The railing is one of the main components of staircase construction. It fulfills protective and decorative tasks and consists of balusters, main intermediate and support bars, handrails, and protective screens. Handrails ensure that the person moves safely down the stairwell. They provide support during walking and protect the user from falling over the staircase. This article considers the methods for installing the staircase elements and the fastening of the handrail to the wall.
Balusters as the most important component of stair railing
To install the stair railing correctly, you need to know how to fasten the handrails and balusters depending on their type and manufacturing material.
Balusters are vertically located supports. The handrail should be laid on them. They are either placed directly on the steps or mounted to the bowstrings/stringers. Configuration of balusters can be different and is determined by the interior decoration of the building, design, stylistic decisions, and, of course, price. They can decorate even an ordinary-looking stairwell. Balusters are made of such materials as wood, steel, concrete, stone, glass, and plaster.
Nowadays, you can often see the stair railings, which include two-three types of building materials that fit together perfectly. The method for installing the balusters to the stair flight depends on the material.
To make a stair railing safe and reliable, you should observe a number of essential conditions during installation:
- a clear distance between the balusters must be no less than 150 mm;
- safe height of handrails must be no less than 900 mm;
- you need to make a fastening for the handrails in two points – to the handrails and staircase construction (steps, stringers, and bowstrings);
- The fastening of the handrail to the wall must be perfectly smooth and comfortable but non-slip; you can fasten them next to the wall without mounting the balusters.
Support stands (upper and lower) perform a main protective task of the handrails. Therefore, you need to take their fixation very seriously. However, you should also take the installation of intermediate balusters very seriously. The railing has to withstand a 100-kg person leaning on it.
The entire course of installation of handrails consists of the following stages:
- extreme support posts are mounted from above and below;
- mark the locations of baluster constructions — for this, you can use thin but durable cord or laser level; it is important to remember that precise layout settings are very important and allow you to avoid unnecessary problems;
- centerlines are applied in the center of the balusters using marker or pencil;
- prepare the upper edges of balusters. They should be sawn off according to the slope of the stair flight. Cutting the ends is made only if the vertical support elements are placed over the stringer or if the railing fastening has a personalized design.
The railing of the wooden staircase
The main load-bearing components of the railings can be mounted to steps with simple nails, but such a device will be unsteady and become unusable in a very short time.
There are three main methods, which allow you to make a fastening for the railings stronger, and the railings are attached to the baluster constructions in a similar way. Fastenings can be made on the dowels, tapping screws, and studs. When the railings are installed on the steel studs, you need to drill the hole (no more than 80 mm deep) in the center of the end from the bottom of the wooden baluster. Its diameter is usually 12 mm.
It is important to bear in mind that bolts must be galvanized to avoid corrosion. The stud should be inserted into the hole so that it protrudes from the coating by 5 — 7 cm. Due to the special glue, they are fixed in the required position and wait for its setting. After that, you should drill a hole in a stringer or step and “seat” the balusters by using the glue and studs, installed in the balusters.
Installation of balusters on the dowels that represent round wooden spikes is performed as follows:
- drill the holes in the baluster ends and on the stringer/steps (they must be larger than for the metal studs);
- insert the dowel into the prepared grooves, using the glue similar to PVA for fastening;
- install the baluster on the dowel, preliminarily filling the finished holes with glue;
- check the verticality of pillars due to the level or plumb and leave them for 2 — 3 hours until the glue dries;
- start the installation (particularly, fastening of the handrail to the wall).
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