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Old 02-05-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
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Installing handrail with returns


I want to install a wooden handrail on one side of a flight of stairs. The problem that I am having is on the top of the stairs I want to put a return, fastened to a stud. There is one stud directly above the top stair, and another stud 16 inches past the top of the stairs. So I either have to terminate the end of the return even with the top of the stair, or go past. What is the code for 4 steps? How far past the stair can a handrail go? Returns are a must on this handrail. I am only doing one handrail because I will have a wrought iron railing installed. I would never call a handrail temporary, but it will only be installed until a pro can do the whole job.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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Installing handrail with returns


There's nothing in code saying that the handrail can't continue beyond the top tread.

It does say that the handrail needs to be continuous (no breaks) down the flight of stairs. That iron rail isn't a code compliant handrail either. You really need to run the handrail on the other side if you want to bring things up to code.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:06 AM   #3
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Installing handrail with returns


Are you wanting the return just for looks or support? If for support you can install a solid nice looking block or section of rail to the stud and the rail to the block and cantilever past the support as far as you need and dress off the end of rail.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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Installing handrail with returns


The returns are for support. Five minutes after I hang it my kids will be doing chin ups and pretending to be fireman and what not. Had not thought about using the piece of wood as a support. I am going to have wrought iron rail installed on the other side as well. It will come up the stairs and around wrap around the corner and continue to the top of the stairs. Or I will steam some oak and make the rail bend.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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Installing handrail with returns


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Originally Posted by paintdrying View Post
The returns are for support. Five minutes after I hang it my kids will be doing chin ups and pretending to be fireman and what not. Had not thought about using the piece of wood as a support. I am going to have wrought iron rail installed on the other side as well. It will come up the stairs and around wrap around the corner and continue to the top of the stairs. Or I will steam some oak and make the rail bend.
You could lag bolt through the rail through the support block and into the stud the plug the hole where the bolt is. If that isn't strong enough, you can install the support block on a longer decorative board which will protrude below the support block, this would keep the support block from digging into the sheet rock.

You can buy an oak rail that will bend, it is in 7 or so strips and is called a bending rail. Most of the bending rails will only make a 2 foot radius which is pretty tight for a chunk of red oak. I have installed oak rails over wrought iron rails in the past, you plow out just enough depth and width to fit over the iron rail. It is a little tough to do but you can do it.
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Last edited by BigJim; 02-06-2013 at 05:11 PM. Reason: added
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