7 steps to install a handrail on steps

In Metanox, we help you install handrails

At Metanox, we understand the importance of safety and accessibility in every home or commercial space.

That’s why we’re here to assist you in installing handrails with ease and confidence. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the guidance and support you need throughout the installation process.

From selecting the right materials to ensuring compliance with building codes, we’re committed to helping you create a safe environment for everyone. Let us be your partner in installing handrails that enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of your space.


Step 1: Gather materials and tools for handrail installation


  • Handrail: Choose a suitable material such as wood, metal, or PVC.
  • Brackets: Ensure they are sturdy and appropriate for your handrail and installation surface.
  • Screws: Select screws suitable for your handrail material and installation surface.
  • Anchors (if needed): Provide additional stability for surfaces like concrete or brick.
  • Paint or stain (optional): Customize the appearance of your handrail.


  • Measuring tape: Accurate measurements are crucial.
  • Pencil or marker: Mark locations for brackets and measurements.
  • Level: Ensures the handrail is installed straight and level.
  • Drill and bits: Create holes for screws and anchors.
  • Screwdriver or screw gun: Secure brackets and handrail.
  • Saw (if needed): Cut handrail to fit stairs.
  • Safety equipment: Gloves and safety glasses.

Having all materials and tools prepared beforehand will streamline the installation process.

Step 2: Measure and plan handrail installation


  • Measure the length of the stairs where the handrail will be installed.
  • Determine the desired height of the handrail, typically between 34 to 38 inches above the stair treads.
  • Mark the locations for the brackets along the stairs, ensuring they are evenly spaced and meet local building codes.
  • Take into account keywords: stair length measurement, handrail height determination, bracket spacing, compliance with building codes.


  • Consider any obstacles or obstructions along the installation path.
  • Choose the appropriate handrail material and style that complements the surroundings.
  • Review local building codes or regulations regarding handrail height, spacing, and material requirements.
  • Ensure the handrail design aligns with the aesthetic of the space while maintaining functionality and safety.
  • Account for keywords: obstacle assessment, handrail material selection, compliance review with building codes, aesthetic integration.

Step 3: Mark and prepare the installation area

Marking the locations for handrail brackets on stairs:

  • Use a measuring tape to mark the desired height of the handrail on the staircase, typically between 34 to 38 inches above the stair treads.
  • With a pencil or marker, make small marks on the wall or railing where each bracket will be installed, ensuring they are evenly spaced and align with the handrail’s length.
  • Double-check the accuracy of your markings and adjust as needed before proceeding.

Considerations for attaching the handrail to different types of surfaces:

  • For wooden surfaces, use wood screws to attach the brackets securely. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent splitting the wood.
  • When attaching the handrail to concrete or brick surfaces, consider using anchors for added stability. Drill holes into the surface and insert anchors before attaching the brackets.
  • For metal surfaces, choose appropriate screws or bolts designed for metal applications.

Prepare the surface for installation:

  • Clean the installation area thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or old mounting hardware.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the surface, such as filling in holes or repairing damage, to ensure a smooth and stable installation.
  • Use a level to ensure that the surface is flat and even before attaching the brackets.

Step 4: Install brackets for handrail on steps

Now that the installation area is prepared and marked, it’s time to install the brackets for the handrail. Follow these steps for a secure installation:

1. Positioning the brackets:

  • Align each bracket with the markings made on the staircase, ensuring they are level and evenly spaced.
  • Use a level to double-check the alignment of each bracket before securing them in place.

2. Attaching the brackets:

  • If attaching to wood, use wood screws to secure the brackets firmly to the surface. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent splitting.
  • For concrete or brick surfaces, use anchors to provide additional stability. Drill holes into the surface and insert anchors before attaching the brackets with screws.
  • Ensure that screws are tightened securely to hold the brackets in place.

3. Testing stability:

  • After installing all brackets, give the handrail a gentle shake to ensure it feels stable and secure.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the brackets or screws to improve stability if needed.

4. Checking alignment:

  • Use a level to confirm that the brackets are still aligned correctly and that the handrail will be installed straight and level.
  • Make any final adjustments to the bracket positioning if necessary.

5. Securing the handrail:

  • Once the brackets are securely attached and properly aligned, it’s time to install the handrail.
  • Place the handrail onto the brackets and secure it in place using screws or bolts provided with the brackets.
  • Ensure the handrail is level and tightly secured to the brackets.

6. Final inspection:

  • Give the handrail a final inspection to ensure it is securely attached and meets safety standards.
  • Test the handrail by applying pressure to ensure it can support weight without loosening.

Step 5: Install handrails on stairs

How to install handrails on stairs ? 

Installing handrails on stairs involves a few simple steps:

  • Position the handrail: Place the handrail over the brackets previously installed on the stairs. Ensure that the holes in the handrail align with the brackets.
  • Secure the handrail: Use screws or bolts provided with the brackets to attach the handrail securely to the brackets. Tighten the screws or bolts to ensure a firm hold.
  • Level the handrail: Use a level to check if the handrail is straight and level. If needed, make adjustments to ensure the handrail is aligned correctly.
  • Cutting the handrail (if necessary): If the handrail is longer than the stairs, you may need to cut it to fit. Use a saw to trim the handrail to the appropriate length.

By following these steps, you can successfully install handrails on stairs, providing safety and support for users.

Step 6: Test and adjust handrail on steps

Testing the handrail for stability is crucial:

  • Apply pressure to ensure it can support weight without loosening.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the brackets or screws for improved stability.
  • If repairs are needed, address them promptly to maintain safety standards.

Step 7: Finishing touches for handrail installation

After installing the handrail, consider these finishing touches:

  • Paint or stain the handrail to match your décor and protect it from the elements.
  • Apply a clear coat for added durability and longevity.
  • Regular maintenance is key to keeping the handrail in good condition:
    • Inspect it periodically for any signs of damage or wear.
    • Clean the handrail regularly with a mild soap and water solution to remove dirt and debris.
    • If the handrail becomes loose or damaged, repair it promptly to maintain safety.


In summary, installing a handrail on steps involves careful planning and execution. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a safe and secure installation that complies with building codes. Remember to prioritize safety at every step of the process and enjoy the added convenience and peace of mind provided by your newly installed handrail.

Additional tips and considerations

Handrail height in Canada:

  • In Canada, handrail height regulations are typically governed by provincial or territorial building codes, which may vary slightly.
  • As a general guideline, the height of handrails in Canada is commonly set between 865 mm (34 inches) and 965 mm (38 inches) above the stair nosing.
  • However, it’s essential to consult the specific building codes or regulations applicable to your region to ensure compliance.
  • Additionally, consider the needs of all users, including children, elderly individuals, and individuals with disabilities, when determining handrail height to maximize safety and accessibility.

Before installing a handrail on steps in Canada, thoroughly research and adhere to the local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance with handrail height requirements.

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