How to Make a Doorstep Handrail

Written by jonah morrissey
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A doorstep handrail will give you something to hold onto while climbing the stairs to enter your home. While some homes require an independent railing, others have a wall where a handrail is required. Handrails are attached to the wall using metal brackets. These brackets come in a wide variety of metal finishes. You should select a finish that matches the metal finish of your exterior hardware such as door knobs, hinges and other accessories such as house numbers or mailboxes.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Round profile handrail board, 96 inches long
  • Tape measure
  • Mitre saw
  • Sandpaper, 120-grit
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Exterior paint
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Metal handrail brackets, with screws (as many as there are studs along length of handrail)
  • Screw gun

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the distance from the outside edge the bottom stair tread to the inside edge of the top stair tread using a tape measure. This is the length required for your handrail.

  2. 2

    Measure, mark and cut the handrail to length on a mitre saw. Place the handrail flat on the table of the saw with the lengthwise edge flush against the fence. Saw through the handrail at the pencil mark.

  3. 3

    Sand the cut end of the handrail with 120-grit sandpaper in the same direction as the grain of the wood.

  4. 4

    Prime and paint the handrail with a paintbrush. Allow at least four hours between priming and applying a top coat of exterior paint. Allow the top coat to dry 24 hours before handling.

  5. 5

    Run a stud finder along the exterior wall where you will mount the handrail. Mark the indicated stud locations with a pencil. A bracket will be mounted to each stud along the length of the handrail.

  6. 6

    Measure from the bottom stair tread up to the desired height for the handrail and mark the measurement. Do the same at the top of the stair tread. Draw a chalk line from measurement to measurement and snap it in the centre to transfer the line across the wall.

  7. 7

    Align a bracket at each stud marking and position it at the chalk line marking. Drive the provided screws through the screw holes in the brackets into the wall studs using a screw gun.

  8. 8

    Center the handrail on top of the brackets. Drive the provided screws through the screw holes in the brackets into the bottom of the handrail with a screw gun.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint the handrail the accent colour of your home's exterior.
  • Wear eye protection when operating a screw gun.

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