Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I hired a "professional" painting crew to paint the stairs area, where the crew installed new brackets for the handrail. Unfortunately I did not supervise the work myself. I recently noticed that I have two problems:

  1. The screws for one bracket are not going into a stud! I think the bracket was attached to the plaster.
  2. The top two holes are stripped where the screw will spin freely. I believe that those two screws do not touch the lath board that is behind the plaster.

How should I fix the stripped hole in the plasterboard? Every time I am removing the screws all three holes get slightly larger as a bit of the plaster comes out too.

Should I start using plastic anchors? I'd like to re-use the three #10 1 1/2" screws that came with the brackets if possible.

By the way my house was built in the 1950s.

enter image description here

share|improve this question
3  
I'd just do a standard plaster repair to cover the holes, then move the handrail anchor to where it can screw into a stud. Stairway handrails are a safety feature, and you don't want one to pull out of the wall when someone stumbles on a stair and grabs the railing to catch themselves. A handrail needs to support a 200 lb load in all directions. – Johnny Jan 10 at 0:51
    
@Johnny I understand your concern. Since the handrail is held up by 4 brackets and I know for sure that at least one of the brackets is attached to a stud, I think I will try to use plastic anchors. – wsw Jan 10 at 1:26
    
@wsw, it is safe to say the bracket was there before and it needs to go back there, presuming there is a stud there? It would wise to find the stud, plaster is strong, but I would not suggest it to be used to support a handrail bracket that has such a small "footprint" If you can probe the holes with a stiff wire to discern which holes have the stud behind them, would be helpful. – Jack Jan 10 at 3:36

Screws in wallboard do not support anything. Unless your screws hit a stud or an anchor of some sort, the bracket is decorative, not functional.

If there is not a stud in the immediate vicinity, you need to use a serious anchor. I would recommend using a strap toggle type anchor behind the bottom screw and one of the top screws.

strap toggle

The bolt can be replaced with a flat head version if you need that for your bracket.

I would use a plastic anchor for the third hole.

share|improve this answer

The top two holes were stripped -- I decided to use plastic anchors (not self-tapping drywall anchors that spin) to fasten the #10 screws to the wall:

enter image description here

It's holding up well. I just have to patch up the plaster a bit because it took me two tries to insert the plastic anchors into the hole, which was pre-drilled with a 1/4" drill bit.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.