Stair Railing Posts Go Through Subfloor

Question Icon
Posted by: from Peterborough
3/11/2013 at 12:34:53 PM

We are replacing carpet with hardwood in our hallway. When we tore out the carpet we found that the metal stair railing posts went right through the plywood subfloor (a seemingly drilled square hole?) with no post or any attachment in the floor. They are held in place by the hole they're in. There's no bottom rail. Along the top, they are screwed into the handrail and covered with a flexible plastic strip.

Is this a common installation for these 1960s-70s metal railings?

We're trying to figure out a way to keep them and attach them to the hardwood.

stair railing posts go through subfloor
User Icon
Date/Time3/11/2013 at 1:41:41 PM

I just drill a 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch hole in the hardwood, (assuming they are 1/2" square), and then square the hole off with a chisel. Then just set them into the hardwood.

User Icon
Leo from Your Handyman in Milton
Date/Time3/11/2013 at 1:53:39 PM

I think the best way of doing it, would be to remove the railings, install a bullnose - same thickness as the hardwood - and re-install the railing. If you are lucky, you might find it the same colour as your floor, ask the people where you are buying your floor. If you r not so lucky, u can stain it the same or almost the same colour as your floor.

This may also be a good time to install newer, more modern looking rails.

User Icon
Mark in Cambridge
Date/Time3/11/2013 at 2:25:06 PM

Yes I agree with Leo.

Remove plastic, cover over railing, unscrew railing. Check and how it will effect the raining height to raise it 3/4" or embed it down through hardwood flooring. Install new bull nosing and floor up to it.

Best to find a professional paint place to match stain if you can't find pre finished bull nosing off the shelf.

Mark Geier


Cambridge, ON

User Icon
Date/Time3/11/2013 at 2:35:18 PM

This is a very common way of installing railings in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

What you could do is very carefully measure out the location of each packet where goes through the subfloor. Then remove the entire railing system numbering the pieces so you can put them back in exactly the same place. Install your hardwood floor than redrill the holes where the pickets were using a half-inch forstner bit ( using this type of bit will allow you to drill a hole without splinters) use a very sharp half inch chisel to square up the holes. Then carefully insert the pickets.

I have used this method on numerous occasions over the years works okay for me.

User Icon
David from Chetco Homes in Fort Erie
Date/Time3/11/2013 at 2:36:34 PM

Maybe I can help. This is how it is still dun in some cases. You have a cupple of choices. One, remove the railing and put down a oak plate that runs the length of the railing. Before you put it down you have to use a square to mark the hole so you can drill though the oak. The old picked should just pull out after you remove the handrail top.

The other way would be to have a railing made with a bottom bar out of your old railing. You could also cut oak blocks to fit between each picket.

Have fun.


User Icon
S. in Newmarket
Date/Time4/2/2013 at 12:04:36 PM

Have you figured out how they are attached beneath the subfloor?

I'm having a similar issue with my stairs. I would like to remove the railing but the posts seem to be embedded in the step. I don't really want to replace the treads but would be willing to fill in the hole and stain over.

I thought removing the flexible plastic strip on the handrail would make it look nicer but didn't realize there would be large screws showing. Not quite the wrought iron look I was going for, so now I'm thinking I'll just remove the whole thing and put a nice wooden hand rail on the opposite wall.

Stair Railing Posts Go Through Subfloor

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get Free Estimates

Post your project and compare offers from top-rated pros.