We would like to have an additional left hand rail for this staircase. The problem is the pocket door at the bottom, which I am concerned does not have wood that is structural enough behind it for the rail bracket. I don't know, maybe it is....

What is normally done in these situations? Can I screw a bracket into the wood in the pocket door wall? Would a stringer board help (like a long board on top of the dryall going all the way up behind the brackets for extra support)? Or is it ok we have the railing start on the 3rd step, since we only need the right railing according to code?

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    Can you remove the pocket door without too much difficulty? Reason I ask is that you could reasonably fasten the bottom bracket to drywall, but you'd want to use something like a toggler anchor. Togglers, however, require a big hole through the drywall which isn't going to be covered up by a typical handrail bracket, so you'd want to have access... Nov 12, 2022 at 20:46
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    Don't forget to return the handrail into the wall (code, prevents people hooking themselves with straps or clothing). Nov 12, 2022 at 20:47
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    Screwing to the 3/4" board of the pocket door would be good as long as the board was in the right place. Sadly, they never seem to be. Nov 12, 2022 at 21:09
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    If the board's not in the right place, getting another board (or even a sheet of OSB/ply) and glueing/nailing it to the adjacent boards and the drywall would be better than just anchors. Anchors won't take much force. Nov 12, 2022 at 21:41
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    3/16 toggler brand are rated for 238# pullout in 1/2" drywall. amazon.com/Toggler-SNAPTOGGLE-Toggle-Machine-Screws/dp/… Nov 12, 2022 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


I would mirror the current railing system.

I would not only look nice (symmetric) but it must be already code compliant.

Needless to say, keep the hand rail to wall spacing adequate for hand grip.

With that said, I would not use the pocked door frame, it would look awkward, while technically it might work.

  • We actually have one extra post that we could use just for the bottom. It might look awkward to use just one, but we might go that route for now. In th future maybe we can buy the others and shimmy them in.
    – Dave
    Nov 12, 2022 at 20:43
  • @Dave delay the project till you have the budget
    – Traveler
    Nov 12, 2022 at 20:45
  • Aloysius, using a post means we don't need to screw into the wall. Actually my wife still wants me to screw into the pocket door wall (doesn't seem right to me). If it's too wobbly we'll shimmy one post in at the bottom. She doesn't want posts going all the way up.
    – Dave
    Nov 12, 2022 at 20:52
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    As a married man, I can confirm that your wife is right. Nov 12, 2022 at 21:10

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