12 Mar 2012
Modern stair handrail details. WOW right? When it comes to modern, simple is always best even though it is sometimes particularly difficult to execute. Well, that’s not the case with these handrails … in fact, this might be the simplest one you will ever see. You’ll note that I didn’t say easiest because I’ve seen some junk out there that I’m pretty sure took even less effort to design, build, and hang than these handrails.
What you are looking at is a clear sealed white oak wood cap with a 3/8″ reglet reveal, and a 5/8″ sheet rock wall to which a stainless steel flat bar handrail is attached. What adds a little zip-a-dee-doo-dah to this very simple detail is that there aren’t any visible means of how the handrail is attached to the wall. But that’s what you would expect with a modern handrail right? Strip it down to it’s barest necessities – make it clean.
I hate to admit this but I detailed this handrail standing in the field with the contractor watching me. He said:
Contractor: “We need a handrail detail for this stair.”
Bob: ” Right … (scribble scribble scribble) … how about this?”
It was a close to a modern style conversation (short) as I am capable of having.
This is the hidden part of the handrail … the non-aesthetic part that does all the real work but that nobody really wants to see. A metal plate, 4 screws, some blocking and *bamm* you’re done. (well, technically, I was done when I handed the contractor my sketch, his work was just beginning but it ended when he handed it to the metal fabricator - his work was really about to begin).
I don’t know if you can tell well enough from looking at this photo without me pointing it out but the gypsum board cover piece has been shaved down in total thickness so instead of it being a full 5/8″ thick, the back paper was pulled off and is now about 3/8″ thick.
This is actually the stairwell from the underground garage up to the ground floor level. If you look on the right hand side below the handrail, you can see that there are 4 step lights that will be used to illuminate the stairwell. That’s something that I should talk about one day – some generic lighting rules. The main one – and the one being utilized here – is that you don’t light “walk” zones but rather you light the things around the walk zones, in this case the actual stair treads. There is no down lighting in this stairwell.
This is a view looking up underneath the handrail where you can see the 3/8″ stainless steel support bar penetrating the gypsum drywall and the flat bar returning back to the wall at the top of the handrail. We return the rails so that people don’t catch their pants or strappy-type things on the end and find themselves propelled down the stairs face first.
I can imagine that some people might see this handrail and think “so what? There isn’t anything special about that handrail at .. all.”
But that’s sort of the point of why I wrote this particular post. Not everything has to be something … it’s rather nice sometimes to simply let something be only what it needs to be.