Calling All Carpenters! Stairway Rail Help Needed!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Boleyz, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Hi!
    My Mom and Dad live in house that had an attached 4 car garage on it. 12 years ago, they remodelled half of the garage into a large family room and the other half into a shop/storage/crafting area.

    The entry from the house into the new family room basically was just the removal of a large section of the wall next to the original garage entry door and making an alcove of sorts there...anyway, about a 6 foot entry.

    The problem was that there were 3 steps down to the floor of the garage, but they just put 3 long stairs there, no problem right?

    Well, They're older now and very unsteady at times and their current situation has them travelling these stairs several times a day and they have NO HANDRAIL!

    Dad has fallen a time or 2...no serious injuries...YET...

    Mom is having a major back surgery on Friday and I'm going down there for a few days (400 miles from here).

    My brother is also coming down from PA. Sooooo...

    I got the idea that we should install a nice stair rail for their safety.

    Tonight I went to Lowes and bought the oak rail, the ballisters and the posts. I think I can do it (I've built a house), but all the rail I've ever put on stairs was just wall rail which only involves brackets.

    This will be a free-standing rail. The floor at the bottom is concrete with laminate over that, so the bottom post will only stand on the floor and be lag-screwed into the first riser.

    If someone could refer me to a step-by-step guide or give me the proper sequence of work, I'd appreciate it...I've got all the tools, but hardware suggestions would be welcome...also ballister attachment...glue only or finishing nailer?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How feasable would it be to cover the steps with an 8 foot sheet of 3/4 plywood, and make a wheelchair ramp with side rails fastened to 2x4s running crossways under the plywood where the hollow spaces are?? Walking a long ramp is easier than making the same climb in three steps.
     

  3. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    It might be more feasible, but at this time, my folks would NOT allow it. They're at that, "There's nothing wrong with me, thank you very much", stage in life...

    After Mom's surgery, I'm afraid for her on these steps, and I KNOW she'll be on them...
     
  4. ovendoctor

    ovendoctor north of the lift bridge

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    morning, are the stairs open or do they have risers between the treads?

    if they are open put risers in the opening between the treads

    fasten the post to the outside of the stringer at the bottom of the set of stairs
    notch the bottom tread at the back so the post will fit in there
    ya want it so its verry strong and doesent move


    ps were in Ky are you located ma & pa live in murray Ky.
     
  5. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Yeah, there are risers and I was planning to fasten the post as you suggested. I guess what worries me the most is installing the ballisters correctly.

    I have a Sister-in-law in Murray. My wife was raised in Milburn, Carlisle Co.

    Right now we live on the other end of the state in Manchester, Clay Co.
     
  6. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    You could drill the floor and install a pipe thru the middle of the bottom post the bigger and heaver the pipe the stronger it would be .Id go all the way thru the concrete and pound the pipe into the dirt below till it was firm..
     
  7. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    This is no longer a garage, but a nice, finished family room with laminate flooring over concrete and oak stair treads.

    I've already bought the oak posts I'll need. Steel pipe would work fine if it were still a garage, but I don't think it would work in this situation.
     
  8. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Hollow out the post too? so the pipe is hidden and the post would cove the hole in the floor just be sure the pipe is tight in the hole.
     
  9. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here ya go

    Anchor the post to the concrete floor and lag it to the riser. You can get some things called (can't think of the name will get back on that) Anyway once that post is anchored cut your railing so it will lay on the steps and go a little past the wall and almost touch the concrete. While its laying on the stairs slide it over to the post and the wall. Mark your angles of the rail

    Using a level and mark where you want the balisters to go on the treads. Plumb up and mark them on the side of the rail. Note the angle on the saw when you cut it to fit and thats the same angle you drill the holes in the rail. You can cut ablock at that angle to help you guide the drill.
    Rail heigth is generall 34-38 inches. Once you have the cut and drilled (usually a 5/8 hole) Mount it temp where it will go. hold the balisters against the rail to get the height and cut them to fit. remember they have a 3/4 tenon on the bottom and need to stick u pin the railing about 3/4
     
  10. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are some newel attachment kits at Lowe's you can buy. Make sure the newel is butted up against the riser below tread number one. (1) Buy the newel anchoring kit and anchor the newel to the floor. (2) drill a hole into the side of the newel and lag bolt it to the riser and stringer of tread number one. (3) cover the hole for the lag bolt with the hole filler and sand. You could even use two lag bolts about 4 inches apart.
     
