How to Install a Handrail on Concrete Porch Steps

Written by samantha volz
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How to Install a Handrail on Concrete Porch Steps
Installing a handrail can make concrete steps safer. (concrete steps image by Tammy Mobley from

Concrete steps allow access in and out of many homes, but without a railing these can be dangerous areas. Pipes, wrought iron and even wood can serve as reliable and sturdy handrail options, and they can all protect family and friends from missteps and dangerous spills. Installing a railing involves drilling and tightening, and you must calculate your angle of approach to get an appropriate length for your railing bar.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Marker
  • Railing flanges, fittings and rails
  • Drill with concrete drill bit
  • Concrete anchors
  • Wrench or screwdriver
  • Plugs
  • Rubber mallet

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  1. 1

    Measure the height and depth of each step with a tape measure and record your measurements. If you intend to place the bottom or top posts on the sidewalk off the main steps, record the distance between the post and the edge of the step as well.

  2. 2

    Add the length of all steps, as well as the distance from the posts to the steps, to get the overall distance from post to post. Add the height of the steps together to get the overall height of the area. Divide the height by the length. Using a calculator, perform an inverse tangent (atan or tan-1 button) on that number. The solution will give you the angle for the bottom of your handrail to reach the top.

  3. 3

    Square the height measurement, square the length measurement, and add the two numbers together. Take the square root of that number to get the overall length of the pipe that will run between the two posts. Flanges, fittings, rails and posts must match your calculations, and the posts must be the same height, at least 42 inches tall.

  4. 4

    Place the flange for the bottom post at least 2 inches from the edge of the bottom step. Using a marker or pencil, mark through the holes in the flange onto the concrete. Remove the piece, leaving behind only the marks.

  5. 5

    Drill starter holes into the concrete marks with a concrete drill bit. These starter holes will make the installation easier. Place the flange back into position and secure it with concrete anchors.

  6. 6

    Insert the bottom post into the flange. Use your fittings to secure the post in place; depending on the product, you may need a wrench or screwdriver.

  7. 7

    Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the top post flange. Insert the top post and secure it with the fittings.

  8. 8

    Attach the handrail to the posts, using your fittings. After it is connected, gently test the railing by putting your weight against it. It should hold firmly.

  9. 9

    Insert the railing's plugs into the holes in the pipes and pound them in with a rubber mallet. The plugs will protect the railing from water.

Tips and warnings

  • Find all materials you need for this project at a hardware or home improvement retailer, or a railing supply speciality store. If you have trouble with calculations or any other aspect of this project, contact a builder or a professional at a hardware or home improvement retailer.

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