How to Anchor a Stair Banister to the Wall

Banisters, often referred to as handrails, are decorative as well as necessary to ensure safety. Often banisters are placed on the side of the staircase lacking a wall, but you can also install one on the wall for extra support. A banister longer than 8 feet must usually have at least three brackets securing it to the wall, and should be positioned at a standard height above the tread -- usually about 36 inches. Check with your local building department to verify the code requirements for stair banisters.

List of Items Needed

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Banister brackets
  • Electric drill
  • Screws
  1. Locate the studs behind the wall with a stud finder. Hold the stud finder flat against the wall and move it from left to right until all studs behind the staircase wall are located. Mark each stud location with a pencil.

  2. Measure the length of the banister and lock the tape measure at this distance. Hold the locked tape measure against the wall above the stairs, and place a mark to show the two ends of the banister. You will place the supporting brackets between these marks.

  3. Hold the first bracket above the second tread on the wall. If the second tread doesn't lie directly beneath a stud, place the bracket in front of the closet stud. Make sure the top of the bracket is 36 inches above the the tread. (Check with building department for local code requirements regarding banister height.)

  4. Mark the screw holes for the bracket with a pencil. Repeat the process to mark the screw holes for each additional bracket. Make sure each bracket is located in front of a stud, and try to space them evenly within the banister marks.

  5. Measure the distance between the bracket screw marks and the stair treads to verify that each one is the same distance above the step. This will ensure the banister is installed at an even angle.

  6. Drill pilot holes for the screws into the stud with an electric drill. Line each bracket's screw holes with the pilot holes in the wall, and secure the brackets with screws.

  7. Put the banister directly over the arm of each bracket so that the railing rests in the U-shaped holder on each bracket.

  8. Mark the screw holes of each U-shaped bracket strap on the underside of the banister. Remove the banister and drill pilot holes into the underside for each screw.

  9. Line up the bracket strap with the pilot holes on the banister and secure them in place with screws.

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