  11. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    Boleyz - we just did this in our house and it was hands down the most time-consuming project and difficult for beginners to find instructions & sort through all the pieces, etc. Plus we have to make it look good because we have rails along the entire stairwell and across a large loft that overlooks the great room. What a pain.

    There are LOTS of ways to do this and you are on the right track with the bottom post (fastened to first riser) for your application. Check your local codes and then ask around at the library or home centers or milling centers for brochures of their products (which also show how the pieces are put together and if you are at all visually-oriented (I'm guessing you are since you're experienced in building and often grace us with your great pictures here), you should be able to get most of it on your own) and books that show how the pieces go together. I never did find one great source for everything but the closest we got as a product brochure/order form for all the pieces Home Depot & Lowe's sells. Even that took us a while to find - we had to drive to Anchorage as the local guys didn't have the brochure and couldn't help us figure out what to buy!!!!
     
  12. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Thanks for all of the advice...I've got a pretty good idea now of how I'll "git-r-done". I've got all of the Lowes hardware items Rwin mentioned.

    The only thing I'm NOT sure of is anchoring the bottom post to the concrete.

    I'll play it by ear. I would like to just stand the post on the laminate floor and simply screw it into the first riser.

    I hate the idea of drilling a hole in the laminate floor and then into the concrete.

    The post would be impossible to twist down on an anchored screw, because it's going to be plumb and touching the bottom step.

    I'm going to try to just mount it with lag screws to the riser, and perhaps a well-concealed angle bracket on the outer stringer.

    This thing is just for stabilization of my folks as they ascend and descend...

    I think I can make it sturdy enough for the purpose without some complicated and unsightly floor anchors.
     
  13. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are stair anchor that will let you mount it to the floor and then they have pieces of trim that cover up the screws and bracket.

    [​IMG]

    google this

    LJ-3009 Newel Post Anchor

    there is a PDF installation guide
    L.J. Smith Baluster Installation Guide
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=r...QRmiZe3z5wRmg7-8=&sig2=s4xRrio_7wTdl1_dUlfuMw



    i was busyy today and didn't get a chance to get the generic name. i have about 10 sets in the shop. if nothing else put some construction adhesive on the bottom.
     
  14. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    The set comes wth the needed trim to cover the thing.

    If I anchor it to the Concrete, I'll probably use one of those sets.

    Also, I like the construction adhesive idea...
     
  15. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    If the base post is solid, the books tell you to cut a notch out of it so that not only is it anchored to the side of the first riser, but it is also anchored to the top of the first tread.
     
  16. liveswithinlogs

    liveswithinlogs Member

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    Your biggest concern should be the anchoring of the bottom post. In my opinion, NONE of the brackets, devices, or gizmos that you can obtain at a hardware store will perform adequately over time. Once installed, your folks will quickly learn to like, appreciate, and then RELY ON that handrail to assist them up and down the steps. They'll be putting a lot of side-to-side stress on the newell post, and any easily obtainable commercial hardware won't do the job, they'll loosen up over time, newell post gets wiggly, and one or the other of your folks will end up taking a tumble. Avoid this scenario at all costs.

    The way I'd recommend anchoring that bottom post is thusly: Given that the stresses and loads placed on the post will be lateral ones, a 3/4" hole drilled into, or even entirely through, the slab, with a piece of 3/4" pipe inserted into the hole with a tight friction fit, and protruding upwards around 30", onto which the newell post is slipped via a corresponding 3/4" hole bored upwards into the bottom of the post. The pipe provides the stiff backbone that this application needs to prevent the lateral loads from letting the post get "rubbery" over time. A couple of holes can be bored through post and pipe both, into which pins can be inserted to prevent the post from lifting, although once the rail is installed you won't have much concern about lifting forces. Anchoring the pipe into the concrete is critical, to the point that you may want to consider cutting a 4" hole entirely through the slab and a foot or so beyond, insert pipe into hole, assure that it's plumb and fill the hole with concrete to anchor it.

    Yes, it's a lot of work, but I guarantee you that you'll never have a concern over the post getting loose and playing a role in an unfortunate accident for your folks.
     
  17. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Leaving for mom's now...I'll let you all know how it goes...Pray for me if you pray and remember Mom and her surgery tomorrow.

    I'll take all of this advice into consideration.

    JB
     
  18. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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  19. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    The rail turned out GREAT...I will post pictures as soon as I get home to my own computer (no flash card reader here)
     
  20. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Here are some Pictures of the rail...turned out sturdy and not too bad looking except for the plug on the starter newal...but I had to spade bit drill a 1" angle hole 1/2 way through the newal so I could put a lag into the rail itself...it turned out really stout.

    [​IMG]

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