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I want to remove the metal railing and put in a proper wood railing. I was planning on cutting the pipe flush with the cement and then using a bracket to connect my 4x4. However, when they put in the pipe they left a mound of cement so the bracket can’t sit flush to the ground. What is my best option? Could I just run my 4x4 from the top step where the yellow circle is? Is there a type of bracket that could work in my situation? Thanks for any help!

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    Does this answer your question? How do I attach a wooden post to existing concrete steps?
    – FreeMan
    Jun 18, 2020 at 16:07
  • Did you end up using 2x4 for your rail? I know you said there was a wobble, I wonder if that would have been solved once the entire rail was completed and supported/anchored throughout?
    – junta
    Jun 19, 2020 at 3:41
  • At the moment, we've still got a small hand rail thrown on their to help my in-laws up & down the stairs, we don't yet have the full railing system installed. I don't think it would have mattered, though. It may have reduced the wobble in one direction, but left it to wobble in the other. This is the same method (replacing the wedge anchors with heavy construction screws) that we used for attaching the posts to our deck - they were rock solid with 2 screws each and no railing between them.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 19, 2020 at 12:38
  • After researching more, I see how the wobble can happen. Did you attach the posts to the front of the step or in my picture, the outside of the step where it is painted blue? Still trying to wrap my head around all of this and not over commit by drilling unnecessary holes into the cement.
    – junta
    Jun 25, 2020 at 21:12
  • I will note that even with my concrete sleeve anchors through the posts, I have one post that is a bit wobbly. It's got nothing to do with the methodology, though, and instead is because one of the anchors when through the thinner shell of concrete and hit the old brick fill underneath the steps. I believe that as I've tightened the anchor, the sleeve has expanded and crushed the low quality brick around it instead of grabbing tightly. I may have to try a shorter anchor in that bolt position so it can grab the concrete instead.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 23, 2020 at 12:22

2 Answers 2

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As explained in my linked answer, I cut a half-lap joint into the 4x4 post. I set the post on top of the step with the lap hanging over, then drilled holes and drove sleeve anchors through the wood and into the concrete.

Here is a highly non-technical Paint sketch of what I'm talking about. On the left is the view looking toward your door (essentially the view of the picture you shared), on the right is the view from the right, looking at the steps. Grey is the concrete step, brown is the wooden post, red represents the sleeve anchor.

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You would want to be sure the post is sitting on a level spot of concrete. Either grind the concrete flat right at the corner of the top step or move the post in, away from the bulge around the current pipes.

To avoid having to deal with the mound of concrete entirely, and to avoid cutting the 4x4 post, you could put the entire 4x4 post on the "outside" of the steps, like this:

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I used 6" anchors for my half-lap solution with roughly 2" through the wood and 4" into the concrete (I actually bought 7" bolts because that's all they had in stock that day). If you go with the full 4x4 on the side, you'll want to use anchors at least 8" so you have 4" through wood and 4" into the concrete.

Put one post at each end, put a railing (plain and simple or fancy and decorative) between them and Bob's your uncle!

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I would use a Diamond Grinding wheel and grind the concrete around the pipe till it is level. Probably take less than an hour at each corner.
Once concrete is level, use metal grinding wheel to cut the pipe level.
I used a similar diamond wheel on my sidewalk, and remove a raised 3/8 corner – 15 inches on each side of the raised corner in about 3-4 hours.

Once level, just use a standard 4x4 bracket to mount the wood post. You can use the hole in the pipe to anchor the bolt for the braket. Fill with 6" of epoxy and insert bolt and bracket.

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  • A "standard" 4x4 post mount will likely leave a wobbly post - see my proposed duplicate for my experience and solution.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 18, 2020 at 17:06
  • I would be using the same bracket in your ans. with the bolt going into the hole in the pipe, embedded in eproxy. Same as inserting rebar into concrete. My Standard Bracket is the bracket to install 4/4 post either into concrete for a fence-decking, etc. I do not know of any other 4x4 bracket to install a post into the ground or a concrete surface. Jun 18, 2020 at 17:11

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