Stair Building Ideas For Design And Construction

Handrail Backing - Staircase And House Framing

Handrail backing is used to provide additional support for any part that needs to attach to a stairway. A good example of this would be the picture below, where I installed a 2 x 8 behind the stairway riser to provide the newel post with additional support.

Handrail Backing Problems: One of the biggest problems I could think of, when it comes to the installation of handrail backing, is the lack of it. Most stairways are built and finished by two different carpenters.

Carpenter number one installs the stair stringers, walls, treads and risers. This is what I used to do, when I worked on new homes. It was my job to frame and build the stairway, but it was another carpenters job, to finish it.

I can only think of a few times when the finish carpenter contacted me or the job site foreman to provide them with additional handrail backing. Usually this wasn't the case, I would do my job and then they would do theirs.

If you're building a custom home, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have your finish carpenter, visit the job site, after the stairway is built, but not covered up with drywall, stucco or siding. They could always install their own handrail backing or provide the framing carpenter's with the ideal location.

Whatever you do, don't force the handrail carpenter to visit the job site. Some finish carpenters will remove the treads and risers and install their own backing if necessary. They're used to it and most of them have been doing it for years.


Stairs / Stair Glossary

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