Hot Topics: Fixing a Wall with a Handrail

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Original post: How To Repair The Wall In Which Stairway Handrail Is Attached

Bekrah Member

I’m looking to repair the area in which the handrail is attached to the wall. The fasteners have become detached from the wall and my concern is that if I plaster the wall and fill in the empty holes, the same thing will eventually reoccur.

Any advice would be appreciated.

A handrail on a tan wall.

A handrail's damage to a tan wall.

Ray2047 Group Moderator

At the very least the fasteners should have been in studs. Even better is to run a 1x6 the entire length, fasten it to the studs and rail on top. That prevents the brackets from digging into the sheetrock.

You can make the 1x6 more decorative by finishing the edges with an ogee bit if you own a router.

Bekrah Member

Can you please explain to me what an ogee and a router are?

Should the 1x6 piece of wood be placed behind the sheetrock? This would take a fair amount of demolition.

Norm201 Member

I like Ray's idea. No, the 1x6 is put on top of the wallboard. Ogee is a decorative molding. You can also use a router to make your own on the 1x6. You can stain or paint the 1x6. Screw the 1x6 to the studs the full length of the stairwell. Then attach the rail to it. You still want to attach the rail supports to where the studs are located. I had a similar situation. I relocated my rail brackets and used lag screws that were long enough to go into the studs at least 1 inch. Depending on the length, you may want to add two to three more rail brackets.

The only drawback of adding the 1x6 is that it reduces the width of the stairwell opening. This might cause a problem if moving large pieces of furniture up and down the stairs.

Bekrah Member

Well if that’s the case then, it seems as if I can just skip the 1x6 altogether and just try my best to find the studs while adding a few more handrail supports if need be. Finding the studs seems to be the most important factor here, unless I’m missing something.

Marksr Forum Topic Moderator

The handrail brackets should always be screwed into the studs. Make sure the screw is long enough to go through the drywall and into the stud deep enough to be secure.

Bekrah Member

Unfortunately, that’s how the place was built.

I purchased the home about 6 years ago and I’ve noticed the handrail fasteners loosen from the sheetrock in which they were attached. Definitely shotty craftsmanship.

Thank you for the advice.

Wirepuller38 Member

One of these is handy to help you locate the studs:

Tightcoat Member

I would go with the 1X6 or a real lumber molding. Not MDF. If you need to move something through the stairway and it is too narrow, take the rail off temporarily.

Ray2047 Group Moderator

Bottom line is the brackets will eventually gouge out the sheetrock and loosen it even if the screws are in the studs. Heck, the 1x6 only adds 5/8 of an inch. The rail takes up much more room.

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