Installation of a Stair Handrail

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing a stair handrail will improve the safety of your staircase. Stair handrails are independent of the stairs and are installed onto a wall. The handrail is secured to the wall with metal handrail brackets. The brackets are secured to the wall studs. It is important to install the brackets to wall studs to ensure that the handrail is secure. Select a handrail and mounting brackets that match your woodwork and metal hardware so that the project blends well with your existing interior.

Measure up from the bottom stair tread to the desired height for the handrail to be positioned on the wall using a tape measure. Mark the measurement with a pencil. Do the same from the top stair tread.

Run a chalk line from the bottom pencil mark to the top with the help of another person. Snap the chalk line in the centre to transfer the line onto the wall. This line represents the location of the handrail along the wall of the staircase.

Slide a stud finder along the chalk line on the wall. The stud finder will indicate stud locations in the wall. Mark the location of the studs with a pencil.

Position a bracket onto the wall at each pencil mark that indicates a stud along the chalk line. Drive the provided screws through the mounting holes in the brackets into the wall using a screw gun.

Center the handrail on top of the handrail brackets. Drive the provided screws through the holes in the brackets into the bottom of the handrail to secure it in place.


If you can't find brackets to match the metal finish in your home you can paint them to match your trim or wall colour.


Wear eye protection when operating power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Stud finder
  • Handrail brackets, with screws (need as many as the number of wall studs along staircase)
  • Screw gun
  • Handrail
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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.