Removable Stair railing? Pics coming soon.

vdinliDecember 28, 2011

We would like to install a removable stair railing(with balusters) on the open side of our basement stairs. The other side is flush against the foundation wall. Any ideas on how to make the railing removable and sturdy at the same time?

The stairs are narrow(only 32") and we definitely need the open space to move big items . The contractor we are using wants to make a frame to go between the stair skirt and ceiling and have spindles in between the frame. The spindles would be at least 5' at the bottom end. I am afraid that will look very dated and would prefer a railing with balusters. Contractor insists that would not work in our situation. Any compromises that can be worked out? I am yet to speak to his "stair person". I would appreciate any ideas that you could give me to talk over with the stair guy.

I will upload some pics soon that will show the area.

Thanks in advance


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Here's the pic of the staircase-excuse the mid remodel mess, please!

I think this is what our contractor is proposing-In our case, the spindles will be screwed into a frame that will be attached to the ceiling at the top and angled drywall at the bottom. Doesn't it look dated? We had something similar which we threw out but there were only 4 spindles and that won't pass code now.


This is one example of a removable railing I found on google- Will this kind of setup work with shorter balusters so we can get more of an open feel?

Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 12:12AM
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Woodway products makes a prefabricated adjustable guard/handrail that might be easy to remove.

What looks dated is wrapping stair tread ends with carpet. I would add finished wood tread ends and expose them. A skirt board would be a less attractive alternative.

Here is a link that might be useful: EZ RAIL

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 8:57AM
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Thanks for the link, Renovator. It will simplifies things for a standard installation but I am not sure it will work in our situation. If I understand this correctly, the rails on the EZ rail can be trimmed down to size(horizontally) to fit the opening but the baluster height remains the same. In our case, the balusters need to be of varying height as they will die into the ceiling. Am I missing something? I will check with the stair guy in any case.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:28AM
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I see this situation all the time when homeowners finish their basements but retain the ancient steeply-sloped staircases as if they're sacrosanct.

It doesn't look too late to consider replacing those stairs with a new one with a landing and a turn as you originally considered.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Thanks for weighing in, worthy. I really wanted to replace the stairs with one that had a landing and a turn. But the three contractors and two architects we seriously considered for the project said that can't be done till the very last step because there has to be a minimum height at the landing and some structural element (forget exactly what) in the ceiling cannot be moved without major changes upstairs. The other issue was if we replace the stairs, we will have to make the treads 36" wide to meet code and that would again involve changes upstairs. So for now, we decided to leave the stairs as is.

As for my question about the stair railing, the contractor's guy will build a removable frame with balusters like my last pic.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 12:05AM
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For able-bodied people, good handrails on both sides of the stair and good lighting are often as effective for safe use than code compliant riser, tread and width dimensions.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 11:25AM
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