remodeling to acommodate an elderly loved oneremodeling to acommodate an elderly loved one

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remodeling to acommodate an elderly loved one

When I invited my mother to come and live with my family, we had to make some changes to accommodate her. The changes that needed to be made were all within reason and were all required so that she could get around with her walker and eventually a wheelchair if need be. I hired a remodeling contractor to assist us with making the changes. I learned a lot while discussing what needed to be done and what it would take to get it complete. I created this blog with the hopes of helping other families that are considering making the same changes in their homes.

How To Install A New Handrail Inside Your Home

If your current handrail has become broken, you can install a new handrail on your own. Here is what you are going to need to do in order to correctly install a new handrail.

#1 Take Measurements

The first thing you are going to need to do is take measurements of your railing. You are going to want to measure from the top of your landing to where your stairs meet the floor at the end of the landing. Then you are going to want to add a couple feet to your measurement. Having your new handrail extend past your staircase is an extra safety measure that will keep you and your family safe and ensure that your new railing meets building code standards. It will allow you to grasp onto the railing longer as you descend and ascend your stairs; this can be particularly helpful if you have children or elderly individuals whose balance is not as established or can be a little compromised using your railing.

#2 Mark Stud & Railing Height

Next, you need to mark the stud and railing height. You want to make sure that your rails are securely anchored in the wood framing that is behind the drywall in your home. Look at where your former railing was located; the nail marks should line up with where the studs are. You can also use a stud finder to figure out where the studs are in your home. You run it along your wall and it beeps when it detects studs in your wall. Use tape to mark where every stud is at on the wall where your railing will be going.

You are also going to want to mark the railing height. Generally, most building codes require that your railing height be right around 36 inches from the top of the nearest step to the top of the handrail, although the exact height can vary from based on location and the type of building the railing is in. 

#3 Purchase & Cut Rail To Size

Third, you need to decide what type of handrail you want to purchase. Make sure that the handrail that you purchase meets local building code regulations. You also want to make sure that the railing fits with the décor of your home; it is common to purchase the same type of wood in your railing that you use in the rest of your staircase or throughout your home.

Oak railing tends to be on the more expensive side, with poplar and pine being more affordable wood railing options.

You may not be able to purchase a railing that has the exact measurements for your home. If the railing is too long, you can always cut it down to size. The best way to cut it down to size effectively and smoothly would be by using a circular saw or small cordless saw.

When you cut the rail, make sure that you also cut or fit the end of the railing. If you want it smooth, this is a good time to sand it down, or if you want to change the angle of the end of the railing, now is a good time to do so.

#4 Purchase Handrail Brackets

When you purchase the handrail, you will also need to purchase handrail brackets. Handrail brackets are generally sold in sets of two. You are going to need a handrail bracket at both the top and bottom of your railing, and one for about every other stud between the top and bottom of your railing.

#5 Position & Mount Railing

Now you need to use your measurements to put the handrail brackets in place. You are going to want to secure the handrail brackets at 36 inches and make sure that they are secured in a stud. They should come with screws; you will need to use your drill to attach them to the wall.

Once you have attached the handrail brackets to the wall, you are going to want to then attach the rail to the handrail brackets, which will then secure your handrail to the wall. It is best to place the brackets at the top and bottom first and then work on the bracket in the middle. Use a lever when you install the railing to make sure that the angle is the same throughout the rail.

This job will go much more smoothly if you have someone assist you with the process. Consider enlisting the help of your partner or a friend for this project. For help choosing the right railing, talk with a supplier like Finelli Architechtural Iron & Stairs.