How to Build a Hallway Railing
Hallway handrails are common in hospitals and care facilities where patients may require the extra support to get around. They are also a part of every seagoing ship hallway to battle the effects of constant motion and unexpected swells. Handrails, whether they are installed on stairways or in hallways, require the same basic elements: a sturdy anchoring system, a comfortable installation height, and a solid material that users can easily and safely grab hold of.
Use a tape measure and a level to mark the height of your handrail onto the wall. Start at one end of the hallway with your level standing on the floor against the wall. Stretch your tape measure upward from the floor and, with the level perfectly straight, mark the height you wish your handrail to be. A standard handrail height is 36 inches, but the brackets you use to install the handrail, plus the height of the handrail itself may add a few inches. Mark the wall at 32 inches for a finished handrail that stands around 36.
Repeat the process at the other end of the hallway. Extend a chalk line between the two marks and snap a guideline to be followed during the installation process. Use your stud finder to locate the position of each stud along the length of the installation area and mark each one level with the chalk line.
Use your tape measure to record the length of your hallway handrail. Use your circular saw to cut a piece of store-bought handrail to the same length. Use your miter box and hand saw to cut a 45-degree angle at each end of the handrail. The angle should start from the outside edge of the rail and shorten as it moves inward toward the wall side of the rail.
Install one handrail mounting bracket at each alternate stud location. Place the bottom screw-mounting bracket screw hole over the spot where the pencil mark and chalk line intersect. Use your drill to make a pilot hole and use your screw gun to drive one of the mounting screws provided with your bracket into the stud. Put your level onto a block of wood and place both onto the top of the bracket. Adjust the bracket until it is perfectly plumb, then drill and fasten the other two holes. Repeat the process for each bracket.
Lay the cut handrail onto the wall-mounted brackets. Use your tape measure to record the distance between the outside edge of the rail and the wall directly next to it. Cut two pieces of handrail to this length. Use your miter box and hand saw to cut one end of each piece at a 45-degree angle.
Remove the handrail from the brackets and place it on a flat work surface. Apply wood glue to both mitered ends of the rail and lay your small cut ends in position so they form a closed end that will abut the wall when the rail is installed. Use your hammer and finishing nails to fasten the ends to the rail.
Place the rail back onto the brackets and use your screw gun to drive the screws provided with your brackets into the underside of the rail.
- Customize your handrail installation height based on the height and needs of its users.
- Use caution when working with dangerous tools like saws, hammers and nails. Serious injury can occur. Wear work gloves and eye goggles for protection.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.
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