How to Build Pipe Handrails

  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-300
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
1 1/2 inch galvanized steel pipe
Type C-50 Kee Klamp fittings x 2
Type 62 Flange x 2
Concrete anchors x 4
Pipe plugs to fit the pipe diameter x 2
Hammer drill
Concrete drill bit to fit concrete anchors
Rubber mallet
Angle grinder, or pipe cutter, to cut the pipe
Hex wrench

Handrails are a must not only for the safety of senior citizens, but also everyone who uses stairs or ramps because danger of a fall is always present. It is not difficult to make and install your own handrails using only galvanized pipe and a few items available from your local hardware store. Read this article to learn to both make handrails for concrete stairs and understand the basic technique to build handrails for ramps and flat areas.

Step 1 - Measure the Handrail

Mark where you want the posts to go. They need to be 6-inches back from the bottom of the first step and 12-inches past the top step. Write down the height, depth, and the offset (distance between the edge of the step and the post markers.) of the steps. Now you can calculate the amount of pipe and the number fittings that you will need.

The minimum height of the handrail must be 36-inches (more if you're installing in your business office or an area that qualifies as a commercial building). The posts must be the same height at both top and at the bottom. Make sure they are vertical. Measure the distance between the tops of the stakes; it will be the length of the rail pipe. Subtract 2-inches from the length measurement to consider the fittings. Cut the two post pipe pieces 36-inches long.

Step 2 - Install the Flanges

Place the flanges on the post marks which you made on the concrete. Mark the location of the concrete anchors. Drill the holes and place the flanges in place, hammering them with a hammer. Either secure the concrete anchors with the hex wrench, or use the wrench provided with the anchors.

Step 3 - Attach the Posts

Attach the bottom post pipe to the bottom flange and secure it. Attach the top post, but leave it loose. Measure the piece of pipe for your handrail against the posts to be sure of the size; mark it, then cut it to fit. A handrail pipe can go past the posts for more length. In that case, you will have to buy fittings for the top of the posts with a ring to hold the rail. These fittings can also be purchased at any hardware store.

Step 4 - Attach the Fittings

Attach the two Kee Klamp fittings to the posts. They are designed to fit any angle. Assemble the rest of the handrail. Tighten all connections.

Step 5 - Insert the Plugs

Pop the plugs into the ends of the pipes so that it is sealed against water. You may have to tap them in with the mallet. Your rail is finished.