By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services
Do It Yourself or Not?
5:30 AM EST, December 17, 2012
A basement stairway has been the scene of many accidents where there was nothing to hang onto. And so has a wide-open or steep stairway where there's no railing for support on the opposite wall. Whichever direction you going, a stair railing ensures safe footing and passage up or down a stairway.
A carpenter will charge $61 to install a standard 10-foot-long hardwood handrail in a straight staircase using brass rail brackets fastened to the wall. This includes the material and labor. You can buy the materials for $40 and do it yourself, assuming you have carpentry skills and tools. You'll need a stud finder to locate the brackets, a carpenter's level to lay out the rail's position on the wall, an electric drill to install the brackets, and a miter saw if the rail requires cutting.
It's a good idea to talk to the building department where you live to ask about specific requirements for handrails. Most of them specify how long and at what height they should be located on a wall. A rail that's designed to extend beyond the bottom and top stairs will make it easier to use because there's more of it to grasp.
To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.
Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved
$61 -- $40 -- 1.8 -- 3.5 -- $21 -- 34 Percent
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