How Do You Install Stair Railings?


Quick Answer

To install stair railings, first measure from nosing to nosing using a tape measure, and then add 2 feet to that number. Use a stud finder to find the wall studs to support the rail properly. Use masking tape to mark each stud found. At the front edge of the top and bottom nosing, measure 34 to 38 inches above them to get the railing height. Mark the measurement with a pencil.

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Full Answer

Use a miter saw to cut a 45-degree miter about 3 inches away from one end of the stair rail. Face the angle toward the wall. Allow an extended section of a few inches past the last stud to make room for a handrail bracket. Make a 45-degree miter on the front edge nosing for the top of the stairs in the opposite direction from the first miter. Place the top of the stair rail against the height mark, and have another person mark the bottom of the rail along the masking tape.

Secure a rail bracket to the stud next to the top of the stairs, so that the top portion of the bracket sits at the location of the mark from the bottom rail. Repeat this with the stud next to the bottom of the stairs, and then place a bracket at the center stud, between the first two. Use a U-shaped stair rail bracket to secure the handrail to the brackets. Place the remaining brackets, as desired.

Add 1/16 inch to the measurement of the short returns at the rail ends. Use a miter saw to cut them to fit to the 45-degree cuts at the ends of the rail. Use wood glue and 4D finish nails to secure the short returns to the ends of the rail, connecting from the rail to the wall.

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