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Thread: Handrail on porch steps - need suggestions

  1. #1
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    Handrail on porch steps - need suggestions

    Planning to replace old porch steps with brick and Trex. Probably will use a metal handrail on one side. Porch is only 22" above the grass. Can't attach to porch railing. Bolting it to the Trex (or whatever brand) is not going to do it. Ideas?

  2. #2
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    With the deck only 22 inches above the ground, a railing isn't required, but if you want one you need to either anchor it to framing or with posts into the ground.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA '71
    Go Navy!

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  3. #3
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    I recently built some beside old brick steps. I step posts right outside the edge of the steps. I had to cut spaces out of the footings to get the posts right next to the steps.

  4. #4
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    I am sure I am not imagining all of the details... I would be thinking of some framing reinforcement under the Trex for long lag screws at the top and a post or baluster set into, or bolted on to concrete at the bottom.
    Missouri, Where the Walnut trees grow straight, tall, and gigantic. Therefore, it's not that bad.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  5. #5
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    Place some anchor bolts into the brick. I assume concrete base with brick veneer.
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    Here's a picture. Even though the post is treated, at some point it will rot, so I put short pieces of chain in the footing to be able to pull it out easily with the loader when the time comes. You have to carefully dig the hole so none of it goes under the steps.

    I don't mix the concrete. I just put water in the hole and slowly pour the premix in. It's of course not the strongest like that, but I've found it's plenty strong enough for post support.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    What about widening the treads and shortening the risers. Then maybe no handrail would be needed. Im thinking 4 risers and 16 treads.

  8. #8
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    Handrails are not required but we'll want one in our dotage, and for neighbors who have proceeded us there.

    Don't want any wood to maintain so I'd like to just fasten a metal railing to the top of the Trex. Thinking about posts thru into the brick but not sure where to get that hardware.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2021
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    Grafton NH, Boone and Howard County MO.
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    Metal deck railing systems are becoming popular. Our lumber yards and home stores have or can get parts and hardware. If welding is an option King Architectural Metals is a good recourse. I make handrails that are like custom grab bars from 1 1/4 inch pipe, butt weld elbows, and flanges. Several that bolt to a wall at the top and floor at the bottom have worked out well.

    Metal - Deck Railings - Decking - The Home Depot

    Pipe Fittings | Pipe End Caps | Metal Pipe Elbows | Pipe T's
    Missouri, Where the Walnut trees grow straight, tall, and gigantic. Therefore, it's not that bad.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  10. #10
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Yea, there are some really nice modular rail systems available these days. There is still a requirement to have secure fastening points for the posts...you can't just lag them into the deck surface, Tom, so you'll need to potentially deal with that from underneath or by removing a row or two of surface to take care of the situation.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    I was planning to weld up metal railings in place for those step handrails, but couldn't get the delivery from my metal supplier for such a small order in any specified time. They usually will work it in when they deliver to a local boat lift manufacturer, but they had just loaded up for several months. I really didn't want to use wood either, but didn't want anyone staying in that rental house without step railings.

    Pictures would help.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I was planning to weld up metal railings in place for those step handrails, but couldn't get the delivery from my metal supplier for such a small order in any specified time. They usually will work it in when they deliver to a local boat lift manufacturer, but they had just loaded up for several months.
    King Metals has always been excellent with shipping, I suspect my location works out well for one of their established freight routes. They also ship fedX or UPS and offer railing in lengths that are shippable non freight.

  13. #13
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    I get it delivered here free when I can catch them headed this way. It would have been several hundred pounds, and the pieces I needed would have been in 20 foot lengths. I'm too cheap to pay shipping on an order like that. Picture with tractor is receiving such a small order. They come right past our place, and I have the easiest place anywhere to get a truck in and out of.

    We'll get by with this for as long as they last. As good as paint is these days, they will probably last pretty good. At least they match the porch railings. It's hard to believe this porch never had any railings, probably built in 1974.

    It really aggravated me that the top step is longer than the lower ones, so I couldn't get the railings to end at the same height at the top without extra effort, but this will do. The view is away from the porch anyway.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 05-21-2023 at 10:14 AM.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2016
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    term to use for side mount post is "fascia post mount."
    The second link design would be easy for any welder to make. A piece of square tube welded to a flat plate and some holes drilled. A Simpson FAP Plate could make two of those.
    Bill D.

    https://stainlesscablerailing.com/re...ia-4-hole.html

    https://www.decksdirect.com/fe26-fas...25042&keyword=
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 05-21-2023 at 10:20 AM.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2007
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    southeast Michigan
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    The male half of my 80 year old neighbors started having balance issues a couple of years ago and he asked if I could make a railing for his patio steps. I don't recall the distance in height of the steps but it is much like your project. I bought 1 and 1 1/2 inch black pipe, made aluminum end caps and welded everything together. The lower end that needed to get secured in the ground underneath the pavers was done in 2 pieces bolted together, the lower piece being cemented in place. This allowed it to be easily taken down in the future if needed. All stainless steel fasteners were used.
    rail 1.jpg20210501_134004.jpg

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