Slate Steps

Handrail Installation Into Slate Stairs

Slate is a beautiful natural product frequently used as a stair veneer.  Slate is also prone to cracking unless the proper precautions are taken.  When using a masonry screw fastener like the ones shown in our fastener section, you certainly want to get through the slate and into the masonry substrate below.  If you are using a standard hammer drill, there is little risk of cracking it providing it is in good condition, properly attached to the substrate and so long as you stay away from the edges (3″ or more).  If you believe it is at risk of cracking, you can turn off the hammer action until through the slate then engage the hammer action once into the substrate.  I do not suggest using a roto hammer (ie Hilti) as that much hammer action puts the slate at risk.  It is a good idea to enlarge the hole that is through the slate so the fastener threads do not engage the slate.  Do that carefully so you do not enlarge the hole within the substrate.  Try not to put too much lateral force on the slate while doing so.  It is not recommended to use expanding fasteners like wedge anchors or sleeve anchors with any veneered masonry.

Can I install my handrail into composite decking material.

Yes you can.  Composite decking itself is not strong enough alone.  What you will want to do is provide wood blocking under the composite decking so you can screw through the handrail base plate, through the composite decking and into the wood blocking below.  This could be blocking you intentionally place there or into the wood stair stringers.  The other option would be to bolt through the base plate and composite decking and use large washers and nuts below the composite decking.

Install into brick, stone or veneer

Any veneered step application can be tricky and require a different approach than concrete. The surface materials generally aren’t suitable to anchor to because the handrail will act as a lever and pry the material right off of the concrete substrate (if present). So with that in mind, the best way to combat that is to go through the surface material and into the concrete substrate below. Please refer to our FASTENER SELECTION PAGE. The one you choose will depend on how thick your bricks or veneer materials are. These fasteners are also available at most hardware stores as well.

Epoxy is a fine choice as well as the epoxy will unify the surface brick with the substrate regardless of the material. HERE is a suitable epoxy available at Home Depot. The product page offers a video of the manufacturers recommended process. You will use threaded studs like THIS. I suggest using a 5/16″ stud long enough to get through the brick and into your substrate + a minimum of 1+” embed into the substrate. Follow the manufacturers recommendation as to which size hole to drill to receive the epoxy and threaded stud. Once you have the threaded stud epoxy in you can put your handrail on the studs and us a nut to secure it.

Feel free to give me a call or email if you need further clarification or have other questions