Adding a handrail to your deck will help prevent accidents and may even improve home value. It also improves safety so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors. In this video, we demonstrate how to build a railing for stairs outdoors with host Marc Vigeland of This Old House
When it comes to building railings for stairs outdoors, there are several options to choose from. You can go for a single post or different designs to make your stairs look great.
If you have a porch or stairs outside your house and no railing, it might be time to build one. Having a railing at the front of your house is important for safety reasons, especially if you have elderly people or small children in your home. It also helps to keep pets from falling off the edges of stairs. Read on to learn how to build and install outdoor railings for stairs.
Get your materials and tools together.
Before you start, you’ll need a few materials and tools. Check out the chart below to see how much of each item you’ll need to get started:
- Tools: hammer and nails/screws
- Material: wood that is at least ¾-inch thick for railing posts and 1-inch thick for railings (you can use pressure-treated lumber)
Cut your wood.
- Cut your wood. First, use a miter saw to cut the boards to the correct length.
- Use a straightedge and pencil to mark where you want to cut the pieces.
- Nail together two of these pieces with 2-inch nails every 12 inches or so along each side of the board using a hammer. Repeat this step for all four sides of your stairway railing (two sides will be vertical and two will be horizontal).
Measure the length of your railing.
The first step to building a railing for stairs outdoors is measuring the length of your stairs. This will be the overall length of both sides of your stairway, plus the landing at the bottom.
Measure your deck and front door width as well. If you have a narrow deck or if it’s close to a house or another structure, consider using aluminum balusters instead of wood ones so that they don’t stick out too far from the structure.
Next, measure each tread (space between each step). Be sure to measure them at their widest point in order to get an accurate measurement. If you want taller rails for safety reasons, use half-inch increments for additional height so that spacing between rails is consistent throughout construction process
Draw a sketch of the railing you want to build.
First, draw a sketch of the railing you want to build. Make sure the sketch is to scale and include all of the dimensions of your stairs. The sketch should be on paper, but it can be transferred to the wood later. If you don’t know how long or wide your stair handrails will be, there are several ways to measure them:
- Measure from one corner post to another, that will give you two numbers (Width & Length). Add them together for total width needed and divide by 2 for total length needed per side or if there are two sides then add both measurements together for total length needed (i) – You may need more pieces than just one complete side so factor that into your calculations as well.
- Measure from center post outwards towards each end cap/post until either reaches about 1/4″ away from edge…then use these lengths plus an additional 6-8″ extra per side along with what ever gap distance between posts was left by where they are connected onto flooring material; this will give us enough room between posts so they don’t get too close together while still being able to attach securely without any gaps showing through when finished.
Rent or buy a saw to cut a miter at the ends of each piece of wood in your railing at a 45 degree angle.
A miter saw, also known as a chop saw, is the best tool for cutting your railing pieces at 45-degree angles. You can rent one from your local hardware store or even borrow one from a friend if you don’t want to buy one. Once you have your miter saw in hand, place each piece of wood on its side and cut off an end of it at a 45-degree angle by holding the blade perpendicular to the surface of the board.
Use construction adhesive to secure your pieces of wood in place, and nail them together through the center of each piece.
To assemble your railing, begin by using construction adhesive to secure your pieces of wood in place. Then, nail them together through the center of each piece. Use a nail gun to hold them in place, and use a drill to make holes through which you can drive nails into the wood (using a hammer).
Connect all the pieces together to create a long rail system.
Once the rails are cut and drilled according to your measurements, it’s time to connect them all together. Using a drill and screws, attach each section of rail to one another so they create one long rail system. Use a level to make sure everything is straight and level before securing the pieces together with screws. You may also have to use a hammer to secure some pieces together if they’re loose or wobbly.
Once all the pieces are connected, it’s time for assembly! Flip over your stairs and measure how far down from the top of your treads you want your railing to go: usually about 1-2 inches below where feet would land if someone were walking up/downstairs normally (this will vary depending on step size). Mark this measurement out on each tread with chalk or paint; then use a drill bit slightly smaller than whatever hardware you’re using (we used 3/8″-1″ lag bolts)
Remove any excess glue with damp cloths, and then let it dry overnight.
Once the glue has dried, you can remove any excess with damp cloths. Use a sponge or towel saturated with water to gently push away any excess material. If you have any questions about the process, contact your local hardware store or an experienced contractor in your area for help. It’s important that you let it dry overnight before using it.
Get an assistant to help you hold up the railing in its place while you drill it into the front steps to hold it securely in place.
The next step is to secure the railing in place by drilling it into your front steps. This will make sure that it will not move around and will stay securely in place.
To do this, we recommend getting an assistant to help you hold up the railing as you drill them into the front steps. You may have to repeat this process multiple times until all of your railings are secured.
The railing is ready to use
Now that the railing is complete, it’s time to make sure it is safe.
- Check the measurements of your rail and stairs before installing. Make sure they are not too close together or too far apart. You also want to make sure that the railings aren’t leaning inward or outward from their base as this can cause serious falls, especially in wet conditions like rain or snow.
- Use a railing that is strong enough to hold your weight if you’re climbing up on it, but also one that is light enough so it doesn’t feel unnaturally heavy when you walk over them each day (or night).
- Securely attach all components together with lag bolts and washers at least every 16 inches along all sides of both rails and at each connection point where two pieces join together such as where they meet each other on corners or ends of staircases/landings/porches.
Congratulations, you have successfully built a railing for your stairs! It’s time to enjoy the warm sunlight of summer