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Old 07-20-2010, 07:17 AM   #1
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Installing a railing


Hi,

My daughter will be starting to learn to use the stairs soon and I want to make them safe. I'm kind of new to this home improvement stuff and I am not sure what solution would be best for this.

I have a stairway going to my upstairs with a handrail mounted on the wall. I would like to install a railing on the other side of that. Half of that side does not have a wall and is open the other half does have a wall. I only care about the open area which is about 5 steps. I looked at building a banister but I do not know if I need to go through the trouble of installing newel posts since it is such a small area.


Also since it is a tight area and difficult to move things into the house i would like the solution to be somewhat easy to remove. My first thought was the metal railings you use to find in houses in the 80's but i cannot seem to find those anymore.

The cieling also seems to be a problem when looking into things because it is only about 3' higher than the stair that meets the wall.


Any ideas???

(Picture is attached)

Thanks
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Last edited by astlaurent; 07-20-2010 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:50 AM   #2
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Installing a railing


If you want something you can easily remove and then put back metal would be the way to go.

You’ll have to have it made for you. You can’t just pick one off the shelf.

Look in the phonebook under Welding or Metal Fabrication.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:49 PM   #3
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Installing a railing


Something built to current code would be required when you sell the house. The previous owner should have been told to install one before the sale to you as the minimum building code requires one. This would be red-flagged by any Home Inspector, your Realtor, or anyone over 50. I find it hard to believe it wasn't installed on construction to pass final inspection.....
http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf

Be safe, Gary
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:04 PM   #4
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Installing a railing


we bought it from family which is why it wasnt brought up. i did not know one was needed for code. what is the best way to install one that is code that is easy to install. I am hoping that the solution can be removed incase if we need to move a large item in/out and then reinstalled within a few hours of work.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:21 PM   #5
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Installing a railing


Stair rails are not easy to install and have them safe. From your post, this would not be a job for your level of DIY.
Hire a pro.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:55 AM   #6
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Installing a railing


I prefer to at least try someone once myself. This is the only way someone learns. Nor do you know ehat my skill level is. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions other than hire a pro.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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Installing a railing


I don’t know what to tell you. You want something easy, cheap, legal, and to be able to remove
and replace it when needed. That’s a pretty tall order. You do care what it looks like don’t you?

What is your budget? Do you own a chop saw? Maybe find a picture online post it and ask how to build it.

For a removable railing I still think metal is the way to go. Guy comes out, takes a few measurements and builds you a 1 piece bolt on railing. If you want to save money let him just weld it and you can finish it.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:41 AM   #8
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Installing a railing


will a metal railing meet todays code. The other issue i have is that the code requirement is that the handrail is at least 34" from the stair. This is not possible on these stairs because the cieling is less than 34" from the top half stair. I do not think wood would work because i would need to bolt the handrail to the wall using a rosette and that would instantly make the handrail less than 34". The only way i can see it working is if i do a metal rail that do not need to be bolted to the wall and i can start on the first full stair which would allow the rail to get up to 34".

Can anyone tell me according to building code do you need to rail to be supported by something like a newel post on the bottom and a half newel or rossette on the top.

Will the bolt on metal railings meet building code

will skipping the first half step to allow the rail to make it up to 34" meet building code

what if the 34" hight is not possible. would a custom 30" high handrail be somehow grandfathered in
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:49 AM   #9
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Installing a railing


The handrail continues at its required height until it meets the ceiling
From that point across the lower area a "filler piece" is installed
Balusters fill in the open areas
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:14 PM   #10
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Installing a railing


"The only way i can see it working is if i do a metal rail that do not need to be bolted to the wall and i can start on the first full stair which would allow the rail to get up to 34"." ------ OR just add to the wall enough to bolt the new railing against. It would be stronger and cheaper building a straight, uniform angled rail rather than a contortionist looking one attached to the ceiling.

"Can anyone tell me according to building code do you need to rail to be supported by something like a newel post on the bottom and a half newel or rossette on the top. " ---- No, just strong enough to resist a 200# push from the side, and other handgrip requirements (size, returns, depth, etc.).

"will skipping the first half step to allow the rail to make it up to 34" meet building code" ---- measure the existing one to compare and see if it meets today's code, posted in #3 above.

"what if the 34" hight is not possible. would a custom 30" high handrail be somehow grandfathered in " ---- No, would not meet minimum code for the last 37 years since I started construction.....

Be safe, Gary
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:25 PM   #11
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Installing a railing


Another option is having the railing go past that wall
It would then bolt to the 2x that forms the wall at the correct height

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Old 07-21-2010, 04:26 PM   #12
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Be sure to keep the required 36" width measured above the hand rail from wall to pickets, though....... Appears to be that minimum existing now. The landing at the bottom of the run should be 36" deep, net finished, also.

Build a rake wall, only 3" over the treads/risers, with a hole bored (10")vertically at the last riser to accept the end metal picket which is extended into this wall. Drop two shims next to this picket to secure and remove later for access. Just use painted lag bolts at the top/wall anchoring spot.

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Old 07-23-2010, 06:43 AM   #13
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Installing a railing


I think i came up with an idea. I would make a newel post for the top half stair which would bolt up against the wall. This would essentially allow me to start the railing on the stair under that one which would allow me to get to my desired height. I was thinking something like a 4x4 and it should look like it is part of the railing. I have attatched some drawings can you guys take a peak and see if it looks feasible.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:08 PM   #14
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Installing a railing


i dont have the ideal solution for you but i can shoot a few ideas at you. As far as the handrail goes, you can but an s-turn rail part and bypass that wall and run the rail up to the top where the one on the left is. you can buy these s turns already made or make your own with two 1/4 turns. You can die the railing into the ceiling. you can also add to that wall to make your rake rail height work. Here in MA you can go 33". Measured plumb up from leading edge of tread to top of rail.
You can mount a starting post and a wood handrail and run cables.
You can make an entire setup with a top and bottom rail with the balusters attached which would be fastened to the wall and a newel at the bottom of the stairs.

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