My son has a split-level home and the upper living room has a wrought iron railing along the stairs. I want to replace it with a walnut railing, but I’m not sure how best to anchor it so it will provide proper support and safety. Any suggestions? – John Blessing
Rob Johnstone: A railing made of solid wood needs to be anchored strongly to the wall at the upper end, and have a solid newel post at the bottom. On the top end, significant threaded fasteners driven into a stud are what I recommend. If you have to plug the holes to hide the fastener, so be it. At the bottom of the rail, I like newel posts that are mounted to blocking that is already firmly attached to the floor.
Tim Inman: There are some very well designed commercial anchoring systems available. Rockler is one source I have used personally.You are right to want a well-anchored installation. The balustrade must be more than an ornament. It is a functional safety system which should be supported by the framing members (joists, headers, stringers, etc.) of the building whenever possible, not the facia or mop boards!