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Radical Basement Dweller
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Discussion Starter #1
A customer of mine just got out of the hospital and the wife wants to add another hand rail on the wall going upstairs. There is an existing one with returns, curves and balusters. This one will be just a 5' section on the opposite wall with no returns.

The question....what is the correct way to deal with the ends? Are they just cut at 90* or, is there an angled cut on the top and bottom ends. I have it in my head that both top and bottom ends should be cut with inward angled cuts...just not sure how severe.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
 

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Homebuilders Draftsman
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41 Posts
A customer of mine just got out of the hospital and the wife wants to add another hand rail on the wall going upstairs. There is an existing one with returns, curves and balusters. This one will be just a 5' section on the opposite wall with no returns.

The question....what is the correct way to deal with the ends? Are they just cut at 90* or, is there an angled cut on the top and bottom ends. I have it in my head that both top and bottom ends should be cut with inward angled cuts...just not sure how severe.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
I've always drawn details for them at a 90 degree angle to the stair rise. That make sense?

 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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Discussion Starter #4
There is no real space for returns as the opposing wall has a decorative rail with a few balusters at/on the top/2nd story floor, but ending before the first step/rise. Confusing I know.

The opposing wall ends short of the bottom stair and has a rail with balusters at the bottom end. There is a 5' section of wall, in between and opposite the wall with existing handrail and balusters with nothing. She just wants a quick hand rail put in so her husband has something on the other side to hold on to.

There won't be any balusters...just an oak handrail with probably 3 supports.

I dunno...just thought it would look funny to have end grain showing.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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If you don't want to see the end grain, just add a return at each end by means of a couple 45° miters. Or do you have a different definition of "return"?
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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Discussion Starter #7
If you don't want to see the end grain, just add a return at each end by means of a couple 45° miters. Or do you have a different definition of "return"?
I would like the top and bottom of the handrail to extend past the wall a little to give him something to hold before he takes his first step at the top and bottom. Doing that, a return would hit nothing but air....:laughing:
 

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GC/carpenter
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According to R311.8.3.3 of the IRC you must return the railing into a wall or a newel post. It's too prevent clothing from catching and causing someone to trip on the stairs.

Here's a pic from the code book I took. This is in the residential code.
 

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Depends on the handrail profile how well it works but cut a V into the end for a miter return into itself.
 

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Focusing on solutions.
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I would like the top and bottom of the handrail to extend past the wall a little to give him something to hold before he takes his first step at the top and bottom. Doing that, a return would hit nothing but air....:laughing:
Return them down instead of into the wall, so in essence, it would just be a straight rail.
 

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Talking Head
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Seriously guys, can we just agree to start sketching stuff on napkins and posting a pic. My brain in going to unravel trying to figure some of these descriptions.

If the 90 degree return will leave the handrail short, can you do a J return so you run the handrail long, do a return and then another return to bring it back to the wall. Like it was going to reverse and go down another flight.

Or just run it a bit long and throw a volute on it.
 

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Seriously guys, can we just agree to start sketching stuff on napkins and posting a pic. My brain in going to unravel trying to figure some of these descriptions.

If the 90 degree return will leave the handrail short, can you do a J return so you run the handrail long, do a return and then another return to bring it back to the wall. Like it was going to reverse and go down another flight.

Or just run it a bit long and throw a volute on it.
Close enough?..........
Robbie wall mnt rail on napkin.jpg
 

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Hand rail question

I would return it to wall as it should be. I do a 22 on long piece with a 22 return which looks much better. Leaving it flooping in the wind can be a hazard especially if it extends past wall. Ditto what Ethan said about layout/pics.
 

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hand rail question

Thanks raiman. This ol tech challenged geezer needs all the help he can get. Learning though with 3 new grandkids. As mentioned before did a lot of work in your Mount Adam area starting out with my granddad. Sorry to jack thread but was taken back there a moment.
 

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i think this was mentioned already, but the reason to have a handrail return to the wall/post/floor is so that people don't get clothes caught on the rail and then trip and smash up their dentures or whatever.

some building codes and accessibility guidelines also recommend the rail comes out up to a foot so that people can reach out and grab the rail before lifting a step. i've also seen people stagger the brackets supporting the rail so that the bracket lines up with the edge of the tread. the idea is that when you climb stairs your hand and leading foot are in the same plane (in the middle of the tread), and keeping the brackets away from that area is desirable. i'm not sure how i feel about that one, though.
 
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