How to Install an Oak Stair Rail


Installing an oak stair rail is a relatively simple task to complete and would be much easier if you have a helper. One decision that you should make before beginning a project like this is the height at which you will attach the stair rail to the wall. The general height ranges between 30 and 36 inches, depending on how tall the people who are using the stair rail the most are. Be sure you purchase an oak stair rail that is as straight as possible and has no warping or bending.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill Handrail brackets Electronic stud finder Tape measure

Installing the Oak Stair Rail Simplified

  • Walls are constructed out of pieces of 2-by-4 lumber called studs. If you attach the stair rail brackets to the studs, the stair rail brackets will attach the oak stair rail sturdily for years to come. Locate the studs in the wall along the stairwell with an electronic stud finder using the method recommended on the stud finder packaging. Mark their positions with a pencil.

  • Buy one handrail bracket (exactly as pictured in the image above) for every 4 feet of stair rail that will be used. You may not use this many, but it will be good to have one or two more stair rail brackets on hand just in case you need them.

  • Measure up from the stairs 30 to 36 inches, or the most comfortable height for your family, and make a mark where the studs are located. Attach the stair rail brackets to the studs that the ends of the length of stair rail will reach, either with the screws provided with the stair rail bracket or with longer drywall or wood screws.

  • Using a helper, hold the stair rail up to the brackets so the retaining bracket can be attached to the oak stair rail over the stair rail bracket. Drive the screws through the holes in the brackets into the stair rail. When the stair rail is supported by the two end brackets, begin fastening the rest of the stair rail brackets evenly through the middle of the oak stair rail.

Tips & Warnings

  • These instructions can apply to installing wood stair rails of any species.
  • This project is easier to complete with a helper. Warping (twisting) or bending (curving along the length of the wood) will make this project very difficult to complete. Warping and bending will also prevent the installed stair rail from looking very good. Avoid warped and/or bent wood, even if a retailer is willing to give you a good deal on the wood. It isn't worth it.

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