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Firm Fixings in a Plasterboard Wall?

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MayKitt

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I am trying to fix the final run of a Mopstick handrail up a half-turn staircase. I am using the standard Mopstick brackets. All the rail is in place, with sound fixings, save the last 1.5m (approx). This final run has to be fixed on an existing studwork wall, The studwork also serves as the route for cables from the ground floor to the first floor. The rail is 880mm above the height of the treads below. I have been able to get a firm fixing through to a stud at the upper end but not at the lower end.

At the lower end, all my investigations have failed to find a stud or noggin, in a suitable place. Is there a means of attaching the Mopstick brackets through the plasterboard to give a fixing that I could be confident enough with so as to use it as a handrail?

Solutions, thoughts, and experiences would be most welcome!
 

Cabinetman

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I am trying to fix the final run of a Mopstick handrail up a half-turn staircase. I am using the standard Mopstick brackets. All the rail is in place, with sound fixings, save the last 1.5m (approx). This final run has to be fixed on an existing studwork wall, The studwork also serves as the route for cables from the ground floor to the first floor. The rail is 880mm above the height of the treads below. I have been able to get a firm fixing through to a stud at the upper end but not at the lower end.

At the lower end, all my investigations have failed to find a stud or noggin, in a suitable place. Is there a means of attaching the Mopstick brackets through the plasterboard to give a fixing that I could be confident enough with so as to use it as a handrail?

Solutions, thoughts, and experiences would be most welcome!
Well I’m sure you know there are lots of products that claim the Earth, but that could potentially have a lot of force put onto it. I think if it was me and I wanted to be really sure of it, I would cut a slit into the plasterboard somewhere above and slide a length of 18mm ply to the desired spot and screw into that, (I didn’t say it would be easy) you would probably need to use a very long screw initially to pull the plywood against the back of the plasterboard by hand. Ian
 

Ozi

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In a similar situation fixing a hand rail when mum was getting a bit frail I cut out plasterboard to fit a noggin then decided to fit 3 noggins the top and bottom ones only lightly attached half under the existing plasterboard to support the infilling plasterboard, ended up skimming an area about 9" by 16". It was a bit of a faff but with a hand rail you don't want to take chances.
 

RichardG

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Geefix are the strongest fixings I have found for plasterboard but I wouldn’t use them on a handrail, Ozi‘s answer is the way to go. It sounds awful but doesn’t take that long and with a quick dry plaster you can do it in a few hours.

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MayKitt

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Thanks for the replies and advice.

I think if it was me and I wanted to be really sure of it, I would cut a slit into the plasterboard somewhere above and slide a length of 18mm ply to the desired spot and screw into that, (I didn’t say it would be easy) you would probably need to use a very long screw initially to pull the plywood against the back of the plasterboard by hand. Ian
Would the addition of an adhesive to the plywood help locate it or am I getting the wrong idea? Does the plywood have to have a fairly snug fit between the studs?

In a similar situation fixing a hand rail when mum was getting a bit frail I cut out plasterboard to fit a noggin then decided to fit 3 noggins the top and bottom ones only lightly attached half under the existing plasterboard to support the infilling plasterboard, ended up skimming an area about 9" by 16". It was a bit of a faff but with a hand rail you don't want to take chances.
With this method, how easy is it to fit the first noggin? I'm guessing your aperture was cut sufficiently wide to get good access to the point where the noggin met the stud so that you could get a nail or screw it in place?
 

Spectric

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Cabinet man has the right idea, any other method would just be a point load on the plasterboard wheras backing it will spread the load. If you have any doubt then going the whole hog like Ozi would be a really strong solution but more mess and repair of the wall.
 

Cabinetman

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Thanks for the replies and advice.



Would the addition of an adhesive to the plywood help locate it or am I getting the wrong idea? Does the plywood have to have a fairly snug fit between the studs?



