Installing your own DIY outdoor handrail
Simple handrails are becoming more commonplace at small sections of stairs or the entrance to homes. Installation doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive either: our kits make it easy to install a strong and aesthetically pleasing handrail to the steps of your home or business.
Outdoor handrail for the front steps
Rob installed this handrail on the front steps of his home. He had the handrail colour coated to compliment the exterior of his home. The railings can be painted on-site, or we can do this for you for an additional cost. Our outdoor handrail can be installed under an hour. Watch the video below for an idea of what it takes to install one of our handrails.
Stair handrail for your deck
Rick installed the railing pictured above on the back of his rental property. The C50 Simple Rail allows a railing to be installed on steps of just about any angle. The C50 Outdoor Stair Railing is especially easy to install; no tube cutting or drilling is required. Simply mount the bases and everything else attaches with an Allen wrench or hammer.
Mount a SR-C50 Handrail
- Topfixed inline adjustable stair handrail
- Super strong and resistant to rust
- Customise the kit to fit your requirements
- Perfect for landlords, home owners or business owners
Porch mounted stair railing
In addition to free-standing stair railing, there are also Simple Rail handrail kits that will attach to your outdoor porch. Porches are often designed with a flat top rail that is very difficult to grab or hold onto. Simple Rail wall mounted kits can be added to the exterior of the porch and will provide a strong, durable grab rail that can be finished to match the exterior of your home.
Step by step handrail installation instructions
Not every handrail installation requires the exact same processes. This area is designed to provide general installation instruction for the common elements of handrail installation.
How do I measure correctly?
Remember what your Dad told you? 'Measure Twice, Cut Once' You know the the phrase!
Figuring out the measurements for your handrail requires some attention to detail. There are two ways to figure it out the dimension for your grab rail and how you do it probably depends on how much you like maths.
This simple way to do this is to have someone stand at the bottom of the steps holding the end of the measuring tape. Walk to the top of the stairs while each of you hold the measuring tape 1m off the ground. Record the length when you have positioned the ends where you want the rail to begin and end.
The mathematical way of calculating would be to measure the rise and run of the steps and then calculate the length of the railing by the following formula:
Railing Length = √ height2 + length2
The square root of the height squared plus the length squared will give you the proper length of your rail.
What sort of prepping do I need to do?
Whether you are mounting to the wall or to ground, be sure that the area is cleaned so that it can receive the base flange or railing bracket without obstruction.
How do I mount base flanges?
Anchoring to concrete or masonry
- Align flange and mark holes - Set the base flanges where they need to go and mark the holes with a marker.
- Dimple holes with a nail set - Before drilling, make a dent in the surface to prevent the drill bit from drifting.
- Drill holes for the anchor - Use a hammer drill and the appropriate masonry bit to make a hole for the anchor. Follow the instructions for drilling the hole from the anchor manufacturer.
- Remove dust from holes - Use a air hose or vaccum cleaner to get the debris out of the holes.
- Attach flanges with anchors - How you will do this depends on anchor style. But if you use hammer-in anchors, then put a nut on the end of the threads to protect the threads while you hammer the anchor into place.
- Cut off excess bolt - If you have excess bolt that is exposed after tightening the anchors, use a hack saw to remove the excess.
Anchoring to wood
- Align flange - Set the base flanges where they need to go and mark the holes with a marker.
- Drill pilot holes - Drill a pilot hole appropriate for the size lag screw that you are using.
- Attach flange with screws - Use a socket set to screw the lag screw into place.
How do I mount wall railing brackets?
- Align bracket and mark holes - Begin by placing the bracket against the wall and marking the holes.
- Drill pilot holes - Drill a Pilot hole for the screws that will be used to attach the brackets. A hammer drill will be required if you are drilling into concrete or masonry.
- Attach brackets to wall - Attach the brackets with the appropriate kind of screw for the material that you are anchoring into.
How do I attach the uprights?
In most cases this is as simple as slipping the upright into the base flange and tightening the set screws in the fittings. Use a level to ensure that the post is plumb.
How do I attach brackets to the uprights?
This will be different for each kind of railing. The key here is not to attach the fitting too tightly. Attach the bracket or fitting just enough, so that adjustments can be made. You will probably not want to make your final tightening until after the railing has been attached.
How do I attach the railing to brackets?
When it comes to the differences in the handrail kits, attaching the rail to the handrail brackets is where there is the most diversity. Some railings will be much easier to attach than others.
- Attaching directly to the fitting - Some railings were meant to slip through a hole in a fitting. If this is case, then the job is easy! Simply slip the tube through the hole in the fitting and tighten down the set screw.
- Drilling into tube - Some railing brackets are designed to connect to the tube with screws. If this is the case, then make pilot holes with a drill before attempting to screw into the tube. Even if your screws are "self-drilling" we recommend making a pilot hole. Pilot holes can be made by aligning the grab rail on the brackets and using a marker to mark each hole. Once the hole is marked, take the railing off the brackets and pre-drill the holes in a stable location. After you have made the pilot holes, set the railing on the brackets and attach with the appropriate screws.
How do I tap in the tube caps?
Once your entire handrail is assembled, you'll want to tap the tube caps into any exposed ends of the rails and posts. It is best to do this with a rubber mallet. If you don't have a rubber mallet, then cover the cap with a piece of cardboard to protect the metal from scratches while you tap it in with a standard hammer.
Now that you're done building the handrail, it's best to go back over it again and make sure that everything is tightened appropriately. If your handrail is painted, touch up any paint you have nicked or scratched during the installation.
Videos: Installing an outdoor stair handrail
The SR-518 is our most popular handrail. It is easy to install and can be used on almost any set of stairs. This handrail is great for disability compliance.
The Surface L160 is more difficult than some of the other Simple Rail stair handrails to build, but it has an elegant, finished look.