handrail Be On Steps?

A handrail on steps should typically be installed at a height between 34 inches and 38 inches from the nosing of the steps. This range ensures proper ergonomic support and adherence to building codes and safety standards.

How to Varnish a Handrail?

The first step is to sand and tape the bannister. You want to cover your entire bannister with cloths. Then sand your bannister completely with 220-grit sandpaper. Doing so will smoothen your bannister’s surface. The third step is to use a damp cloth to remove any sand shavings from the bannister.

 The fourth step is to section off the parts of the bannister than you don’w want stained with tape. Then use a mixer to mix your stain up. Use a brush to apply a medium coat of paint to the bannister. Wait a day before applying the second coat. Wait at least 48 hours to paint the handrail. It may not hurt to wait 72 hours to apply the paint.

How to Build a Handrail for Concrete Steps

You’ll need the following tools to do the job:

● A hammer drill

● A standard drill

● An Allen wrench

● A socket set

● A hammer

● A tape measure

● A hack saw

● A vacuum

● An extension cord

● A sharpie

The first step is to measure the area where you’re going to be building the handrail. Then text fit the railing. You do that by holding up the railing in the area where you’re going to be installing it to see how it will fit. Next use a sharpie to mark holes in the ground for the base flanges and then do some drilling with the hammer drill.

Make sure to clean any dirt or concrete chips that may accumulate during the drilling process. Next, secure the anchors in place with a hammer. The next step is to put the flanges into the anchors. You’ll want to tighten these into place with bolts. Do that first with a wrench, and then finish the job with your hands.

Use the hack saw to trim the bolts off to make them look nicer. Next, place the pipe in place and use screws to fasten it in place. Attach the handrail bracket to the pipe. Mark the areas on the pipe where you’re going to drill holes, then drill the holes. Finally, attach the handrail. Then mark holes on the wall, drill, and then screw the handrail to the wall.

How to Make a Handrail out of Pipe

You’ll need to go to OSHA’s website to learn about the rules, codes, guidelines, and regulations that your pipe has to conform to. You’ll need to do) the same on the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and the International Building Code (IBC) websites.

You want to use aluminum for the pipe. It may be pricier but it will last longer. Use a 1.25 inch pipe (size 7.) It’s strong and will last the test of time. First, figure out how you want to mount the post.

Take the angle of the slope that the handrail is going to be resting on in consideration when you’re mounting it. Then, figure out how you want to want to design your pipe. Figure out how you want to space your posts. Hint:  they must conform to OSHA, ADA, and IBC guidelines. Then choose how long you want your pipe to be and start cutting it.

How to Build a Timber Handrail

  1. Measure and cut the timber to the desired length for the handrail.
  2. Determine the height and angle at which the handrail will be installed, ensuring compliance with local building codes.
  3. Install balusters or posts at regular intervals along the stair or deck, securing them firmly to the structure.
  4. Attach the handrail to the balusters or posts using appropriate fasteners such as screws or nails, ensuring a secure and stable connection.
  5. Double-check that the handrail is level and securely attached, making any necessary adjustments.
  6. Sand the handrail to smooth out any rough edges and apply a protective finish such as stain or paint to enhance its durability and appearance.
  7. Test the handrail for stability and make any final adjustments if needed to ensure it provides adequate support and safety.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Handrail?

To clean a stainless steel handrail, use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with warm water and a mild detergent. Gently scrub the handrail to remove dirt or stains. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. For stubborn marks or fingerprints, you can use a stainless steel cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water.

How to Install a Handrail on a Plaster Wall

Measure 34-36 inches above the ground and mark accordingly. Locate the studs and mark them. Then drill holes into the wall and screw the mounting brackets in place. Use a helper to set the rail on top of the mounting brackets. Drill holes into the rail and screw it into place on top of the mounting brackets.

How to Build a Recessed Handrail

Use solids along the walls for a recessed look. Then use a molding polyline for the recessed look. Install the handrail the same way you would for a regular wall. That was answered in detail in a previous question.

How to Paint a Metal Handrail

  • Clean the handrail thoroughly using a wire brush or sandpaper to remove rust, dirt, and loose paint.
  • Wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth to ensure it is free of debris.
  • Apply a metal primer to promote adhesion and protect against rust. Let it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Once the primer is dry, apply the paint using a brush, roller, or spray can. Use even strokes and apply multiple thin coats for a smooth and durable finish.
  • Allow the paint to dry completely between coats and follow the drying time specified on the paint can.
  • After the final coat, let the handrail dry thoroughly before using it.

Where Should Handrail Start and Stop?

Handrails should typically start at the bottom riser of a flight of stairs and extend horizontally to the top riser. The handrail should also continue for a short distance beyond the top and bottom steps to provide a smooth transition and secure grip when ascending or descending the stairs.

How to Fix a Loose Metal Handrail?

Completely derust the metal surface. Then tighten any loose screws, nuts, and bolts. Replace any older screws. You may have to widen the holes to do that. Use carriage bolts when doing that. Use epoxy to anchor the cement in place.