I posted a few weeks back.
I had a redwood deck/steps leading to my front door and I was tired of
having to treat it every summer.
It was all ripped out, and new concrete was poured and the job was
finished on Saturday. I am very, very pleased with the results.
Now, I have one more question.
I am going to have someone install a powder coated aluminum railing and
handrail. How long do I have to wait to bolt this new railing into the
newly poured concrete? I just don't want to crack it.
Many thanks again.
If you use Tapcons, Redheads or any stress anchored devices, the
concrete must cure for months. The neat approach is to bore holes for
the fasteners and use the commercial epoxy made for that purpose to
anchor the bolts in place (stainless steel preferred). Contractors
routinely do that on even fairly fresh concrete with good effect.
With bolts in place the railing can be installed the next day.
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but ...........
If they were mine, I'd wait until warm spring. The concrete will be cured.
Where you put the holes has a lot to do with it, too. If you put them in
from the side into the "meat" of the steps, you can get more strength. If
you put them within 4" of an edge, there will be a tendency to crack off.
Plan the mounts so the holes that need to be drilled are at least 6-8" or
more from the edges. You're going to cry if you crack off a corner of your
Another way would be to core drill holes (about the size of a can of beans.)
and then mount the pipes in them. Trouble with those is that they tend to
rust/corrode at the base if you're in cold or wet country. Plus, it will
cost you a decent amount to rent a core drill. No big project, and it gives
nice results, but ..........
Steve, an ex steel erection contractor, who has done a lot of step mounts.
Aluminum is very popular where I live (Central WA State). It is
maintenance free which is what I am looking for.
After drilling four holes for each post, it looks like the screws would
have to be drilled in about 2-1/2 inches from the edge of the steps.
This does not sound good after reading your comments.
I have two steps, and the railing is small, only 8'long. The left end
will mount into the side wall of my home, and that leaves two posts to
mount into the concrete.
The guys who did my concrete told me I could install the railing in a
Now I am getting mixed reviews, but this is why I posted in the first
I need to rethink this.
Many thanks. Great info.
I've been following this thread and imo most of the suggestions /
advice has been good. Steve B's comments about cracking the concrete
are "spot on".
The truth is, concrete cracks (nearly all the time). The key is
getting the cracks to form where they don't matter and NOT where
they'd be a problem.
The core drilling & set with anchoring cement or epoxy is a very
strong method. But setting aluminum directly into cementious materials
can cause a corrosion problem.
If your railing is lightly loaded, not a high traffic / high usage
application you'll probably be fine.
As Joe mentioned "stress anchored devices" (aks mechanical / wedge
anchors) can cause the concrete to crack upon their installation.
Small diameter holes (1/4" to 3/8"; maybe 1/2" ) can be drilled fairly
close to the edge of the concrete. Your 2 1/2" edge distance is
probably ok but young concrete can be a problem esp if the holes are
drilled with a large rotary hammer.
If they were my steps. I would go with Steve B's core drill, set a
steel pipe stub & slide the alumimum post over them.
If I were continuing with your contractors design, I'd wait at least
28 days, drill with a small (light hammer blows) rotary hammer & set
stainless steel bolts using either
SIKA Sikadur AnchorFix #1 (super fast set) or AnchorFix #3 (slow set).
Remember, if your contractor was the low bidder (?), he costed in
"fast & cheap" to win the job .......potentially not in your long term
35 years mechanical engineering ( within that; 17 years structural
research - concrete & timber)
Yes ....... a fast set epoxy did fail in the Boston "Big Dig"
BUT that was with Boston workmanship & Boston inspection.....plus its
a much different application than Kate's railing anchoring
My neighbor didn't want to drill into his new concrete stoop so he
mounted his railings along side it. His was a flat stoop, only one
step up, but his method could be adapted for more steps.
I know you said aluminum, but bear with me, maybe this will give you
For each side he used two 8' PT 4 x 4's, built a "picture frame" in
the top 32" inches into which he mounted wrought iron spindles.
He then dug 2 post holes and buried the 4 x 4's deep enough so that
the decorative part of the railing was the correct height. (We have to
worry about 42" frost lines around here.) He buried the posts right
along side the concrete steps so that there is no gap between the
bottom of the railing and the stoop.
I don't know how well this side-view ascii art will come out, but I'll
take a shot. The w's are wrought iron spindles - I think he actually
has 5 or 6 - the dashes and uprights are stained PT wood and the s's
is the stoop.. I know this looks plain, but he did a real nice job
trimming it out and it looks great.
| w w |
| w w | <- Railing
|sssssss| <- Stoop
| | <- Underground
For your steps, you could add an angled "picture frame" and a third
post for the step portion.
Thanks for taking the time to map all of this out for me. I printed
it our for the man who will be helping me with the railing. I like the
fact that it is mounted on the side of the steps.
Appreciate your time and help.
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