3 x 6 Leaning Handrail Safety Problem

The biggest problem with this design is that there isn't enough horizontal support provided by the two lag bolts that are too close together and a practically useless light-duty L bracket that's attached to the concrete.

I really don't have an easy and inexpensive solution to fix this problem. It takes us back to putting a little more thought into the original design and now that you have the information, don't let it go to waste.

This is a big problem with construction workers who think they have a pretty good grasp on building and just seem to build as they go, instead of starting out with a good solid plan that has been worked out on a piece of paper or in the mind of someone with experience building stairs.

The handrail support post would be a little stronger if these bolts were spaced a little farther apart vertically.

Add to the fact that the support post is already starting to crack, doesn't seem to help matters either.

Last but not least, the lag screws shouldn't have been counter sunk into the post as far as they have them. This reduces the strength of the support posts considerably.


incorrect lag bolt spacing on wood newel post

maximum spaced lag bolts for maximum strength

I'm not about to suggest that this light duty L bracket isn't doing anything, but a thicker heavy-duty bracket with a different design, could provide you with more horizontal support.

About the only solution I have for this problem, would be to remove a section of the concrete and pour a new footing with a heavy-duty metal pole or another type of material firmly entrenched in it that would straighten and strengthen the wood post and prevent it from moving, by attaching it to it.

non supported wood newel post without foundation

Here's a side view of the existing stairway without a concrete footing or any other type of wood post support. If I was going to build a new stairway with this type of handrail, I would definitely plan on installing some type of metal support post system.

supported wood newel post with concrete footing

Here is a side view of the wood newel post, with a structural support post and concrete footing.

There is one more thing I think you should consider and that would be the fact that the structural metal support post could go on either four sides of the wood post or could actually go in the center. This would require you to cut the post in half an cut out the center of the wood newel post, in order to fasten it around the metal post.

I'm just thinking outside the box here, there are other ways you can strengthen this handrail, but it will require you to do some more research.