What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Handrails?

Dan Cavallari

The process for building or otherwise installing DIY handrails will vary depending on the materials used to construct the handrail as well as where the unit will be installed. If the builder has only basic carpentry skills and no welding skills, it is best to build the DIY handrails from wood. If the builder has welding skills, metal may be an option, though this is a more difficult process. Consider carefully where the handrail will be installed to make the best determination about the most appropriate materials, size, and style.

A stud finder can help find an ideal location for handrails to be safely secured to the wall.
A stud finder can help find an ideal location for handrails to be safely secured to the wall.

Assemble all the proper tools before beginning the project. This may mean renting or buying tools, but either way, it is important to have all the necessary tools on hand to prevent delays or improper installation of the DIY handrails. Once the tools are assembled, the raw materials will need to be purchased. Consider buying hardwoods over softwoods; hardwoods will be more expensive, but they will also be more resistant to water damage such as warping, cracking, splitting, or developing mold. Hardwoods are also naturally beautiful and resistant to impact damage. Softwoods will be less expensive for DIY handrails, and they can be reasonably attractive, but they are more susceptible to various kinds of damage.

Invest in a good stud finder before beginning the project. This tool will help locate studs to which the handrail hardware will need to be attached. Screwing the hardware for DIY handrails into drywall without a stud behind it will lead to wall damage and will make the handrail unsafe overall, since it will not be able to hold a moderate amount of weight. Try to find a stud finder that also features a sensor for finding wires and other electrical equipment behind walls; this can prevent drilling into a wire, potentially leading to injury or damage to electrical systems.

Make sure to measure the run of the stairs to ensure the proper size of handrail is installed. A tape measure should be used to figure out where the DIY handrails will begin and end; it is a good idea to buy a handrail or handrail material that will run the entire length of the stairs. If the handrails will be used for handicap accessibility, it may be necessary to buy materials that are slightly longer than the staircase itself to allow a user to grasp on before beginning to climb the stairs.

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