How do I put in hand rail for outside cement steps?

Grandma 3
by Grandma 3

There are 2 steps to get up to front porch to get in my front door. Older people need a rail to hold onto to get up the 2 steps.

  4 answers
  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 15, 2019

    Without a picture,

    If the only thing you have to fasten into is the concrete, then you’re going to have to buy an appropriately-sized masonry drill bit and two part epoxy for some anchor bolts/screws.

    There are many kinds of “kits of parts” for handrails and you can “stick build” one yourself,

    but the handrail itself must be 34” Above the finished floor, must be able to withhold a 200 lb point load and be no larger than 2” in diameter. (I’ll check that diameter)

    Personally, I would take 48” long treated lumber 4x4’s and mount them to the sides of the concrete steps (using the above noted info w/ washers) assuming that the steps are not hollow and at least 4” thick.

    I would use one at the top and one at the bottom, assuming there are only two steps, as you wrote.

    Then I’d buy an exterior grade handrail from one of the kits at a big DIY store and the brackets to mount it to the face of the 4x4’s.

    To improve the aesthetics of the assembly, I would make a “sideways” balustrade on the back side of the 4x’s- which will stiffen up the assembly, as well.

    This sideways balustrade would be cedar 2x2’s. You can stain or paint it all after the treated lumber dries out.

  • Deb Polson Deb Polson on Mar 15, 2019

    You might consider putting in wood posts and hold them with cement in the hole. Posts like those used for a fence or a deck. Then add the hand rail.

  • Dwp7470b Dwp7470b on Mar 16, 2019

    This relies on how much you want to spend and room you have.

    If you go Wood, expect it to last 10 years at best, crack, splinter and be in need of Rustoleum Paint too every 3 years.

    When you go heavy guage steel it is there for life and beyond.


    There is a Big difference between: Guide Rail and Cane.

    For elderly use, I'd go with Heavy Guage Steel: Vintage, 1950s.

    Why? The Elderly tend to lean on it like a cane rather than use as a Guide. Older they get the more flimsy a flimsy steel will get and seem. Junk prones to cracking. Vintage 1950s rails, qualifies as Hospital Supply and Medical Grade.


    To install these your best bet is just Expand the Stairs 8 inches, and Place, Bolt, Pour, Set, Align.

    If you haven't the room, same Dimension applies, you tear out 8 inches or Drill out enough of the pre-existent stairs to create a Groove for the Base and Place, Bolt, Align, Pour, Set.

    They are Two Entirely different Jobs.

    A Professional rarely: Attaches a Rail rather than Assembles the Rail, to Pour a Quality Cement over it.

    How to determine a Good Kit from Garbage

    Good Kits always weigh more than you do.

    You can buy these from a Foundry Direct, if you cannot find a vintage set online.

    As Shipping 500 lbs to a ton of steel is a large expense, you either:

    A. Find an online foundry that ships by Freight.

    B. Find a nearby foundry and call friends for help.

    Does it Move or Wiggle?

    Not easily. Even from the foundry to the truck is a Chore that alike moving an Old Steel Radiator requires leverage and a crow bar.

    You take along help even if you're Hercules.

    You put them in the truck piece by 50 to 150 lb piece.

    How much do these Cost?

    Cost really relies length and foundry. $1200 to $32000.

    Pieces determine the price, and are between 5 piece to 20 piece.

    Even knowing nothing at all, the men in the foundry will and have instructions handy and guide you to pairing up all the right parts.

    What does Place, Bolt, Pour, Set, Align Mean?

    At that stage you even budge it to your truck, you can fully understand all key elements to fully comprehending: Place, Bolt, Pour, Set, Align.

    It's Heavy. You don't want to do this twice.

    So you Read and follow the instructions for installation.

    These Usually on Heavy Guage Steel entail a variation of the following:

    Project A: Expand the Steps 8 inches

    1. You never Fasten the Rail to Wet Concrete as it will shift and Sink. It weighs too much. However because it indeed is immovable by Tornado, Any Cement above 5 inches is a mere Decoration. Though almost as Sturdy without Cement as it is With Cement, because you do Not want one of these heavy Steel rails falling on a Child, yourself or the elderly, you need at least 8 cubic inches of Cement per post.

    2. As 20 posts need a Cubic Yard of Cement, you multiply posts by 1/20 and that will Always yeild enough Cement.

    It may seem like much but: You do not want to do this twice in your lifetime.

    3. You need to place and fasten the Supports onto the Steel Rod Support that comes with a Vintage Kit and Fasten the posts to that Rod, not to the Pre-existent Steps. Because the foundry men know what these are doing the Holes for the Bolts in the Rod are always aligned with any properly poured steps. So you may need to give the foundry a Measurement of the Steps 6", 7", 8" or 10"

    4. Pour is around and at least 3 inches above the Base Rod.

    5. As it sets, depending on climate, you may need to level it 3 to 7 times. Usually Risers allow you do avoid this but in Project A you do not Absolutely Need Risers.

    You will need to 'check on it' until the cement is hardened enough to keep it Aligned by itself.

    You do not want it Moving or Wiggling as it dries.

    This is because if you could x-ray what is happening inside the cement you would see that the Base is resting inside a Groove inside the cement. The Design of the entire itself is designed to make that groove inside, whether you pour in Phases or Pour in bulk.

    Project B: No Stairway Expanse

    By that x-ray vision in A.5, imagined, you understand also how the other means of installing without expanse to Stairs

    (when you Chisel out a Small portion rather than expand 8 inches), yet entails that you still need to make that Groove that the base must rest in by pouring 3 inches of Cement beneath the Rod.

    This means that the Parts Differ for Project A than B. The Reason they do differ is you need extra Risers for B which are like Upside Down Bolts with 4 to 8 Tiny Toes and those screw into the Base to Rise it usually 1.75 to 3.5 inches.

    If you do go that route realize: You Do NOT tear out Entire Steps because: You will never find a 60 Inch Riser. You tear out maximally 4 inches deep of each Step and Adjust the Risers rather than Bust Your Knuckles.

  • Susan Ellis Yamakawa Susan Ellis Yamakawa on Mar 16, 2019

    I would consider a ramp