Approximately How Much Should It Cost to Install a Stair Railing that has 5 Stairs. Railing Needed Only on One Side

Updated November 24, 2020
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Question by Guest_9409925: Approximately how much should it cost to install a stair railing that has 5 stairs. Railing needed only on one side. there ar 5 stairs and railing is need on one side, wood railing iron balusters

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Answered by LCD: Assuming you mean 5 steps on one flight of stairs, rather than 5 separate stair flights, then you are talking maybe 8-10 feet of installation - typically runs about $40-60/LF for straight runs, more like $50-100/LF for curved depending on if curved in one dimension or two or two plus twisted. That assumes stock commercial balusters - fancy ones can run up to over $100 EACH for just the vertical bars - not counting fancy end posts and rail.

If you are just doing one panel, costs may run higher than that, because it is a small job.

Of course, for normal dimension stairs you can get cheap box store panels that are already assembled and you jsut bolt in place, which can cut your cost.

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FYI - should you need handrails on the stairs also, info follows:

Materials cost can vary widely - from about $10/LF for normal straight wood with brass brackets, to easily double to quadruple that for wrought iron, stainless, glass, etc. or fancy mounting brackets, and of course for curved railings too.

Installation cost probably about $100-150 for a single straight run. ============== Now comes the kicker - in a great many areas, they now require returns at the ends of handrails into the protective railings - curved prices that turn into the supporting posts or walls - and those run about $25-50+ per curved end, and of course add to labor to install quite a bit - so if those are required or desired, can quickly run you up to $500 for a simple flight of stairs. When you talk to a Finish Carpenter about this (maybe Handyman if just straight run is all that is needed), be clear on what you are talking about - you said 5 stairs - did you mean 5 stair flights so 5 separate handrails, or 5 steps on one flight of stairs, so maybe a 10' single railing ? 

Answered by Guest_9409925: Thank You for your response LCD,

There are only 5 steps in total, I figure I need 2 balusters per step, newel post, rail, etc. for one side. I am sorry if I was not clear in my earlier post. I figured it should not cost more than 600 for the entire job, I priced materials at home depot about 200., I am trying not to be taken advantage of, I have gotten some ridiculous guestimates.

Answered by LCD: OK - now that I see what you are talking about, can give a clearer guesstimate, though probably not going to make you any happier.

I would guess $600-1000 complete if you use traditional individual newel posts and balusters mounted in the stair treads, and the bottom corner post in that protruding tread nose at the bottom - like these two pictures -

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or maybe like left swide of this, but in iron and wood of course -

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Unless you find a prefabricated single panel one you like that can be installed as a single unit, I just don't see getting down into the $400-500 range. Whether that bottom rounded out nose is on solid materials or a hollow (likely) rounded out nose at the bottom will make a difference, because obviously the bottom post has to be very solid, as it gets the most sideways force, so it may need to go all the way to floor level if that nose is hollow.

The second cheapest way to do this job, though not necessarily prettiest, would be to put a spacer trim strip of maybe 1x4 or 1x6 or whatever thickness is needed, at floor level or maybe diagonally a couple of feet down from the treads and parallel to the tread slope, with another probably diagonally down the side of the stair stringer just below (and probably cut out for each tread) and both as thick as the treads stick out. Then, mount posts bolted into the side of the stair framing through the trim spacer pieces, with the posts right at the end of the treads, or maybe recessed into the treads or vice versa with a bit more more trouble. This gives easy bolting to the stair framing, and would make for a very rigid railing - like wood deck railings are commonly mounted, fastened to the side of the outermost deck/stair stringer rather than through the top of the treads. This might get you down to the $500 range.

The cheapest way, though not the you want, would probably be to cut off the ends of the treads, and put a raised halfwall next to the stairs with a top railing - from floor to rail as a stud frames drywall halfwall, rather than an open railing.

Since you clearly have a nice looking house and fully finished stairs, you need a high quality Finish Carpenter or better yet professional Stair Speciality contractor for this work, so you don't get a hash job of it. Or do it yourself, measuring three times before drilling or cutting, and ideally doing a full cutout of the stairs on a large flattened cardboard box, then dry assembling the components on that before gettign started with actual drilling and cutting.

Good luck.

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