Intro: STAINLESS STEEL HAND RAIL FOR $0.00
I just turned 80 and am having some trouble tripping and falling and my wife is too. I decided I needed to put a hand rail on the stairs into our underground storm shelter.
After I got this stainless steel hand rail finished, but not installed, my wife went down the stairs by herself, tripped and fell to her knees onto the concrete floor. She hurt her ankle and knee and blamed her fall on the visibility of the bottom step. This morning, Memorial day 2016, I installed the hand rail and painted a 2' black strip onto the bottom step.
Here is what I did:
Step 1: FINDING MATERIAL TO BUILD THE HAND RAIL
I had these 2 pieces of stainless steel tubing with flanges, from a previous project I had saved for just such a project as this. I think I picked them up at a metal salvage to use a piece of it for an exhaust extension.
I priced stainless steel hand rails online at the big box stores and the going price was $55 and up, so I decided to see if I could make one using these 2 pieces and extending it a little longer. I went back to my salvage pile and found this 3rd piece. The inside diameter of a 10" piece fit nicely over the first 2 pieces with the flanges, increasing the length 8" more to make the overall length 24"
Step 2: HIDDEN SPOT WELDS
I drilled 3 holes at 120 degrees, 1/2" from each end of the straight piece of tubing. I then slid that piece 1" onto the other 2 end pieces and welded into the holes with my MIG wire welder using stainless steel wire. I then used a bench grinder and a belt sander to make the weld spots disappear, then polished it so it would be completely smooth.
Step 3: INSTALLING IN SHELTER
I drilled 4 X 3/16" holes in the concrete. I installed 4 plastic plugs in the holes and mounted the hand rail with 1" X #8 stainless steel screws. I could have drilled 2 more holes and installed 2 more screws. but it is very solidly mounted and I didn't want to do any more damage to the concrete than necessary.
Step 4: PAINTING STRIPE ON BOTTOM STEP
Looking down into the shelter in the first photo, you can see that the bottom step is not very well lighted from outside light or the electric light inside. In 2nd photo, the black line is being painted after laying down masking paper. In 3rd photo, the black line is clearly visible.