How to Build a Pipe Handrail

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Getting up and down steps can be difficult for older people and the physically challenged, especially if the steps are wet or uneven. Handrails provide balance, stability and peace of mind when climbing or descending steps. Those made from galvanized steel pipe are low-maintenance, weather-resistant and long-lasting. A sturdy, dependable pipe handrail can be made economically.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • 2 Schedule 40 galvanized steep pipes, 42 inches long, 1 1/2-inches in diameter
  • Schedule 40 galvanized steel pipe, 1-inch diameter
  • Wrench
  • 2 type 62-8 flanges
  • 2 adjustable swivel sockets - 1 1/2-inch
  • 2 type 84-7 malleable plugs
  • 4 concrete anchors
  • Drill
  • Concrete drill bit
  • Rubber mallet
  • Measure 6 inches forward, on the ground, from the front of the bottom step and make a mark, using a marker. Measure 12 inches back from the front edge of the top step and mark the spot. These marks designate the placement of the handrail posts.

  • Measure the distance between the two post locations to determine the rail length. Subtract two inches to adjust for the end fittings. Record that measurement.

  • Center a 62-8 flange on the mark near the bottom concrete step. Make a mark on the concrete through each of the two flange holes. Remove the flange, drill the two holes and secure the flange with two concrete anchor bolts, using a hammer.

  • Insert a 42-inch galvanized post into the flange, securing the post by tightening the screws in the neck of the flange.

  • Attach an adjustable swivel socket to the post top, following the manufacturer's instructions. Insert the handrail into the adjustable swivel socket opening and let the handrail dangle temporarily.

  • Place another flange on the mark near the top step. Stand back and visually align the top flange with the bottom flange. Attach it to the concrete with anchor bolts.

  • Insert a 42-inch galvanized pipe into the flange, securing the post by tightening the screws in the neck of the flange.

  • Attach an adjustable swivel socket to the post top, following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Insert the end of the dangling handrail into the opening on the top post's adjustable swivel socket to complete the handrail.

  • Drive an 84-7 malleable plug into the top of each 42-inch post to give the handrail a finished look and to keep moisture out.

  • Repeat the process for a handrail on the other side of the steps.

Tips & Warnings

  • All items needed for this project are available at home improvement and hardware stores. The staff can help you determine the appropriate drill bit and anchor bolt for the flange you are using. If you must attach the flange to a surface other than concrete, such as brick or stone, the staff at the home improvement center can help you find the appropriate screws or bolts and tools necessary.
  • An adjustable swivel socket is a galvanized tube connector that fits any angle.
  • A flange is an external or internal rim used for strength.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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