Adding a Railing To Patio Steps

Like mentioned before, we have one deep lot house plans, but we still had some space for a spacious patio, which we added in mid-summer. But, right from the start, the grade of our backyard was quite a bit lower than where the breakfast room patio doors opened. So, when the patio was put in, several stairs had to be constructed in order to get to the patio level below.

railing added to stepsWe didn’t want one of those raised deck designs over our yard. We really wanted to open up the door and feel like we were in our yard, not on a deck above it. So, we had no choice but to have four stairs going down to our patio. It looked nice and it was designed with “wedding cake” style stairs that are a little more decorative than a plain straight down staircase.

patio step railing

It wasn’t long after our patio was in that we had a decent rainfall. After stepping out onto the top step covered in water, it became apparent to me that these stairs definitely needed a railing. Their steepness was a little daunting and actually kept several older family members from going to our patio when we had some family over for a visit. And, with even the slightest amount of moisture, these stairs were a slick as ice. Even our pups had a few crash landings when they were a little too excited to head outdoors. One thing that could’ve been done when installing the staircase was to add sand. Adding something with some grit would’ve made the concrete or the glaze applied at the end more resistance when wet. I’m not sure if concrete patio companies do such a thing, but I do know they add sand and silicon beads to paint in order to make it less slick for garage floors. So, it might have been a wise option for the safety of everyone. Or, I know commercial buildings often have sandpaper-like strips at the edge of a stair to offer a little traction. I’m not sure such a thing exists for exteriors stairs, but it may be a good idea if it does exist to add it to your exterior stairs if you’ve noticed a similar problem like ours.

railing matches furniture

Well, since we didn’t have a gritty additive put in the glaze, and there aren’t any sandpaper strips on the edge of the staircase, I felt we definitely needed a staircase that offered stability and easier balancing when using our patio stairs. Luckily, there are attractive aluminum stairs that can adjust to any rise available at most home improvement retailers. A contractor friend actually installed the railing, but it seems like an easy project for any homeowner. We were most concerned with the strength of the railing in case someone really ends up relying on it to avoid a fall. He secured the railing to the house in two places and the base of the staircase is anchored deeply into the concrete. I feel much better myself when using the stairs since they were pretty steep now that the railing is in place. It is extremely strong and offers so much support when leaving or entering our house. I highly suggest if you have exterior steps of two or more to consider adding a railing for extra safety. I know guests to our home will be much safer and I believe that it would be a liability to have kept those stairs without a railing in place. In most regions of the country, to meet code, a staircase with three or more stairs must have a railing. Luckily, retailers are carrying them for easy installation and in attractive styles that look great with any type of outdoor area.

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5 thoughts on “Adding a Railing To Patio Steps

  • February 26, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I really like the look of your railings, and feel like they definitely would be a good addition for our front steps. Like yours, our steps get very slick with the slightest bit of rain. Did you ever find out if some sort of grit can be added after the fact to make the concrete not so slick?

    • February 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I believe there are clear coats that can be applied that include sand, or something gritty. I do feel it is a very good idea to add something like this and we will most likely do so ourselves after seeing how slick the stairs got this winter. I would check with your local home improvement retailer and see what they have to offer.

  • April 8, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Our stairs are like yours in that they are not very grippy for shoes and when it rains they are really slick. I’m trying to decide if I want railings or not. It looks good in your picture which is a good sign. Would asking a fence contractor what he thinks about railings be a good idea?

  • December 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for your thought about adding sand when installing the patio staircase. I can imagine how having a little bit of grit would have made the steps less slippery. I would imagine it would still be a good idea to install a handrail of some sort if you had family members with mobility issues though. I’m sure there are contractors who could install the steps and handrails at the same time. Thanks for the post!

  • October 22, 2019 at 2:00 am

    I never thought about installing a railing on our patio and how they allow for more safety on steep steps. Now that my mom moved in with us, railings are must at all of our steps. We will keep these tips in mind after we find a professional.

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