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Square Feet

Bannister - diy construction

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Hi - I am currently renovating an old cottage.  The loft was converted at some time in the past and stairs put in.  The opening for the stairs is just a slot taken out of the floor above.  The previous owners had built a ply stud wall around this instead of a bannister.  I have removed this wall which makes the space seem much bigger.  Now I need to put some sort of bannister around the hole to stop people falling down it.

 

I had hoped to pick something up on eBay, but after several months of patient searching I have found nothing.  Buying something in would be too expensive, so I am looking at putting something together myself.  I have seen some metal rods that I could use at the appropriate spacing, and was thinking of fitting them together with CLS.  I wondered if anyone here has any better ideas.

 

Has anyone made something themselves like this and if so how did you hold it all together and how sturdy was it?  The property is going to be sold so longevity is less of an issue for me than the surveyor being ok with it, but obviously I don't want it to collapse and hurt someone.  Cost is also a big issue - I need a cheap solution!  

 

Cheers

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If you have a router then CLS can be used for most things - make it L shaped so it is stronger and just route the edges etc. Make sure any rods or spindles are less than 100mm apart. Square profile spindles can be bought for less than £2 each so shop around

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Thanks for that. Yes, that was my idea too.

 

Nobody ever done that sort of thing then?

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When I did something very similar on my old workman’s cottage ten years ago, the problem I had was to make the ‘loose’ end of the banisters strong enough to be leaned on. The problem was that just attachment to the floor was not adequate, and tbh I did not know how to do it properly so I improvised.

 

I created a floor to ceiling composite newel post, then filled in with a banister and decking, all from inexpensive sources. The newel was bolted or screwed to joists above and below, half over the hole and half over the floor to both attach to the joists and support the banister. I have attached a sketch and detail below that you are welcome to steal from.

 

The components were:

 

- 2x4 PSE timber, varnished.

- Wickes DeckRail insert https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Straight-Deck-Rail-Insert---Black-914-x-270mm/p/154466

- Banister handrail like this but hardwood (decking handrails were too rough) https://stairpartsdirect.co.uk/range/handrail-with-infill-70-x-50mm/

 

Total cost Then was well under £80 iirc. It has been rented out since then and remains solid.

 

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Not especially elegant but it is a 1850 farm cottage that was just built cheaply so solid and practical is in keeping.

 

ferdinand

Edited by Ferdinand
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Thanks Ferdinand, - only just seen your reply.  That is very helpful.  Yes my concern was also about how to make the 'free' end of the bannister stable enough for folk to be able to hang onto it as they went up or down stairs.  In this case I have two such ends - one either side - so I need a good solution.  I have just finished doing the ceiling so I can't attach to there now, but can still go through the floor to screw to a joist.  I'm just a bit worried in case it isn't strong enough for the surveyor to sign off on though. 

Thanks too for the shopping list.

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29 minutes ago, Square Feet said:

Thanks Ferdinand, - only just seen your reply.  That is very helpful.  Yes my concern was also about how to make the 'free' end of the bannister stable enough for folk to be able to hang onto it as they went up or down stairs.  In this case I have two such ends - one either side - so I need a good solution.  I have just finished doing the ceiling so I can't attach to there now, but can still go through the floor to screw to a joist.  I'm just a bit worried in case it isn't strong enough for the surveyor to sign off on though. 

Thanks too for the shopping list.

 

I do not see that cutting a hole in PB is too difficult, but you know your room.

 

But there is nothing stopping you using a mortise and tenon joint.

 

Fix a 2x2x4 inch section of timber to your ceiling joist through the pb, then route or chisel out a 1x1x4 piece from each of your 2  halves of newel post.

 

Fit the newel around the timber on the ceiling, then glue, and screw horizontally from both sides just below the ceiling, or bolt through.

 

If you are only fixing from below then vertically well spaced out attach points are important, as the torque of someone leaning on it across the line of the bannisters is the one with the large load and long lever and no racking strength in resistance, which is provided the other way by the length and grid of the banisters. Perhaps consider triangulating it that way if you can, using for example triangular brackets at the corners.

 

Ferdinand

 

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Thanks again Ferdinand. The ceiling is t&g cladding and I don't want to hack into it.  I also think that two floor to ceiling posts in the middle of the room would completely ruin the aesthetic if I am honest!

Yes, will try a belt and braces approach for the newels.  

ETA: The whole thing is going to be U shaped so hopefully it will derive some strength from the 90 deg joints.

Cheers

Edited by Square Feet

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Ok - I am in the middle of building this now - one quick and admittedly lazy question - does anyone know offhand what the rules are for placement of the newel posts in relation to the top tread of the stairs?

Cheers

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Thanks to everyone who helped me with this. It has been a while now but I forgot to come back and post photos of how it turned out.  In the end I used CLS and for the top and bottom rails and routered out a channel in these to fit the spacer moulding I had found.  The newel posts were just a big chunk of timber from a diy shed (67x72mm I think).  The spindles were £40 from eBay. The CLS and newels were about £17 I think and the spacer moulding about £16.  It was all pretty stable in the end and passed the survey no trouble.

 

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Looks really tidy !! Thanks for sharing the final pics.

 

Got any more of the cottage..?

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@Square Feet - Impressive! - out of interest, what is the ceiling height?

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I can't remember!  A couple of metres maybe? It's been sold now so I can't check.  The attic room wasn't classed as a bedroom because the stair was too steep anyway, so it wasn't really a consideration.

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23 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Looks really tidy !! Thanks for sharing the final pics.

 

Got any more of the cottage..?

Sure... it was sold at the beginning of the year though!71590029_10218695108665035_983716457617555456_o.thumb.jpg.c75a793f75f81bebaa52a1fba9ec7dfc.jpg

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