We have handrails!
Handrails are required by code. Generally, building codes are a good idea – they prevent people from housing other people in fleabags and firetraps, for example. But they can be kind of a pain when they are applied to you, because they require you to spend oodles of time on boring tasks, like handrails.
Our inspector told us he wanted handrails on BOTH sides of the exterior stairs, so we needed a lot. We found a huge pile at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma, one of our favorite spots. They look like they came out of some kind of institutional building, maybe even a school, and they even came with brackets. And they were free (thank you so much Heritage Salvage!).
The inside one wasn’t too hard – we were just starting to try and find studs when we remembered that the whole wall was shearwalled. So we just attached it and then I sanded it and painted it tangerine, just for fun and to match my stencil.
The outside ones were a bit more complicated, because the brackets had to hit the posts, and of course they didn’t, so we had to re-space them. But still, it wasn’t as hard as we’d expected – just kind of a boring job.
First, we took the old hardware off (sometimes resorting to a hacksaw). Then, we measured, using one of the existing returns on one end.
Next, we cut the rail at a 45 degree angle, and used that angle to create another return, using glue and screws.
And then we attached it. Two sets of stairs, four sides, four handrails – we finished just at dusk, and we’re one step closer to final inspection.