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Fitting staircase handrail

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raybarrow
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Fitting staircase handrail

#279164

Postby raybarrow » January 22nd, 2020, 12:29 pm

Hi,
I have inherited a square wooden stair handrail. It fixes via 5 angled brackets so it stands off the wall. The brackets are screwed on from underneath the the handrail. Should I fix it directly to the wall or is it better to fit a length of wood, say 1 inch thick to the wall and attache the handrail to that. I have seen it done both ways and wonder what the advantages/disadvantages are. In my head I see that fixing a long piece of timber to the wall first is easier than trying to manipulate handrail with bracket attached. Taking the brackets of and fixing them first gives me the difficulty of refitting them in the right place or making new holes and filling the old ones.

Suggestions and comments please.
Ray.

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Re: Fitting staircase handrail

#279170

Postby bungeejumper » January 22nd, 2020, 12:50 pm

What's the wall made of, Ray? Hand rails can take a lot of leveraged force and weight, and it doesn't take much to pull a loose one away. Rawlplugging straight into brick ought to be all right, but rubble stone or timber studs might be trickier, because the eye will expect the brackets to be evenly spaced, and that'll be a problem if there are cavities and places where your mounting screws can't get a purchase because the structure is too soft.

Mildly off at a tangent, but when I was fitting kitchen wall cupboards onto a soft internal stone rubble wall, I had to resort to using six inch casement fixings instead of rawlplugs! The only way I could get them firm enough. Whereupon my local friendly fitter told me I could have saved myself a lot of hassle by just using wooden battens instead. You can't win. :(

BJ

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Re: Fitting staircase handrail

#279180

Postby raybarrow » January 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm

Hi,

Wall is conventional bricks and morter

Thanks
Ray.

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Re: Fitting staircase handrail

#279194

Postby Gaggsy » January 22nd, 2020, 1:58 pm

raybarrow wrote:Should I fix it directly to the wall
raybarrow wrote:Wall is conventional bricks and morter

Yes. This is the neatest solution.
raybarrow wrote:or is it better to fit a length of wood, say 1 inch thick to the wall and attache the handrail to that

I've never seen it done that way.

It may be a 3 person job - one at each end of the handrail holding it in place and the other to mark the positions of the holes for the brackets.
If working alone, you could fit one screw for one bracket at one end - that would hold the thing in place while you measure and mark the hole for the other end. Temporarily fix both ends while you mark all the other hole positions. Remove and drill all the holes. Then do the final fit.

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Re: Fitting staircase handrail

#279234

Postby DrFfybes » January 22nd, 2020, 5:09 pm

Gaggsy wrote:
raybarrow wrote:Should I fix it directly to the wall
raybarrow wrote:Wall is conventional bricks and morter

Yes. This is the neatest solution.
raybarrow wrote:or is it better to fit a length of wood, say 1 inch thick to the wall and attache the handrail to that

I've never seen it done that way.

It may be a 3 person job - one at each end of the handrail holding it in place and the other to mark the positions of the holes for the brackets.
If working alone, you could fit one screw for one bracket at one end - that would hold the thing in place while you measure and mark the hole for the other end. Temporarily fix both ends while you mark all the other hole positions. Remove and drill all the holes. Then do the final fit.


Pretty much what Ray says. A 1 inch batten is not really sufficient to hang a handrail off, and it is a 2 person job. Do the end brackets first, do not attach the middle ones to the rail as they will get in the way and can scuff the wall.

Decide where the brackets will go along the rail, then fix the end ones to the rail not too tight with 1 screw. Fit the second screw once the bracket is bolted flush to the wall, as it is likely the wall (or rail) is not straight.

Get someone to hold the other end of the rail, decide the height (I find 800-850mm from the nose of the step up to the top of the handle is OK) and mark ONE mounting point at one end.

Drill 60mm into the wall, plug (I would use brown plugs pushed all the way in and a bit further if possible, buy good plugs with ribs along the side, the cheapo ones often spin, 8mm drill, 5mm diameter screw 50mm long.) To get the plug in further, insert into the hole, then use a screw tapped into it with a small hammer to push the plug in, then undo the screw. I start with a smaller drill bit (5mm) and then widen with the 8mm as I find it easier to get a fixed point with a smaller bit as going straight in with a wider one it has a tendency to wander.

Fix the rail up and mark and drill ONE mount at the other end. Then fit the rail loosely, hold the end brackets in position against rail and wall, and mark the wall for the end brackets. When you drill the holes in the wall (which might need the rail removed as the brackets seem designed to block access to one of the screw holes).

At this point you will probably find the wall is not the same distance from the rail all the way along, and need to decide if you can bend the rail to match the wall, or position the intermediate brackets differently on the underside of the rail so they meet the wall correctly, noting that if they protrude you can catch your fingers on the corner.

Hold the brackets to the rail so they are flush with the wall and rail, mark the wall, remove the rail and keep going. Once the brackets are firm on the wall, get the rail where you want it, drill a 3mm pilot hole through the bracket into the bottom of the rail, and fix it.

Paul

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Re: Fitting staircase handrail

#281229

Postby raybarrow » January 30th, 2020, 7:30 pm

Thanks Paul, very detailed and informative. Now I know what I am doing.

Cheers,
Ray.


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