Landscape Construction: Tips for Handrails on Exterior Steps
More tips from hardscaping class! This class was focused on stairs, and here's what the instructor said about handrails.
Where to place the handrail?
If you are pouring new concrete steps, you might be wondering where to put the handrail. Some people set the railing posts directly into the step, but this takes up stair space and the setting compound can crack or might not match. If you ever have to replace the railing, it also might be difficult to get the replacement to look right.
Instead, set the railing into the ground alongside the staircase, or bolt the railing into the side of the steps. This way, changing the railing won't disturb the look of the stair treads.
What shape should the handrail be?
A helpful handrail offers a good grip - consider a square (or round) railing where the users's fingers and palm can wrap all the way around.
One railing or two?
Most guides to installing handrails will tell you to set a railing to the right side of the descent since most people are right-handed and going down steps is more dangerous than going up steps.
If you're designing your staircase from scratch, I suggest setting two railings to flank the stairs. Ability can change, and having a railing to both the right and the left makes your property more accessible as you age or if anyone who uses the property has an injury to their right side.