Last week we showed you how to install a straight rail, so today we’re moving on to a slightly more complicated project: how to install a stair railing. Your Westbury railing kit will arrive with a set of instructions, but it’s often helpful to see someone actually performing the steps. So in this post, we’ve combined visuals and text. Check out the handy video to learn how to install a stair railing and use the written directions below for added clarification. Assuming you can follow directions and use some basic tools, you shouldn’t have any trouble learning how to install a stair railing. Ready? Let’s dig in!
How to Install a Stair Railing
INCLUDED IN YOUR WESTBURY STAIR RAIL KIT
- Top rail
- Mid rail (if it is a three rail system)
- Bottom rail
- Short spindles (if it is a three rail system)
- Long spindles
- Instruction sheet
- Hardware for bottom rail on top side
- Hardware for bottom rail on bottom side
- Hardware for top rail on top side
- Hardware for top rail on bottom side
- 2 top rail covers
- 2 bottom rail covers
- Coated screws (which are used in visible locations)
- Uncoated screws (used for side entries, through the hardware)
- Chop saw with an 80-tooth carbide blade
- Cordless drill
- Number 2 square head bit
- Sawzall (if you’re using 47 inch stair posts) with a blade for non-ferrous metals
- Retractable utility knife
- Tape measure
- Dead blow rubber mallet
- Stainless steel 3/8″ x 3″ Tapcon fasteners (for masonry installations) OR 3/8″ x 4″ stainless steel lags (for wood installations)
INSTALLING THE POSTS
- Remove the posts from the packaging.
- Determine where you will be positioning each post on your deck.
- Remove the stainless steel shims that are attached to the post and set them to the side.
- Position the post and then mark its location on the deck. To do this, use your marker or pen and mark dots where you will be pre-drilling the holes. After that, go ahead and drill into these marks, creating your holes.
- Place the stainless steel shims in place, making sure they run parallel with the railing system and will line up with the leveling plates on the post plate. Set the post back into place.
- Insert your 3/8″-diameter lags and drive them into the deck, ensuring that they fit snugly. When the lags are turned down about 7/8ths of the way, pull out your level and check that the post is level on all sides. Loosen or tighten the leveling bolts as needed using a wrench. When the post is level, you can finish tightening your lags.
- Repeat for the remaining posts.
MEASURING & CUTTING THE RAILS
- Remove your PVC inserts on the bottom rail and top rail.
- Determine the location of the bottom rail. It should be roughly one inch off the nose of the steps.
- Make sure the spindles just inside the top and bottom post are evenly spaced.
- Insert the spindles into the bottom rail. Press the top rail into place.
- Make sure the spindles run parallel to the posts.
- Clamp the top rail into position.
- Determine the height of the posts and trim off the tops if necessary using your Sawzall.
- Determine where your hardware and bracketry is going to be located.
- Mark on your railings where they need to be cut. Insert the PVC inserts and cut the railings and inserts together using your chop saw.
ASSEMBLING THE RAIL
- Attach the spindles to the bottom rail by simply pressing them down into the holes. Make sure that they are straight as you press and, if needed, use a mallet for extra pressure.
- Attach the top rail. Start by lining up the rail with 4-5 of the spindles on one end and, using your mallet, press the spindles partially into the top rail. Move down the rail, inserting more spindles and pressing down the top rail. Continue this until you have reached the last spindle.
- Hammer the top rail with your mallet until it is fully in place. You will know that you have done this correctly when you see, looking from the side, that the spindles are all the way up into the top rail, hitting the protrusion located inside the top of the rail.
- Check that the bottom rail is also fully connected. The spindles should hit the bottom of the inside of the bottom rail.
- Repeat for remaining rails.
INSTALLING THE RAILS
- Move the rails so that they are slanted and fit the slope of your stairs (i.e., “rack” them).
- Insert the rails into the posts’ cups at all four locations.
- Check for fit and form. If the rails are not the correct length, make adjustments.
- Insert flat head screws into the hardware using a side entry at all four locations.
- Place the flat top covers on the bottom rails and the round top covers on the top rails, above the hardware. Tap into place with your mallet (they are press-fit products).
- Place your caps on the tops of the posts. They are tension-fit, so simply tap them into place with your mallet.
- Cover the leveling bolts with the two-part zinc die cast flair. The pieces will slide and snap together.
- Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to install a stair railing!
Note: the video also includes swivel products and handrails. We will discuss these in future blog posts.
If you haven’t yet purchased your Westbury aluminum railing, head on over to MMC Fencing & Railing. In our online store, you’ll find a variety of Westbury railing systems, including the Tuscany, Riviera, Montego, and Veranda styles. Beautiful, classic, and virtually maintenance-free, these railing systems will add a lasting value to your home. If you have any questions about how to install a stair railing after purchasing our products, please give us a call at 1-866-931-5002. Click here to request a quote. We look forward to hearing from you!