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Old 12-31-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


Hi, I wanted to run this procedure by the experts here to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. I am renting a house and to older folks, and when I remodeled my basement, I didn't put a hand rail back in. The basement stairs go straight down all the way and then you walk off the staircase to the right. The right side wall is opened up, and opens at the 2nd stair from the top.

The staircase runs right next to the poured concrete wall on the left.

I am going to install a short hand rail at the top 2-3 stairs on the right, but then will have to install a much longer hand rail on the left side that will go right into the concrete.

Because there was literally no space between the staircase and concrete wall, I couldn't use 2x4s to hang drywall, otherwise it would have overhung the staircase and looked dumb. So, I liquid nailed furring strips to the concrete, and hung drywall that way. I also liquid nailed foam insulation.

So, what i plan to do is use tapcon screws, find 3 furring strips somehow (they aren't exactly 16 on center), and drill holes there for the hand rail brackets. Will tapcon screws tighten well enough to not have a loose rail? Is this the best way?

I planned to use 2 1/4" tap cons. The furring strips are 1/2 inch, drywall 1/2 inch, then bracket probably about 1/4, so that leaves 1 inch of screw secured to the concrete.

Is there anything I'm missing? Is this sufficient?

Also, would it be a bad idea if I were to not find a furring strip and drill the holes to the brackets just on drywall and into the concrete? I would not imagine that would be as secure and the drywall might tear. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I just want to make sure I know what I need to do before going over there and spending 6 hours searching needlessly for studs.

It's going to be hard to find the studs on the concrete wall. Any other ideas would be helpful. Foam insulation is I think 3/8 or 1/2" back there as well so I dont know if tapping along the drywall would be helpful.


Last edited by Firehawk734; 12-31-2010 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


You need solid blocking for the handrail brackets. If the furring isn't where you need it or you can't find them, open the sheetrock and install blocking where you need it.
I would use anchors in the concrete and the handrail screws.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:19 AM   #3
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


I agree completely with Ron6.You need to find the center of the wood backing
with a stud finder or by hunting with a finish nail....Bring the spackle!
If you just anchor through a drywall area your brackets will eventually compress
and wobble in the drywall.
I like tapcon type screws for many things but I think anchors and long snug fittling
screws would provide better holding power..
Another way to get positive holding power would be to secure a 1x6 to the wall with
plenty of tapcon screws and then screw the rail brackets to that...This way you would avoid
any dry wall compression.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


Thank you for the help.

I have never used concrete anchors before. Are they something that I can install after drilling the hole through the drywall and wood or do I need to have opened up concrete wall to be able to install the anchor?

Also, I have seen concrete anchors with nails or a thread with nut/bolt on the end. Do they make a concrete anchor that once in, will accept a machine screw or something like that to screw right into the anchor, much like drywall anchors? If you can provide a link to one that would help.

Edit 2: This the kind of anchor/screw you are referring to?
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

One other thing, the hand rail brackets have 3 holes. If i install 3 anchors, is there enough distance from each one to not cause any problems with the concrete breaking? Or should I install just one for the 2 holes next to each other, then another one for the bottom hole on the bracket?

I was also thinking to install the anchor so that the tip of the anchor is level with the surface of the drywall, and then all support on the hand rail is pushing on the anchor not the drywall at all. Maybe this is what you guys meant, but initially I was thinking to hammer in the anchor flush with concrete.

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Old 01-03-2011, 08:36 PM   #5
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


I would not use tapcons. As a stairbuilder I would never attach a wall rail to concrete unless there is no other option. I would put the rail on the otherside. Even if it is open a few steps, you can attach an s turn fitting or just make one with a few miters.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:39 PM   #6
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


I don't know what an S-Turn fitting is. I don't know what you mean.

The 3 top stairs have wall on the other side, then it's completely opened for the next 9-10 stairs. I am not sure what other option there is really.

Out of curiosity, what is the reason not to use tapcons in this case?
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:10 PM   #7
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


Expansion anchors are what you need for this project. Here is a link: http://www.confast.com/products/thunderstud-anchor.aspx
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:22 PM   #8
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


Epson,

The holes in the hand rail brackets will not fit a 1/4" screw. Do you recommend I use a sleeve anchor 1/4 (which has I think a 3/16" screw that WILL fit through the hole), or do you recommend that i drill the holes out a bit larger in the hand rails and go with the 1/4" expansion anchors?
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:47 PM   #9
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


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Originally Posted by Firehawk734 View Post
Epson,

The holes in the hand rail brackets will not fit a 1/4" screw. Do you recommend I use a sleeve anchor 1/4 (which has I think a 3/16" screw that WILL fit through the hole), or do you recommend that i drill the holes out a bit larger in the hand rails and go with the 1/4" expansion anchors?
The best way is drill out the hole to accept the proper ¼’’ expansion anchor. We have used sleeve anchors in the past and had nothing but problems with them. Once you install that anchor into concrete you will never be called back to fix a lose railing or hand rail again unless someone damages your installation.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:12 AM   #10
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


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Expansion anchors are what you need for this project. Here is a link: http://www.confast.com/products/thunderstud-anchor.aspx
No, this is not the anchor you would use.
You would use a plastic or lead anchor that a handrail size screw would fit into. A number 10 or a number 12 should do it.
The anchor above is for bolting framing members to a wall or slab.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:13 AM   #11
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall



These are the ones.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:49 PM   #12
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


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These are the ones.
Ron
Ron in my experience we have used those types of anchors in concrete and in other applications and after a while they do fail so we switched and started using expansion anchors into concrete and haven’t had a single problem with any of our installations.
The plastic anchors in my opinion are terrible and I wouldn’t use them for any application, I would always change them out and use a better anchor. As for the lead anchors, yes they work well but to an extent also. We almost always had to come back and replace.
That’s my .02 cents
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:37 PM   #13
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


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Ron in my experience we have used those types of anchors in concrete and in other applications and after a while they do fail so we switched and started using expansion anchors into concrete and haven’t had a single problem with any of our installations.
The plastic anchors in my opinion are terrible and I wouldn’t use them for any application, I would always change them out and use a better anchor. As for the lead anchors, yes they work well but to an extent also. We almost always had to come back and replace.
That’s my .02 cents
He's screwing in a handrail bracket. It has a hole for a size 10 screw. How is that anchor, with the big honking nut going to work?
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:44 PM   #14
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


I completely agree with Epson. What Ron recommends will not hold up.

I use plastic anchors in concrete often to hold small electrical equipment (small boxes, small EMT conduit, etc.). They work ok in those situations, but in any situation in which there will be movement the anchors will loosen quickly. Also, when too much weight is applied with leverage (as is the case with a handrail bracket) the anchors will pull right out.

There are PLENTY of handrail brackets with a single larger hole in the middle, these would work with the concrete anchors. These types of brackets are also good for attaching a handrail to a normal wall since you can use one large lag bolt to attach the bracket to a stud. The type of handrail brackets with 3 small holes have the holes spaced too far apart and at least one of the screws would not go into the stud.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:51 PM   #15
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Need to Install Hand Rail on Basement Stairs, but on Concrete Wall


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He's screwing in a handrail bracket. It has a hole for a size 10 screw. How is that anchor, with the big honking nut going to work?
Ron
By drilling out the hole to except the larger anchor I have done this many times and had no problem doing it. It’s only a ¼’’ hole he needs to drill out.

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