I have a child gate I am trying to mount at the base of a staircase. On the left side of the staircase is a thin wall. When facing this wall, there is only a 1.5" gap between the stair trim and the wall edge-- I need to mount a roughly 18-inch vertical bracket for the gate inside this 1.5" strip.

Because this bracket is part of the hinge for the gate, it needs to be mounted quite securely. I'm unsure how to do this. I'm not totally certain of the inner anatomy of the corner, but I drilled two 1/8" pilot holes at the bracket mount site ("Drywall Sheet A" in diagram) and went through a metal corner bead and drywall-- no wood. I drilled the holes 1/2" from the corner, and now I actually think I may have sheared the back of the narrow drywall sheet making up the other part of the corner ("Drywall Sheet B" in diagram). I'm now unsure of what to do or whether it's even feasible to mount the bracket in this location.

Can anyone tell me how to get a secure mount with this kind of setup? If I did shear Drywall Sheet B, would it be OK to just use a regular drywall anchor, which I guess would protrude into the back of Drywall Sheet B?

mount site oblique

mount site frontal


  • 8
    I will second @SteveSh comment. At 1/2 inch in from the corner, you drilled between the drywall and stud. There is a stud there, you just missed it by a hair.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 16:09
  • another option is to treat the first stair step as the floor and put the gate one step higher. I put my gate so the horizontal bar across the floor has a top that is level with the first tread. This gets you both up and back a little.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 2:16
  • In the future for this sort of thing, I'd recommend getting a stud-finder, or failing that a strong magnet. A magnet will find the screws/nails in the studs, but might take more searching than a purpose-built stud-finder. Also might fail if your corner bead is steel. (Usually I think they're aluminum?) Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 14:57

4 Answers 4


Turned comment into this answer:

With typical 1/2" drywall, you would have to go back at least 3/4" of an inch to find the 2x4 that the drywall should be fastened to. If you need to securely mount something to that corner, I would try to drive the screws in 1" back from the drywall.

With your 1/2" spacing you tried, you probably hit the small gap between the drywall and the stud.

  • 7
    Thanks, it worked-- I drilled back 1-1/4" and hit wood. Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 22:22

You would be best to measure at least an inch from the corner to hit the framing. While it is common for the sheetrock to be 1/2" thick, the metal corner bead is going to bring it out another 1/8". So at 5/8" back from the outside corner you would hit right between the sheetrock and the framing. Add 1/4" to that and you would have barely enough to actually secure a fastener without it pulling out

  • Welcome to Home Improvement. While this is correct, it really doesn't add anything to the answer that has already been accepted as correct. Please take the tour and look through the help center, especially the part on answering, to see how things work a bit differently around here.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 12:08

I would recommend something different since this is at the bottom of the stairs. Zip tie the top of mounting bracket to the bannister, and screw in a small eye bolt next to the stair tread for a zip tie at the bottom of the gate bracket. You don’t show the right side of the stairwell, but if there is a baluster, you’re in luck… couple of zip ties.

You’ll be removing it before you know it! Have fun.

  • 5
    You've not raised small children yet, have you? Toddlers are incredibly inventive in the way they get into, around, under and over obstacles. Having zip ties holding something onto or around stairs is just asking for a disaster. Trust me - 3 kids of my own, and I just spent 2 weeks watching my 3 & 5 year old grandsons climb over the gate to their room. My son & DIL use the noise of the climbing activity as a warning bell that the kids are on their way - they know it doesn't actually stop them.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 12:52
  1. Take a relatively thin strip of wood -- 1.5" x 3/4" x 30", and get some toggle bolts. I'd use the snap toggles.

  2. Align the strip of wood vertically at the edge of the staircase. Paint the strip of wood to match the wall.

  3. Attach the strip of wood through the sheetrock A using the toggle bolts. I'd also recommend using construction adhesive, but that's a little harder to remove and clean up after. You probably need at least three toggle bolts.

  4. Now attach the gate to the strip of wood.

Chances are you aren't going to find a stud in the right spot, and this approach is passable.

  • Thanks. I'm a bit unclear on one point-- I'm not very familiar with toggle bolts but I know that they have "wings" that open inside the wall. Given this, where exactly should I fasten the strip of wood to miss drywall sheet B? 3/4" in (so down the center)? Would that give enough clearance from the back of drywall sheet B? Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 14:05
  • 3
    At the end of a wall, I doubt of not finding a stud/s. Maybe in the middle of the first step. Would not trust anchors/toggle bolts that close to the end/edge of drywall.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 14:18
  • How about two wider strips (painted to match walls), one on either side of the wall. Bolt through the wall several inches from the end of the wall to hold the strips firmly, then attach the gate to the strip near the end. Or mount gate on the first stair, although the hand rail may get in the way.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 15:19
  • 6
    Downvoted, because there is a stud in that wall section, OP just did not drill far enough from the edge. Sheetrock is 1/2" thick, OP drilled 1/2" from edge, guess what, he drilled right at the inner edge of the sheetrock, just missing the stud. Drill another 3/4" away from the edge and OP will be golden.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 17:33
  • 1
    The hole that the OP has already drilled can be used to establish that there is (or is not) a stud nearby, and how far. Just insert a probe with a right angle bend, for example a straightened paperclip, with the bent bit upwards, then see now far it can be rotated.
    – nigel222
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 11:39

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