How to cut angles in stair railings

Written by nicole byerly
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How to cut angles in stair railings
Cutting railing angles allows you to attach large balusters. (black and white staircase image by MAXFX from

Stair railings provide a balancing structure to guide climbers up the staircase securely. Angling the rails allows you to create a finished appearance at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is beneficial when it comes to continuing the railing along the wall at the top and bottom of the staircase. Cutting angles in stair railing is a simple job that requires a couple of specific measurements and a sharp saw blade to complete.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Mitre saw

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  1. 1

    Lay the railing on a flat surface and measure the height. Measure the height measurement along the top of the railing and mark with a pencil. For example, if the railing measures 5 cm (2 inches) tall, you should mark the top of the rail at 5 cm (2 inches) from the end along the top edge. This should be done at the end of the railing which is going to be located at the bottom of the stairs.

  2. 2

    Set the mitre saw at a 45 degree angle and cut back toward the front bottom corner from the pencil mark. This creates an edge that runs horizontal at the stair base.

  3. 3

    Hold the railing where it is going to be installed. Mark the bottom side of the railing with a pencil at the top of the staircase where the stair line ends.

  4. 4

    Place the railing in the mitre saw, lining up the blade with the pencil mark on the bottom. Cut the angle up toward the top of the railing to remove excess. This will create an edge running vertically at the top of the stairs.

Tips and warnings

  • Cutting angles allows you to continue installing wall rails at the top and bottom of the stairs.

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