How to Build a Simple Wood Rail for Stairs to a Basement

Written by jonathan d. septer
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How to Build a Simple Wood Rail for Stairs to a Basement
These stairs need a rail. (Riverside stair image by squares from Fotolia.com)

Building a simple wood rail for stairs to a basement is an easy project requiring few supplies. Painting, staining or other finishing is unnecessary and best left to the individual homeowner.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape at least as long as the staircase
  • 2 inch by 6 inch length of hardwood for handrail
  • Three 4 inch by 4 inch 30 inch long hardwood posts
  • Box of #10 2 1/2 inch Phillips flat head wood screws
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Drill with 3/16 wood bit
  • A project assistant

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Instructions

    Building a Handrail

  1. 1

    Measure the length of the staircase to determine the length of the handrail.

    How to Build a Simple Wood Rail for Stairs to a Basement
    Measure twice, cut once. (measuring tape image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Obtain a handrail of the appropriate length.

  3. 3

    Drill four guide holes through the first stair, four through the centre stair--stair closest to middle of staircase--and four through the last stair. Contain guide holes within a three inch by three inch square one inch to the side of the stair where the handrail will mount.

  4. 4

    Instruct the assistant to firmly hold one post vertically over the guide holes in the exact position it will be mounted, flush with the stair edge.

  5. 5

    Using existing guide holes, drill guide holes in the bottom of the post from under the stairs.

  6. 6

    Screw the wood screws in the four guide holes.

    How to Build a Simple Wood Rail for Stairs to a Basement
    A Phillips flat head wood screw (wood screw image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com)
  7. 7

    Repeat steps 4--6 for the two remaining posts.

  8. 8

    Instruct assistant to hold the handrail firmly in the position--flat against the posts--rthat it will be mounted.

  9. 9

    Drill four guide holes through the handrail facing and into the post behind it.

  10. 10

    Screw the wood screws in the four guide holes.

  11. 11

    Repeat steps 9--10 for the two remaining posts

Tips and warnings

  • The length of the rail posts may vary with the location of the stairs or the height of the homeowner.
  • Unfinished railing may be rough and cause splinters. Finishing the railing with sanding, staining or painting is recommended.

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