Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 8/13/2017

We would like quotes from front porch handrail installation contractors.

Install a handrail on one side of the concrete steps. We would desire the posts be secured into the adjacent soil and not to the concrete. Handrail would be 4-5 feet long.

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

1 Answer


Search the List under Porch and Deck, or Concrete contractors.

The outside embedment of the posts is unusual - would normally be bolted into the concrete assuming your stairs are legally wide - putting it outside will require a toekick installation or bottom rail within - oh, what is it, 2" (?) of the stairs to prevent a leg from slipping off the edge of the concrete and down between the concrete and railing. This is not required if the railing lies inside then outside edge of the steps/landing.

May also require standoffs from the posts so the railings are not outside the steps - not a big thing but makes this a non-standard installation.

Also - embedment is likely to be at least 3' of concrete and up to 5 feet deep in some soils, so generally involves putting in a fence posthole for each support to provide enough lateral resistance - though if you allow tying into the concrete steps/landing from the side (assuming they are not the real thin prefab ones) that could be reduced a lot in all but the softest soils.

Is there a particular reason not to bolt it into the concrete - if not from the top then maybe from the side at several levels ?

Here is a link to a similar question with answer and on on wrought iron - I would say embedding it in the ground (2-3 holes for 4-5 foot railing) will cost you about $300-500 additional for the foundation.


OK - for some reason I thought you were talking metal handrail - if you mean wood, then much simpler and putting a standoff from the post for the railings is no big thing. For that, using wood (I strongly recommend ground-contact rated treated wood for the posts) either a Porch and Deck contractor or a Carpenter can do it - or for a simple one a Handyman too. Be sure they are meeting code requirements on railing spacing and height and shape/size - the allowable configuration is pretty limited, especially the top handrail in most areas now has to be oval or round shaped in a certain tight size range - the old 2x4 or 2x6 on flat handrails are out in most code areas.

Even if wood, still a good idea to tie to the stairs/landing to eliminate side sway of the railing posts, which will be sticking up out of the ground 3-1/2 to maybe 6 feet or so, so sidesway and wobble instability will be an issue if not tied into the stairs.

Here is a previous question with answer on wood railings:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy