How to Build Wood Stair Railing

Lead Image
  • 5-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-800
What You'll Need
Nail gun
2x4 plank
Lag screw
Lag shield
Wood glue
Railing posts
Carriage bolts
Measuring tape
Carpenters level
Nuts and washers
Carpenters pencil

You may find it quite complex to build wood stair railing all by yourself. For this reason, it is recommended you have some background knowledge about carpentry first before you start doing this project. Even though the work may be difficult, the wood stair railing will look fantastic after you finish building it. You can find all the equipment and tools required for the job at a home improvement store.

Step 1 - Start the Building Job

Put a railing post on the last step of your staircase and mark its base with a pencil. Cut out a hole with the jigsaw blade and insert the post in that hole. In order to fix the post securely in place, use the drill to make a couple of countersink holes, one above the other. You must also drill a few other holes in the countersink holes in the staircase and the post. Put a carriage bolt in each one of the holes, and fix each bolt securely with a nut and a washer.

Step 2 - Take the Measurements

Fasten a clamp to the 2 x 4 plank and attach the measuring tape to the carpenter’s level in order to calculate the distance between the second stair and the wooden railing. Use some other clamps to hold the railing from its end (from the wall or the ceiling) and make sure the height of the railing is the same in both the last and the second steps. Mark the places with the pencil and then mark a line over the railing post.

It is a much better idea if you use the bottom edge of the 2x4 plank as a guideline so you will cut the post in such a way that it will perfectly fit into the wooden railing. Make sure all railing posts are cut according to the height and angle shown by the line you have just drawn with the carpenter’s pencil.

Step 3 - Join the Post and the Railing

unfinished attic

Cut a tab on the upper surface of the railing post. First, mark a line and check that the groove’s height is about one-third of an inch deep. Follow the line and cut with the handsaw. In this way, the tab will be as wide as the groove. Use a router to fit the tabs on the lower side of the wooden railing.

Step 4 - Fix the Wood Stair Railing

Fix the railing in place by following the lines you marked before. Cut a hole with the drill at the railing’s end and fill it with a lag shield. Put a lag screw and a washer in the hole to fix the railing firmly in place.

Step 5 - Place the Balusters

Attach the railing on top of the posts with wood glue. Use a nail gun to make sure everything is secure. Place two balusters on each step and fix them in place with wood glue and nails.