With this method, how easy is it to fit the first noggin? I'm guessing your aperture was cut sufficiently wide to get good access to the point where the noggin met the stud so that you could get a nail or screw it in place?
No adhesive needed really you’re just relying on the plasterboard being the meat in the sandwich between the ply and handrail, You could if you wanted to screw through the plasterboard into the plywood just hold it in place which isn’t really necessary, you would be really surprised how strong this method can be and of course you only have one slit to then repair. Ian
 

MayKitt

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No adhesive needed really you’re just relying on the plasterboard being the meat in the sandwich between the ply and handrail,
...so the ply spreads the load of the rail bracket fastenings? I guess that a decent-sized slit is needed to 'post' the ply, at an angle, through the plasterboard? The long screw presumably is pre-fixed at the top of the ply and it pokes out through the slit? I guess you must be able to but driving a screw into the ply, which is just being hand-held by the screw must be difficult? ...or am I missing something?!
 

okeydokey

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Getting plywood behind where the bracket will be fixed seems best so that the load being pulled by hand pressure in any direction on the handrail will be spread. Perhaps make a rectangular hole big enough to get your hand in to say the right of the fixing point - eight or more inches away will (this all depends on how much space there is between the plaster board facing you and whatever is behind) insert as large a section of ply (or skirting board/softwood suchlike) as you can and hold it in position then with your other hand drill a pilot hole through the plasterboard and the ply then you will be able to screw into the plasterboard and (ply) wood to hold it in position. And then drill pilot holes through (plasterboard and plywood) where the brackets will be fitted then screw the brackets into the ply/other wood as final fixing. Then place some softwood inside and across your cutout hole, glue it to the plasterboard and when thats set, replace the bit you cut out (glue it to that batten) and make good the edges around the cut out. Sounds alright in principle hope it works in practice.
 

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Thanks for the replies and advice.



Would the addition of an adhesive to the plywood help locate it or am I getting the wrong idea? Does the plywood have to have a fairly snug fit between the studs?



With this method, how easy is it to fit the first noggin? I'm guessing your aperture was cut sufficiently wide to get good access to the point where the noggin met the stud so that you could get a nail or screw it in place?
Reasonably easy, I pre-drilled the noggin to fit two angled screws at each end so had all 4 in place as it went into the hole, then just a matter of driving them home. The upper and lower noggins were just there to support the plaster board so only had one screw at each end.
 

Ozi

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Cabinetman

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I must admit to being slightly confused/mistaken I thought we were dealing with a pigs ear handrail but it should still work with metal brackets. No the long screw is as follows, post the ply through the slot probably with a bit of string on it so that you don’t drop it and then the long screw is to go through the plasterboard and hit the plywood somewhere at the bottom so you can then pull the plywood towards you onto the back of the plasterboard to enable you to screw the bracket through and into the plywood, and then as okey-dokey said. Ian
 

TRITON

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Possibly look to fix the handrail mount first to a wide piece of timber or ply, and attach that to the board. The smal section of the original mount is close together, so theres a tendency to rip out which you are worried about, but spread the load across a wider area, it i think will offer more support and make the attachment more robust and less likely to tear through.

But also is the handrail not supported by the rest of the fixings,which are into solid timber, or is this piece a separate section. If its part of the whole, the rest of the fixings and mounts are taking the majority of the weight/strain, and its only one short section thats not
 

Sachakins

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I think for piece of mind, and have done myself, would open up stud wall, attach noggins to studs or fit extra studs, and make good the plaster work and any decor, every other solution has a good possibility of being OK. But for me that also means the possibility of not being ok, so extra studwork was my route. (Same as Ozi)
 

glenfield2

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I think for piece of mind, and have done myself, would open up stud wall, attach noggins to studs or fit extra studs, and make good the plaster work and any decor, every other solution has a good possibility of being OK. But for me that also means the possibility of not being ok, so extra studwork was my route. (Same as Ozi)
I would go that way too - often what seems the most radical solution because it’s out of our comfort zone is actually the easiest and best. Invisibly re-skimming a plasterboard patch Is a doddle for a decent plasterer.
 

Ozi

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Not claiming to be a decent plasterer I cut the hole to a size where I could run opposite corners of the float across the original plaster, then you really are just filling a hole rather than re-plastering may be only psychological but it seemed easier
 

Dazed

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Sometimes shortcuts work, sometimes not. It's different doing it for yourself and when you're being paid.

DIY - time isn't so important, so maybe try a shortcut, but be prepared for a longer job than it would have been if you'd taken the more robust route to begin with.
Trade - then fiddling about trying to minimise perceived disruption nearly always worked out more expensive in the long run.

If you start out with everything in place beforehand knowing what you're going to do then it really doesn't take nearly as long as you think it will. Paint, plaster/easyfill, plasterboard, noggins, studs etc.
Steve
 

mikej460

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If you plumb for the noggin solution then you could carefully cut out or core drill the hole(s), fit the noggins then refit the cut-out plasterboard with builders adhesive (onto noggin plasterboard face and also plasterboard joints) followed by a thin line of filler in the joint gaps. I've used this technique many times as I'm a rubbish plasterer.
 
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