Stairwell handrail help
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Stairwell handrail help

    I know nothing about construction practices so I am here to ask for a little brainstorming - or at least some ideas. We’ve lived in this house for 21 years now without a handrail on these stairs which is used a lot daily. Both of us being crippled up - should have been done years ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I had some basic unfinished handrail and brackets delivered yesterday - just jump in and see if I can make it work.

    The issue is at the top of the stairs on the right in the pic. I either have to put in a separate rail piece at the top on the painted part or figure out some type of offset. I would much rather have a continuous rail to the top but may be impossible. The offset from the stair side below and the painted part is around 5.5”. I looked online and found some offset handrail brackets but they are a 3” standoff.

    Any ideas on how to make up that offset or should I just put up a separate section of rail on the painted wall section.
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    Oscar Leroy's Avatar
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    How wide is ledge on the right side?
    (Duh... says 5.5", my reading comprehension is off today... never mind!)
    Last edited by Oscar Leroy; 10-03-2018 at 09:16 AM.
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    Not sure what you bought for handrail. It is possible that where ever you bought it may also sell a 90 deg "quarter turn" angle that you could use at the top to turn the rail into the wall. Something like this:

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Creative-St...ngs/1000554165

    I think there are pros/cons to doing that and using 2 separate rails.

    If you use the quarter turn, it's going to be hanging out there as you go through the door at the top of the stairs. There is a good chance people will smack themselves on it. But you'd have a continuous handrail all the way down.

    If you use two rails, you have to switch between them as you're stepping down the stairs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    I know nothing about construction practices so I am here to ask for a little brainstorming - or at least some ideas. We’ve lived in this house for 21 years now without a handrail on these stairs which is used a lot daily. Both of us being crippled up - should have been done years ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	80A81055-CE28-4EDA-9054-1FFFA8D66869.jpeg 
Views:	14 
Size:	1.28 MB 
ID:	651408

    I had some basic unfinished handrail and brackets delivered yesterday - just jump in and see if I can make it work.

    The issue is at the top of the stairs on the right in the pic. I either have to put in a separate rail piece at the top on the painted part or figure out some type of offset. I would much rather have a continuous rail to the top but may be impossible. The offset from the stair side below and the painted part is around 5.5”. I looked online and found some offset handrail brackets but they are a 3” standoff.

    Any ideas on how to make up that offset or should I just put up a separate section of rail on the painted wall section.
    Add an ornamental 6x6 post at the top of the stairs against the painted wall and die the handrail into it with a standard bracket!
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    Not sure what you bought for handrail. It is possible that where ever you bought it may also sell a 90 deg "quarter turn" angle that you could use at the top to turn the rail into the wall. Something like this:

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Creative-St...ngs/1000554165

    I think there are pros/cons to doing that and using 2 separate rails.

    If you use the quarter turn, it's going to be hanging out there as you go through the door at the top of the stairs. There is a good chance people will smack themselves on it. But you'd have a continuous handrail all the way down.

    If you use two rails, you have to switch between them as you're stepping down the stairs.
    The cost of that quarter turn is more than I paid for 16’ of rail and 10 brackets.....

    This is the rail I got and the brackets -

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/2-25-in-x-8...ndrail/3878815

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Gatehouse-B...ets/1000193013


    I know having the rail offset - Weather a seperate rail or with a quarter turn like that - is not ideal. Will have to let go of one and grab another while on the steps.

    I may have to look at installing the rail on the opposite side. I could attach the top bracket to the fence post there - have a 2.5” offset there. But really didn’t want to go up that side but I guess it doesn’t matter.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by pappa View Post
    Add an ornamental 6x6 post at the top of the stairs against the painted wall and die the handrail into it with a standard bracket!
    You could do the same thing on the left hand side of the pic. Shim the handrail bracket out off of the newel post with a piece of hardwood screwed into the side of the post. Stained and finished to match.

    ha! you beat me to it!!
    Last edited by JD322; 10-03-2018 at 10:19 AM. Reason: coaltrain beat me to it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pappa View Post
    Add an ornamental 6x6 post at the top of the stairs against the painted wall and die the handrail into it with a standard bracket!
    This thought had just occurred to me, too. Just the right size for a 5.5" offset.

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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    The first thing I thought of was a 6x6 post but all I have are some pressure treated pieces that have been outside for years - wouldn’t look very good and likely wouldn’t take the stain very well.

    Shimming our the other side where the big post is might be easier. I’ll hold the rail up along that side and see how it looks.

    Just a side note - I bought the rail sight unseen - it’s actually a nicer rail than it shows on the website. I just can’t believe it was free shipping for the 8’ lengths. Thank goodness as it is a 3 hour round trip to Lowe’s which I just don’t have in me right now.
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    I believe that code states that all ends of hand rails have to return to the walls or posts. This is so clothing or equipment cannot catch on the ends of the handrails.
    Also the handrails have to be continuous from the top to bottom. This is so someone can travel the steps without letting go of the hand rail.

    I would lean toward pappa's idea of adding a post on the right to build it out even. If you will also be putting a handrail on the left. Just add some blocks to the existing post to build it out even.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    I believe that code states that all ends of hand rails have to return to the walls or posts. This is so clothing or equipment cannot catch on the ends of the handrails.
    Also the handrails have to be continuous from the top to bottom. This is so someone can travel the steps without letting go of the hand rail.
    One way or another here, he's going to be violating a building code. As you you said, the IRC requires that the rail be continuous. But the IRC also says that the rail can't be more than 4.5" from the wall. I don't see any way he can meet both of those at the same time here.
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