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Wooden posts into concrete stairs?

SBerruezo's picture

I'm going to be installing a wooden handrail into/alongside a concrete stair.  Very short, just 2-3 steps, so I'm thinking 2 posts(4x4 redwood) will be plenty.  I was sort of hoping I could get away with tapcons/Hilti screws through the posts and into the concrete steps, but figured I should check.  I was hoping to avoid any digging if I could.  I suppose Redheads at also a possiblity if more strength is required. 


Any thoughts from thems who knows more?


 

 

(post #103749, reply #1 of 16)

are you connecting the rails at the top to a solid post /column or will you be only installing two posts along side of the stairs?

(post #103749, reply #2 of 16)

I was sort of hoping I could get away with tapcons/Hilti screws through the posts and into the concrete steps


No way. 


Could you post a picture of the steps (I assume they're existing steps) - it would help if you're looking for design ideas.


"...never charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it, too" - Mark Twain

(post #103749, reply #3 of 16)

Yeah, I was afraid of that.  Yes, they are existing steps, and there is no evidence of any railing ever being there previously. 


To get a picture on here would require me actually learning how to use a computer...I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.  I'll maybe give it a try and hope I don't kill the machine.


 

 

(post #103749, reply #4 of 16)

its not an easy fix - that post will take a lot of pressure, in all directions.  It needs to be very sturdy - anchored in concrete if at all possible.  If not possible, then I'm thinking drill holes in the side of the steps, embed some all-thread in epoxy, and bolt the sucker tight.  If it sets on top of a concrete slab, then do the same for a metal post-base.

"...never charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it, too" - Mark Twain

(post #103749, reply #5 of 16)

It may well be possible to sink the posts in concrete, I was just hoping to avoid digging and undercutting the existing stairway.  I'll head over there tomorrow to see if I can get a couple of pictures and poke around to see if digging is possible.


I don't know how to put pictures on here though; I've never tried. 


Edited 4/13/2007 1:23 am by SBerruezo

 

(post #103749, reply #8 of 16)

Would Redheads work as well as allthread and epoxy? 


 

 

(post #103749, reply #6 of 16)

As others here have already suggested, I think embedding some allthread into the existing concrete with epoxy is the way to go.  Depending on site conditions, you can either (1) insert the allthread horizontally and secure your newels to the side of the concrete steps, or (2) insert the alltread vertically into the top of the existing concrete.  If you take the second approach, you can tighten the newels down using a half-cylinder washer and a nut.  This is a common method with interior stairs and I don't see why it wouldn't work outside as well.


I'm attaching a picture of this type of hardware so you can get a general idea of what I'm talking about.  The pictured hardware uses a "dowel screw" which has machine threads on one end and wood threads on the other.  In your case, of course, you'd use machine threads on both ends (i.e. allthread).

(post #103749, reply #7 of 16)

So it looks like I take out some of the newel with a plunge router, install, then glue in a filler piece?


Horizontal might be easier...Is allthread and epoxy the only way to go for that, or would Redheads be sufficient?


 

 

(post #103749, reply #9 of 16)

So it looks like I take out some of the newel with a plunge router, install, then glue in a filler piece?


The access hole (the one that will be plugged) can just be drilled (I typically use a spade tip or a Forstner bit).  There's no need to set up a jig with a plunge router. 


Horizontal might be easier...Is allthread and epoxy the only way to go for that, or would Redheads be sufficient?


I agree that horizontal would be easier.  But whether that layout will work depends on your site conditions. 


Redhead makes a number of different concrete fasteners -- which ones do you have in mind?  If you're talking about the self-tapping screws or the expansion bolts, then I'd probably try something else.  In my experience, those two general types of fasteners can work, but they can be tempermental.   Epoxy, on the other hand, seems to be a very repeatable, reliable method that works every time.  But if you've had good results with the Redheads you've been using, I don't want to talk you out of them.  Use what you're comfortable with and what's been giving you good results.


 

(post #103749, reply #10 of 16)

Sorry, Redheads here are like Kleenex...brand name for a generic product.  In this case, wedge anchors.


For either allthread or redheads, if I don't wind up digging a hole for concrete (I'll head over in a little bit to check the viability of this--I just hate digging next to things), would 1/2" or 5/8" be adequate?


 

 

(post #103749, reply #11 of 16)

Here are a few pictures(I hope).  I don't know how to resize them if they need to be.  Frankly, I'd be pretty proud if I figured out how to get them on the computer.


They had talked about having the railing on the left side (tree side), since they had been used to using the tree anyway.  Looking at it, that doesn't look like a good idea, because there are no good places to dig, and no way to drill holes into the step.  So now I will be looking at the right side.  I'm also going to go see if there is any access in the crawlspace where I might be able to sink some screws, if for no other reason than positioning.


 

 

(post #103749, reply #13 of 16)

Wedge anchors would work fine, however you might get a cleaner result w/ epoxy and allthread. Sometimes wedge anchors won't bind and you're stuck with a "spinner". Plus the heads sometimes get buggered up and look like hell.

(post #103749, reply #14 of 16)

After going through everything with the HO, they decided to put a railing another entrance, giving me much more room to work with out worrying about killing a tree.  Thanks for the tips, I may see if I can dig up an epoxy gun.  I'm a little wary of the old concrete not holding a wedge anchor securely.

 

 

(post #103749, reply #15 of 16)

they also make an epoxy that works with a standard caulking gun - a little more expensive, but cheaper than buying the double gun for just a few tubes.

"...never charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it, too" - Mark Twain

(post #103749, reply #16 of 16)

Wait...is that a cannabis tree?

Do everything you do to the very best of your ability, or don't bother doing it at all.

Do everything you do to the very best of your ability, or don't bother doing it at all.

(post #103749, reply #12 of 16)

I just did this on a 3 or 4 step concrete porch.  I put the first post about 18" in the ground next to the bottom step, recessed a hole for a wedgebolt into th concrete, tightened it on down plumb, then backfilled with gravel and tamped solid.  On the upper post, at the top of the landing, I let it sit on the ground and bolted it plumb with 3 wedgebolts into the concrete.


Worked fine, but it may loosen with the weather.  The anchors are solid so I'm sure things could just be snugged up. 


Not a 'fine' job on this one, just simple, but you could dress it up and cover the holes for the wedge anchors I would imagine.


It was very solid.