Tell me how to fix this please

I have to fix a very old bannister which has come away from the wall. There is a piece of hardware screwed onto the wood which ends in a stump – the stump was pushed through a crude hole in the drywall, and is stopped by something solid beyond the drywall which I assume is wood. There does not even seem to be a hole drilled into the wood to accept the stump.

Here are pictures:

This is the hardware on the bannister.

This is the bannister with the stump pushed into the wall.

And this is the crude hole.

I’m thinking quick & dirty because I am not well-equipped with power tools. At one point, I had lashed the bannister to a post above it for support. I can’t see a good way to reattach it to the wall. Help!!!

Can you post any more photos that are not closeups? Say maybe from four feet away, two feet away so one can get some perspective?

Okay. I’ll have to move the bikes, hang on.





Hope this helps.

Until somebody else comes in that knows more about it than I do, here’s my take on it: looks like it’s sprung out of the wall, right? For a temporary fix, could you push the stump back into the hole and drive a couple nails alongside it to sort of wedge it in for now?

Is that post threaded? It’s hard to see what’s going on with the pictures you took, you’re almost for sure going to have to take the bracket off the railing to reattach it. If the post is threaded I’d try screwing it into the wall and see if it bites anything. If not, I’d probably try sticking a few toothpicks into he hole with some wood glue, letting it dry then having another to at it. You might have better luck just resetting the post into the wall with some epoxy. But again, take it off the railing first so there’s no weight on it while it’s setting up, unless it sets up in less then a few minutes and you want to stand there and hold it.

The next option, if the railing is wood, is to go the Home Depot, get a new bracket, the standard kind, and mount the railing to the wall with that at the next stud up or down and just abandon that one.

Two things, that (from what I can tell) isn’t drywall it’s plaster and lathe. If you have to make any new holes, your life is going to be much more difficult. The stuff is a bitch to work with, you’ve no doubt noticed that even trying to put a nail in the wall to hang a picture is a PITA when the hammer bounces and just about hits you in the head (if it were drywall you can almost push the nail in with your hand). Two, again, if you have to make any new holes, there’s electrical running in the wall, be careful. I’m guessing it doesn’t cross any paths that you have to work with, but it’s worth noting that it’s there and paying extra attention to it. Shocks hurt and putting a screw through wires means tearing open a wall (but you probably won’t put a screw or nail through that BX).

No, the stump is not threaded. The whole thing is really pretty hinky. I did notice the electrical conduit (actually, I thought it was a gas line cause it’s below the kitchen.)

That’s good advice, to take the weight off the bracket while epoxying it in. There seems to be only empty space between the wall and the studs, so there’s not much to glue the bracket TO… then again, it only really has to hold until the inspectors come through.

Maybe I’ll do that, then lash it too.

Thanks, everyone!!

I think that if you were to remove the stucco material around the hole you will find the base of the bracket attached to the wall or a stud in that location.

The bracket originally looked something like this.

You need get both pieces together to know what size replacement to get.

I agree - it’s probably been plastered over and has just snapped off at the weld.

Easiest fix might be to get another similar bracket and mount it a little further up the bannister, then fix it to the wall with plugs and screws.

That makes sense. Looking at the wall, I’m going to guess that house is 100+years old. That’s a lot of furniture moving up and down the stairwell. I’ll bet it was just one too many couches or La-Z-Boys being dropped on it over the years.

Would brujaja be able to make the hole bigger, remove the old bracket base and install a new bracket, then plaster over the hole him/herself? Or is working with plaster and lathe on even a small spot really hard?

That should be possible - using an old woodworking chisel (rather than a blunt masonry chisel) to carve away the plaster around the hole, reveal the base of the bracket and remove it - the only trouble is that the screws might be rusted in place and if they can’t be extracted, that may interfere with the screws needed to fit a replacement bracket.

There’s not going to be any right way to do this for the (not so much a) DIYer. If he digs out the old one it’s going to involve trying match hundred year old plaster work with 14 coats of paint and the old bracket might not even come out. If he moves the bracket up to the next stud it’s going to look different (because you’ll be able to see it) and the railing will angle out by the however deep the other one is set it. It’s hard to tell if it’s under the plaster or just under hundred years of paint (probably, literally, 10-20 coats, most of which are thick, lead based* and sloped on over the plaster).
On the other hand, hiring a handyman who can make this all look like it was never touched to begin with will be expensive, probably a few hundred dollars and it’ll take even longer to find the right one.
It’s a tough call, we’ll need more/better pictures or you need to get a friend to look at it and point you in the right direction. It’s really hard to tell from here exactly what’s going on. You need some one that can look in the hole, touch the piece, stick their finger in it, tap on the wall, fell the paint…really get a good idea of what’s going on.

Just thought of something else. You could always dig out the one at the top and move in down/up one stud and mount it on the surface as well to make it match the bottom one of that’s what you end up doing. I might even be easier to sazall it off right at the wall and paint over the what’s left of it. That’ll also keep the railing from angling out as it goes down the stairs.

*Come to think of it, there may be some asbestos in there too! Yea carcinogens!

Just to TLDR my post from above, I think my recommendation would be (without seeing it first hand): Plaster over the hole at the bottom. Sazall the bracket off at the top and paint over the “stump”, file it if it’s sharp, but make sure you get it as close to the wall as possible so no one hits their knuckles on it. Then move both brackets up or down or in or out to the next stud and mount them on the surface. Paint over the plaster work with matching paint and hopefully it’ll be hidden enough that it works.

Actually, that sounds a fine plan.

In fact, if you were to remove the handrail from the remaining brackets, a couple of sideways taps on them might snap them off in the same way as this one has broken - then it’s just a couple of holes to fill, followed by fixing the handrail back in place on new brackets mounted on the surface of the wall.

Alas, the other brackets are not attached in this way.

I actually can do spackling/ painting and stuff; I’m pretty good at it. As you may be able to tell from the pictures, much of the prior work in this building was überhinky. If I got a minimally trained monkey to do it, it could not be much worse.

Then again, I try to do nice work myself, on strong principle.

I was thinking, what if I got some kind of cylindrical thing that I could mount to the stud, and then the stump would feed into it? (with epoxy.)

I’m surprised the railing moves around that much if there’s still at least two other brackets attached to the wall. But this might be a good opportunity to make them match…if it’s one of those things that bugs you.

This is what I was saying before, it’s hard to tell what’s going on with the pictures that we have. If the bracket is like the one linked in one of the other posts, I don’t think epoxy is going to work, there’s just not going to be enough material involved for the epoxy to bite anything. The ‘stump’ likely only goes a half inch or so into the wall and a bond of half inch of plaster/metal/epoxy is going to mean the plaster getting torn out sooner or later, probably sooner…IMO. When I first suggested epoxy, I thought that stump was going several inches into the wall.

If you’re good with plaster and paint, your best bet is going to be to dig out the rest of the bracket and replace it, it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Handy man checking in. Before I offer a fix, is the railing made of wood?