How to Build a PVC Handrail

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PVC pipe is an ideal material for a handrail because it is round in shape, lightweight and affordable. In addition to being lightweight and affordable, it is also easy to work with for a DIY project. PVC handrails can be mounted to the wall along your staircase in the same manner that you would mount a metal or wooden handrail. Instead of using metal handrail brackets, you can use an elbows and pipe flanges at each end to fasten the handrail to the wall studs. It is important to secure the handrail to wall studs for a secure installation.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe, 2-inch diameter, 48 inches long
  • 2 PVC elbows, 2-inch diameter
  • 2 PVC flanges, 2-inch diameter
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure
  • Pan head screws
  • Screw gun

Place the 48-inch PVC pipe on a work surface. Slide one elbow over each end. Make sure that the ends of the elbows are both facing the same direction.

Slide a flange onto each open end of the elbows. The flanges will mount flat against the wall. The elbows raise the pipe out from the wall so that it can be grasped as a handrail. This is the handrail assembly.

Separate each part of the handrail assembly at a time. Apply primer and cement to the ends of the parts where they connect together and press the parts back together. The primer and cement will bond the parts together.

Slide a stud finder along the wall going up the staircase. Mark the location of the studs along the wall with a pencil.

Measure up 32 inches from the top of the bottom stair tread and mark it on the wall with a pencil. Measure up 32 inches from the top of the top stair tread and mark it on the wall with a pencil.

Hold the handrail assembly against the wall with the flange ends centered over the stud markings and the 32-inch marks. Have someone hold the handrail aligned with the pencil marks and drive pan head screws through the holes in the flanges into the wall studs using a screw gun.

Tips & Warnings

  • This handrail is for a staircase spanning 48 inches. Modify the dimensions to fit your staircase. Paint the handrail to match the existing finish of the staircase. Use a special paint designed for plastics.
  • Wear eye protection when operating power tools to help avoid possible injuries.
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