Add Railing to Sloped Garden Sidewalk

Pete Janke

Member
Messages
48
Location
Northern CA Bay Area
My neighbor would like me to add a railing and handrail to his sloped concrete backyard sidewalk. He would like the posts attached to the sidewalk. The sidewalk is about 30" wide and has a considerable slope. What post bracket or method would you recommend to attach the sidewalk to make the posts vertical?
 

Don Baer

Moderator
Staff member
You could use anchors in the concrete but I would be leery. Depending on how thick the side walk slab is they may not hold especially if someone leaned hard on the rail. I would think that posts sunk into the soil and held in place by concrete would be better. IMHO. Others may agree or disagree.
 

David Johnson

Member
Messages
2,262
Location
Carthage,Mo
I second Don's idea. set post in concert beside the walk. The walk itself is probably less then 4 inches thick so no anchor to that will hold without splitting .
David
 

steve ramsey

Member
Messages
352
Location
Lafayette, IN
The only way we installed steel pipe railing in concrete was to core drill the concrete, install the railing and porrock the post in after installation. I would not recommend bolting the post to the walk. Not sure if it would meet code. Curious what type of railing are you installing?
 

fred hargis

Member
Messages
1,023
Location
Wapakoneta, OH
Somewhere I suspect there's something that would bolt to the concrete and allow the adjustment to get the post vertical...but I'm unaware of where it's at. The better choice would be to put it in the ground next to the walk. As mentioned above the walk likely isn't thick enough to support the posts....and then there's that tricky angle thing.
 

Pete Janke

Member
Messages
48
Location
Northern CA Bay Area
Thank you for your replies. The concrete is in great shape, probably only a few months old. It's 3.5" thick. There is not much room next to it to place the post in the ground. I was expecting to build a wood railing, but that can change.
 

Chuck Ellis

Member
Messages
5,897
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Could you put down post plates that lag bolt down to the concrete, then set the posts in the plates and lag screw them in place... might not be strongest, but I've put up corner posts for a lanai that way... by the time I had the cross beams in place it was pretty sturdy.
Depending on how many posts you need for the railing, might be a little pricey though. Haven't priced the plates in a few years.
 
I throw this out for consideration. How about making the railing and screwing/lab bolting it together (like a house wall) then putting it in place. Use concrete anchors (like those used in foundations to anchor the walls) to attach it to the sidewalk. If concerned about moisture where wood meets concrete, raise it slightly with spacers at each anchor point. Seems to me this would be as strong/stronger than the typical stairway railing held up by a newell post/balisters.
 

Jim DeLaney

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
6,456
Location
Austintown, Ohio
You could drill completely through the concrete and attach metal post bases to long threaded rods, then drive the rods into the soil under the sidewalk. Maybe 18"~24" lengths of rod? Bend the rod/post bases to the proper angle and attach the wooden posts to the metal bases.
 

Rennie Heuer

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,464
Location
Constantine, MI
You could drill completely through the concrete and attach metal post bases to long threaded rods, then drive the rods into the soil under the sidewalk. Maybe 18"~24" lengths of rod? Bend the rod/post bases to the proper angle and attach the wooden posts to the metal bases.
I was thinking something similar, but I thought that using something like a drywall butterfly anchor or a nut and large washer under the slab. This would 'squeeze' the slab rather than wedge itself in like an expansion anchor which might easily crack a thinner slab if placed near the edge. Of course this might require digging a small hole along side of the slab to reach under and place the nut/washer combo. But if the slab is fresh digging should not be hard as the soil is already disturbed.
 

Charles Lent

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
466
Location
Central North Carolina
With the sue happy society that we live in today, nothing but the strongest possible way would be my choice, and that would be core drilling and anchoring the verticals of the welded metal railing in these holes with a hard setting epoxy or concrete material would be my choice. If it should fail in some way you can bet that the installer and builder will be to blame.

Charley
 

Pete Janke

Member
Messages
48
Location
Northern CA Bay Area
Here's what I did.

I decided not to drill into the sidewalk and my neighbor said he only needed a handrail. One side of the sidewalk is next to the sideyard fence. The fence was sturdy and would easily support a handrail. I set an additional 4x4 post in the ground near the bottom of the sidewalk. My neighbor later put a solar cap on top of it. I built the handrail from 3 - 20' redwood 1x4s. I prebent the first 1x4 to the general curvature of the sidewalk and glued the next two 1x4s to it, one at a time. I used my router and table saw to shape it. Kind of tough working with 20' lengths. The stair rail brackets came from Lowes. My wife helped me install it. My neighbor is happy and his check cleared.
 

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