How to build a hand railing on exterior concrete steps

Written by mary lougee
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How to build a hand railing on exterior concrete steps
Handrails provide stability and safety on concrete steps. (abstract steps image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

Exterior concrete steps are durable and last for many years. Metal hand railings will last as long as the steps and not need replacing. A metal hand railing involves setting the vertical posts into the concrete steps to anchor them securely in place. Hand railings help people balance themselves when going up or down steps with packages and help the elderly maintain their balance.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Metal handrail
  • Metal flanges
  • Marker
  • Drill with 1.3 mm (1/2 inch) masonry bit
  • 6 mm (1/4 inch) concrete screws
  • Level
  • Allen key
  • Swivel sockets

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the handrail loosely assembled with the vertical posts and top rail on the steps.

  2. 2

    Draw a circle around the bottom of each vertical post on the concrete with a marker.

  3. 3

    Remove the handrail and set it aside.

  4. 4

    Place a metal flange over one of the marks on the concrete. Center the flange so that the post hole marking is in the centre of the flange. Place a marker in each of the four screw holes in the flange to mark the concrete. Repeat this step for each flange.

  5. 5

    Place a 1.3 mm (1/2 inch) masonry bit in a drill. Place the drill on one of the screw hole marks on the concrete. Hold the drill at a 45-degree angle to the concrete and squeeze the trigger to drill straight down into the concrete. Repeat this process for each screw hole.

  6. 6

    Place a flange on the marks for each vertical post on the concrete steps.

  7. 7

    Drill a 6 mm (1/4 inch) concrete screw into each of the four screw holes on each flange.

  8. 8

    Set a vertical post in each flange and hold a level on the side to ensure it is level horizontally and vertically.

  9. 9

    Place an Allen key into the flange and turn it clockwise to tighten the post into the flange. Repeat this process for each vertical post.

  10. 10

    Slide a swivel socket on each vertical post near the top and slightly tighten them with an Allen key to hold them in place.

  11. 11

    Slide the top handrail through the swivel sockets and centre it on the vertical posts.

  12. 12

    Tighten the handrail to the vertical posts with an Allen key. Tighten the swivel sockets onto the vertical posts entirely by turning the Allen wrench clockwise.

Tips and warnings

  • DIY stockists sell metal handrail kits with the vertical posts and top rail pre-cut and ready for assembly.
  • Choose a style of metal handrail that complements the home.
  • Paint a metal handrail with exterior paint to coordinate colours with the home.
  • Wear safety eyewear when drilling in concrete to protect your eyes from concrete dust.

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