How to install a banister hand rail

Written by mike smith
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How to install a banister hand rail
Stairway hand rails are important home safety features. (stairway image by jeancliclac from

Installing a banister or hand rail yourself is a good project for even a beginner DIY handyman. Many stores sell banisters of common lengths complete with kits that include the mounting brackets and screws. You could easily finish the steps necessary to complete the project in under one-half hour, especially if you already have experience finding studs in a wall and driving screws.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Banister
  • 2 Mounting brackets
  • 4-6 Wood screws
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Drill
  • 7/64 inch drill bit

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  1. 1

    Lay a tape measure or yard stick along the length of a level. Use a pencil to mark the level at the height you would like to mount the banister.

  2. 2

    Hold your level vertically with one end resting on the bottom step. Slowly tilt the level until the bubble in its liquid filled tube fits between the two centre lines on that tube. Use the pencil to make a mark on the wall adjacent to the mark you made earlier on the side of the level. Repeat this step on the top step of the staircase.

  3. 3

    Enlist the help of another person to hold one end of the chalk line against the mark above the bottom step. Place the other end of the chalk line against the top mark then pull the string tight. Make sure that the string is pressed against the wall then, making sure that you and your helper maintain tension, pull the middle of the string away with your other hand and allow it to snap against the wall. This should result in a clearly defined line extending from one line to the other.

  4. 4

    Trace the line stud finder to locate a stud near the top and one near the bottom of the stair case. Place another mark on the wall where each stud meets the chalk line.

  5. 5

    Hold the mounting brackets against the marks made over each stud and use the small drill bit and drill to make small behind each of the brackets holes. Run screws into the pilot holes behind each bracket and make sure that each bracket is firmly attached to the wall.

  6. 6

    Place the hand rail on top of the mounting brackets and run screws through the holes on the tops of the brackets to firmly attach the banister.

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