We removed the old handrail that was not up to code and didn't reach the first step of the stairs as required. We have a traditional guardrail installed on one side and we are having difficulties trying to find a good method of continuous transition on the other side, that has a wall angled 45 deg away with the first two steps. The handrail needs to terminate on the first step, not near the third.

Since we have traditional handrails, we can't make a simple miter cut because the short piece's top orientation will start to point away from the wall. With circular handrails, this is not a problem as there's not top/bottom.

How can we get a good/decent transition?

Stair slope: 41.5 deg

Inner angle of walls: 135 deg leveled (following the handrail path, the inner angle becomes 145 deg)


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Trouble wall

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Example cut showing rotation needed to remain upright and proper distance

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Traditional handrails being used

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  • 1
    3rd picture ... the cut needs to be parallel to the corner of the wall and at about 67.5 degrees ... same cut as the baseboard ... extend the lower section all way to corner where the two walls meet... trim off the corners that stick out
    – jsotola
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 0:07
  • 1
    Not sure why you went to all the trouble to put your pictures on the Google Picture Sharing site when it is possible to put them right in your question. I did that for you but do be aware that there is the small icon on the tool bar right above the question edit box to insert a picture. Also be aware that it is possible to simply snip a copy of your picture into the clip board and then just paste it into the edit box with the paste keystroke and that will automatically bring up the picture insertion dialog.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 0:07
  • Do you need an additional railing on the right side, or could the left side railing be continued in a straight line above where it dies into the floor to have it meet code? Of course, if you want an additional railing on the right that's a different story.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 13:02

2 Answers 2


Typically it is done with a miter cut to get to level, or up easement, then a 45 degree level turn , then another miter cut to resume the angle or over easement, this will get the job done. You can do it with all on-site miters, or you can purchase "fixtures"... parts that are "pre-bent" to make smooth turns. Where I have "up easements" or "level turns" or "over easements" is the names applied to these fixtures I referred too.

I would suggest using glue and "biscuits" to join these parts together, since they will be small enough so there will be no strength in just using screws alone. enter image description here enter image description here

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    As a mention, you will need to sand the joints undoing any prefinishing that has been done
    – Jack
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 0:47
  • I have done miter cuts in the past the inspector asked me to add an additional bracket at the joint on 1 house but other than that as long as the transition was smooth they never said anything.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 14:19
  • This is exactly what we needed. Can't believe it's actually pretty simple. Thanks! Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 14:20
  • @Jack would it be possible for the two small pieces to become one if the ends were compound cuts? Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 17:33
  • You will need to elaborate a little more for that one, but as much as I have done in the past and variation from the sketch will result in the twist you depict in the picture with the mock up.
    – Jack
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 4:23

I am not sure if there is an absolute requirement for the handrail to be fully continuous the whole distance. But you may actually get a better looking installation to have the hand rail be mounted in two separate pieces that simply meet near each other.

  • 2
    The rail on the left could be code if the upper part was finished. There are handrail parts that are coped to fit into the situation at the top of the existing. Or a cope cut could be made.....
    – Jack
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 0:16
  • We did consider doing the left side, but the wife didn't want it there. Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 14:19

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