How to Install Indoor Stair Railings


In many municipalities, building codes require stair railings to be in place on all property that is sold. You can easily attach a stair railing to an existing indoor stairway using a wooden stair railing and specially made stair railing brackets and attachment brackets. All you need is a miter box, a saw and a screwdriver.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Stair railing
  • Miter box and saw
  • Wall stud finder
  • Stair railing brackets (one for every 2 feet of stairway)
  • Attaching brackets (one for each stair railing bracket)
  • Wood screws
  • Manual or electric screwdriver
  • Measure the length of the stairway along the adjacent wall. Cut the stair railing approximately 6 inches shorter than the length of the stairway.

  • Cut each end of the stair railing at a 45 degree angle using a miter box. Using a stud finder, locate the studs in the wall along the stairway and mark their location.

  • Measure straight up the wall about 30 inches from the top-most stair step that is nearest to a wall stud. Lay a ruler level with this line and make a mark at the stud location. This is where the top-most stair railing bracket will be installed.

  • Attach the stair railing bracket to the wall stud using wood screws and either a manual or electric screwdriver.

  • Approximately 24 to 30 inches further down the stairway from the first bracket, repeat the steps to attach a second bracket.

  • Continue attaching brackets until you reach the bottom of the stairway.

  • Lay the stair railing in place. Attach it to each stair railing bracket with an attaching bracket (included with each). The attaching bracket must be screwed into the stair railing while it is held in place. You cannot pre-attach the attachment brackets, then insert the wall brackets into them. They are designed to be secured with the railing in situ. Use wood screws to secure the attachment brackets over the small arm that protrudes from the stair railing brackets.

  • Do a stress test when all brackets are attached. Grasp the stair railing firmly and pull, using all of your strength. It should not give; stair railings need to be strong enough to support the weight of a person if necessary to keep them from falling down the stairs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Materials to install a stair railing are available at home improvement stores.
  • For safety reasons, make sure the stair railing brackets are firmly anchored into the wall studs.

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