There are many styles of handrail brackets available in a wide variety of colors and base metals. Most are die cast zinc, although some are produced from aluminum, brass or stainless steel to reduce corrosion. Most brackets are designed so handrails project from the wall about 2-1/2 to 3 inches from their center. There are some deep extended brackets available, as well as more contemporary designs.
Single hole brackets mount to your studs or secure wall with a single long center screw. They feature a 2-1/8 inch round back that looks good at any angle because the built in rail holder mounts at the same angle the handrail does and cover most marks from prior installations. Most are designed to hold 250 pounds per bracket and be installed within 24 inches of both ends and no more than 48 inches apart.
Heavy duty handrail brackets have a shield like back and hold the handrail to the bracket with a pre-bent strap. Most are also designed to hold 250 pounds per bracket and be installed within 24 inches of both ends and no more than 48 inches apart.
Standard or economy brackets, normally used by builders on entry level homes, have slightly smaller backs and are usually designed to hold 125 pounds per bracket. They are installed the same as above.
A stair rail must be between 34 and 38 inches above the top of the stair tread at all times to meet United States building code requirements. You should check before installing with your local building department for specific rules in your location. Handrails should also extend a foot before and after the stairs, for added safety. This extra extension is not required for private stairways. Stair rails or handrails are required any time stairs raise 30 or more inches above the base level or where there are more than 3 risers. This includes outdoor sections such as decks or porch steps. Residentially in private homes normally only one handrail is required for stairs that are less than 44 inches wide.
In addition to handrail brackets, you may need these items to complete your project: wood handrail material (sourced locally), Wood Glue, 6 to 12 1-1/2 Inch 4D Finishing Nails and two Flat Corner Irons For Returns. Note: Make sure you measure your handrail and the brackets selected before cutting the end miter cuts so the end caps can be used to returns to the wall.
Helpful tools include: 4 Foot Level, Chalk Line And Chalk, Combination Square, Drill Bit Set, Drill Driver Cordless, Hammer, Masking Tape 1-1/2 Inch Wide, Miter Box And Saw, Nail Set, Pencil, Safety Glasses, Screwdriver, Stud Finder, Tape Measure, Medium Sandpaper, Stain and Finishing Supplies.