5 Easy Steps to Measure for Stair Railing

5 Easy Steps to Measure for Stair Railing

Installing a stair railing in your home is not just an aesthetic upgrade, but also an essential safety feature. Whether you’re planning a remodel or installing a stair railing for the first time, getting the measurements right is crucial. This guide will take you through five easy steps to accurately measure for your stair railing.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before beginning, you’ll need to gather some basic tools: a tape measure, pencil, paper, and a level. The tape measure will be used to take all the necessary measurements, the pencil and paper for recording those measurements, and the level to ensure that everything is straight and even.

Step 2: Measure the Staircase Length

The first measurement to take is the length of your staircase. Start from the top of the staircase, placing the end of the tape measure at the edge of the top step. Extend the tape measure down the staircase to the bottom step. Make sure to keep the tape measure tight for accurate results. Write down this measurement, as it will determine the length of the stair railing.

Step 3: Determine the Height of the Railing

Next, you need to measure the height of the railing. This is usually determined by local building codes, so it’s essential to check these beforehand. In most regions, the standard height for residential stair railings is between 34 and 38 inches.

Measure this height from the nose (the edge) of one of the stair treads and mark the spot on both the top and bottom stairs. This will give you the vertical position of the stair railing at both ends.

Step 4: Measure the Distance Between Posts

If your stair railing design includes posts (also known as balusters or spindles), you will need to measure the distance between them. Typically, building codes require that these posts be no more than 4 inches apart. Measure and mark on your staircase where each post will be installed. This will ensure your stair railing is not only attractive but also safe and up to code.

Step 5: Measure the Handrail

The last step is to measure the length of the handrail. This should match the length of the staircase measurement you took in step 2. If your staircase turns or has landings, ensure to measure each section separately.

Remember, it’s always better to measure a bit longer than needed. You can always trim the stair railing to fit but cannot add length if it’s too short. Also, considering the handrail’s height from the stair treads is essential for safety and comfort.


Accurate measurements are vital to the success of any DIY project, especially when it comes to installing a stair railing. By following these five easy steps, you can ensure your stair railing is not only beautiful but also safe and secure.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a first-timer, these guidelines will assist you in achieving the perfect stair railing for your home. Please feel free to share your insights with us regarding the discussion below in the comment section.

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