My stairs have a banister on both sides, and I want to put up some sort of gate on the bottom of the stairs. However, I would really prefer to not have to drill into the banister if possible. What do you think my options are?

My parents suggested attaching a 1x3 board to the support bar and then drilling into that. I'm not sure that would work.

Also, my wife wants to make the gate be up a few steps so that our daughter can practice on a few steps. What have you guys done?

asked 18 Sep '11, 15:25

Ed%20Schwehm's gravatar image

Ed Schwehm
accept rate: 0%

I had the same concerns as you. At the top of our stairs, there is a banister with a post and hand rail along one side, and a half-wall on the other side. I wasn't terribly worried about putting a hole in the post, as I plan to just fill the hole with wood filler, sand it down and retouch it later. Also, we're planning to keep the gate up for a while.

My problem was that the mounting holes for the gate were right in the middle of the detail part of the post, and there was no easy way to attach it. I solved that by attaching a short piece of hardwood to the post that was long enough to reach from the flat part on the top to the flat part on the bottom. I had some longer brass screws to attach it. I then attached the gate to the new piece of wood, using bolts that went through from the back of the wood (I put those in first before mounting the wood to the post).

It just happened that I had a piece of hardwood laying around that was a match for the colour of the banister. I could have purchased a piece, and might as well have purchased an appropriate wood finish to make it match, as I'll need the same type to touch it up after the gate is removed. Here's a picture:

Attaching Stair Gate to Banister Post

As you can see, it blends in quite well. I think you could accomplish something similar based on your picture. Can you get away without putting holes in the post? I struggled with the same question. I considered some kind of clamp (not very secure, and unsightly), or building some kind of "box" around it that you'd then screw into. I still believed you'd end up with marks on the post after doing this, even if you don't put holes in it. I decided to just bite the bullet and put two holes in it, and refinish it later.

As for moving the gate up a few stairs, based on your picture, it looks difficult. The gate has to swing out which means you either have to mount something on the wall side that's at least as wide as the hand rail, so it will clear the rail when it swings, or you have to remove the hand rail for the duration of having the gate. Looking at the other side, your balusters are square at the bottom, but aren't square at the top, so you can't pull the same trick of creating a flat surface that I did. You would have to screw a short 1x1 strip on the bottom of the hand rail between two balusters and then affix a large sheet of, say... the particle board material that Ikea-like shelves are made out of (coated in white melamine), attaching it to two balusters on the bottom and the new nailing strip on the top. If it was all white it might not look half bad.

The other option is to negotiate with your wife. Our daughter got lots of practice going up and down stairs with us standing right behind her. It doesn't take them long to get the hang of it. Having the gate up a few steps probably isn't a necessity if it's going to make mounting the gate particularly difficult.


answered 18 Sep '11, 16:49

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

We used this stairway gate installation kit by KidCo which wraps the banister firmly enough to be secure, and allows drilling into the kit instead of the banister. It's worked really well for us. I'd recommend it although it wasn't too easy to install.

Regarding practicing -- can't quite remember what we did but I know there were ample opportunities for practice out and about, at playgrounds and such.


answered 19 Sep '11, 12:45

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

edited 19 Sep '11, 12:48

We used tension gates rather than anything that had to be mounted.


answered 19 Sep '11, 09:30

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 18 Sep '11, 15:25

Seen: 6,223 times

Last updated: 19 Sep '11, 12:48