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How much does handrail installation cost in 2021?

Handrails are handy safety features designed to offer stability and support while ascending and descending stairs. Most building regulations require a handrail to be fitted on at least one side of the stairs if they’re less than a metre wide, but not on the bottom two steps.

So, whether you’re having a new staircase installed or you’re replacing a damaged or old handrail, use this stair rail installation cost guide to help you make an informed decision.

What are the benefits of installing a handrail?


Stair handrail installation costs are important to help prevent or stop a loss of balance that can result in a serious fall. Handrails also help you ascend and descend stairs more comfortably due to how we are naturally inclined to look for something to hold onto when going up or down steep inclines. In short, they put us at ease.


There is an important aesthetic element to handrails when it comes to designing staircases and rooms. Having a handrail that fits with a theme or decoration can transform a living space. For example, winding or spiral staircases with matching handrails are very popular

Different types of handrail


Carpenter installing staircase

There are various types of wooden handrails available on the market. Some include softwoods like pine, cedar and redwood, or hardwoods like oak, maple or beech.


Metal handrails are most often seen on spiral staircases, where extra support is often needed. They can be made from iron, stainless steel, brass, copper or aluminium.


Designed to look like wood but with greater durability and lower maintenance, composite handrails are a popular cheap alternative made from a blend of PVS and recycled wood flour.

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Factors affecting stair rail installation costs

Cost provided itemCost + VAT
(Lower range)
Cost + VAT
(Higher range)
Average cost
Wooden handrail for a standard straight staircase (softwood)£40
Wooden handrail for standard straight staircase (hardwood)£90
Metal or composite handrail for straight standard staircase£120
Supply and fit handrail to existing staircase£100£150£125

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

There are various factors that affect the cost of stair rail installations, which include:

  • The overall size of the staircase
  • The complexity of the fitting, i.e., the number of corners or turns
  • The type of handrail requested
  • Any prep or finishing work required

Cost of handrail installations

To properly install a handrail and ensure its safety compliance, you will need to hire a professional tradesperson.

Carpenters, general builders, carpet fitters and labourers will all be able to offer their services, and you can expect to pay their day rates of between £65 ­– £125. Note that the cost of the handrail isn’t included.

Cost of wooden handrail installation

Spindle being attached to handrailSoftwoods are the most commonly used material in staircase construction. They are often lower in price and work well for people on a budget looking for a simple design.

Average cost of a softwood handrail: £40

Average stair railing installation cost: £100 – £150

Hardwoods are more durable and last longer than their softwood counterparts, although tend to sit at the pricier end of the handrail options. They’re also better for more complex designs.

Average cost of a hardwood handrail: £90

Average stair railing installation cost: £100 – £150Metal handrail along staircase

Cost of metal or composite handrail installation

Metal and composite handrails are the most popular choices due to their hardwearing natures. They can also be used for more elaborate and intricate designs, although don’t share the same aesthetic appeal as hardwoods.

Average cost of a composite handrail: £120

Average stair railing installation cost: £100 – £150

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How long does it take to install a handrail?

Most handrail installations will take around two to three hours. However, if the job is more complex or the staircase is larger and needs prepping, the job can take a little longer (although shouldn’t exceed a day).

Can I fit my own handrail?

Due to the need to adhere to building safety regulations, as well as the complexity of a lot of fittings, we don’t recommend you install a handrail yourself. Instead, we suggest you find a professional tradesperson who can ensure your handrails are fitted safely and correctly. This will ensure your peace of mind and prevent further costs from catching you out later on.

Key insights

  • The average stair handrail installation cost is: £80.
  • The average time to install most handrails is: three hours.
  • Composite handrails offer more complex designs and are longer wearing.
  • Always hire a professional to fit your handrails due to safety regulations.

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