How to Make a Doorstep Handrail

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Paint the handrail the accent colour of your home's exterior.


Wear eye protection when operating a screw gun.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.