Would you believe me if I told you that of all the stair railings I’ve done over the years, this one was the simplest, fastest, cheapest and easiest to build? And we do kinda love the modern farmhouse railing look too!
Video Tutorial for this DIY Staircase Handrail:
Photo Steps of How We Built this DIY Staircase Handrail
First, we started with some 2x4s.
We sanded and stained and cut into 48″ long pieces for the post. We also cut pieces for the top cap, again too long so we can trim in place.
We used 4-1/2″ lag screws to attach to solid backing, spacing about 3-4 feet appart. On the stairs, we ran the 2x4s longer, so we could cut them off as needed.
To get the angle to cut the stair posts off right, we held up a straight edge (we used the 2×4 cap to be installed in the next step) so it was parallel with the stair skirt. Then we penciled in the overlap of the straight edge on the posts.
Then we cut the stair posts off at the pencil lines.
To finish the wood framing for the stair handrail, we attached a cap to the top. To get the cap end angles right, we again held it in place, and traced where it overlapped the other parts of the stair framing. To attach the cap, we used 3″ wood construction screws.
Ok, now here’s where we cheat.
We purchased metal flat bar in 1″ width (you can get 20′ pieces from a specialty metal store, this entire handrail system was about $170 in metal) and simply cut it with a metal blade and screwed it to the back side of the 2×4 uprights with a 1-1/4″ screw.
Standard code requires less than 4″ openings in railings. So we did a little math and figured out how many rows we’d need and how far apart and marked the straight section of railing, cut the metal flat bar and screwed it to the inside of the 2×4. We just used one screw per post.
This gave us a starting point for the stair railing runs. And then we just eyeballed to make sure the metal was running parallel to the top cap and the skirt and screwed it to the post.
Here’s what it looks like from the back.
You probably noticed the loft railing. This was even easier to build, but we do recommend using the same method as the stair railing with the outside mount posts for increased strength.
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