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Artisan Carpentry
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Locating rail brackets for stair rails is easy to mess up. If you measure up and your tape is not plumb or your tape is not at the same spot on the nosing, the rail may not end up parallel to the stair nosings.

One easy way to get a rail height of about 36" is to use a framing square for the layout. Put the tongue of the square on the tread nosings... the top of the blade of the square is the bottom of the brackets (though brackets and rails do vary some and that has to be taken into account).

I mark the top of the square in three places and snap a chalkline over these marks, then locate studs on the line, and set the bottom of the brackets on the line (the pic shows a bracket just above where the line would be--learned this trick after I installed this rail).

Anyway, thought some of you might like another use for the framing square.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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I use a level with a mark on it, I do it three places also, wood is never straight.
 

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Artisan Carpentry
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why 3 places and not just top and bottom Bass? I have used this trick too but only make 2 marks.
I just use the third mark as a test. If all three marks aren't on the line something is messed up... I usually put rails on stairs that someone else framed... I've seen some funky stuff... am I sounding paranoid? :blink:
 

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Super Moderator
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So if your stair treads aren't truly straight, the railing will have the same bow as the stairs?? Am I missing something here?
 

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I got ya now Bass. Guess you could just sight the stair treads with your eye or use a long straight edge. I don't think I have ever done a rail on stairs that I didn't also frame. Then again, I frame 95%,trim 5%
 

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The Deck Guy
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I put a piece of blue tape on my level, mark the bottom hole height on the tape and then plumb up twice (once from the bottom tread and once from the top tread. Snap a line and then locate the studs.

Same concept I suppose.
 

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Artisan Carpentry
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got ya now Bass. Guess you could just sight the stair treads with your eye or use a long straight edge. I don't think I have ever done a rail on stairs that I didn't also frame. Then again, I frame 95%,trim 5%
I also figure that two points can be off somehow (pulled off of wrong stray pencil mark or the chalk line could sag, etc.)... introduce a third point and it can tell you if you messed up or someone else (framer :laughing:) did.
 

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Artisan Carpentry
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I put a piece of blue tape on my level, mark the bottom hole height on the tape and then plumb up twice (once from the bottom tread and once from the top tread. Snap a line and then locate the studs.

Same concept I suppose.
I also have a 3' level with a 36" rule on it... handy for rail work.
 

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Curmudgeon
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I use the level, and blue tape on the wall,
snap with the white chalk box, but
I'll give the square a try. :thumbsup:
Three points though?
At that stage, there are some things
I don't want to know.
Ya know? :laughing:
 

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chief pencil holder
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Good lord ppl....

Here is how you set a wall rail bracket, the bottom mark matches with the bottom hole on a wall rail bracket to set the top of the rail at 36" With the brackets I use, plum up from the nose, make a mark, go up a couple treads repeat, and put your bracket on, the other marks are for checking rail heights on the rake for fittings and such.
 

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Good lord ppl....

Here is how you set a wall rail bracket, the bottom mark matches with the bottom hole on a wall rail bracket to set the top of the rail at 36" With the brackets I use, plum up from the nose, make a mark, go up a couple treads repeat, and put your bracket on, the other marks are for checking rail heights on the rake for fittings and such.
I use the same method and mark it three times and check it with a laser line level. Shoot the mark across the first and middle mark, and make sure it is crossing the third also....no reason to make it hard on the painters by chalking a line.
 

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I taught my guys to use a square, in a similar fashion to Bass.

Personally, I just need a tape, hammer, small nail set, & screw gun.

Find studs, set the top, & bott brkt, then fasten rail, then fasten center braket to rail only. Then sight rail to see how it needs to be adjusted. Fasten center bracket to wall accordingly.

For the painters sake, I'm not a big fan of putting chalk lines on walls that can't be covered up by trim.

I learned a long time ago that it's more important to know how your going to do something, than how you do it.
In essecnce...whatever floats your boat!
Joe
 

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one way I do it is to put end of tape on nose at an angle, pencil at desired height on wall and mark an arc on the wall keeping the tape butted to the nose. so as you move the tape in a sweeping motion you get an arc on the wall. do it in 3 places and then pop a line across the tops of the 3 arcs.

using a framing square looks easier though, may be time to change
 
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