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Installing a 'safety' railing

Posted by sammy (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 27, 10 at 9:30

We have a pull down stairway to our attic. When we reach the top of the stairs, there is nothing to grab as we make the final step to the floor.

Also at the side of the stairs there is no railing to keep a person from falling from the side.

I would like to install a grab bar at the top of the stairs, and put up a railing (emergency railing) at the side.

We can see the water pipes. If we were to get a meter to see if there is electricity in that area, can you think of any reason why we could not bolt those items to the floor rather than to call a carpenter?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

Bessler makes folddown stairs with railings. They will give you an idea how to add rails to your stairs. How the stair folds up will determine whether or not rails can be added.

At the top, bathtub safety grab bars would work fine. The grab bars should be solidly connected to the ceiling joists. Or better yet, to framing that's attached between the joists. If your attic has trusses, do not connect anything to them.

RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

What do the water pipes have to do with this?

RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

I think the OP is concerned about damaging water pipes or wiring in the attic.

RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

Only this last post reached my email.
I see the water pipes, so know that they are not underneath where we will install the support, and should not puncture them.

Worthy, we are not going to touch the stairs themselves, but will put a small support on the floor of the attic. THat way if someone is lifting something and gets turned around, he/she won't lose footing and fall down the stairs from the side.

We would actually like to just put both supports into the floor, but need to be sure it will hold.

I think we cannot bolt anything to the ceiling because it is fiber board or something that I could easily punch through.

I think the bathroom bar is a good idea, and possibly there will be directions as to what to bolt it with.

Now that I read this I am not sure the question is one that can be answered easily. I really want to know if electric wires would be running under the floor, but I guess you cannot tell me that.


RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

I really want to know if electric wires would be running under the floor,

Attic wiring may well run across the tops of the ceiling joists and be buried by insulation. So yes care has to be taken not to damage the wire.

Only bolt through solid dimensional lumber--2x4s etc.

Pics would help.


I have taken the pictures and will post them tomorrow in a new thread. Thanks for you suggestions. Pictures are better than words sometimes.

RE: Installing a 'safety' railing

If you buy a good ladder system it should have the features you want in addition to being a lot stronger and more reliable than what builders normally install. If you are not a carpenter trying to modify an existing ladder might make it less safe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rainbow ladders

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