16 March 2009

Babyproof your stairs without drilling into the bannister

Rachel's got a great tip for babyproofing the stairs:

My husband and I have been wanting to install a baby gate at the bottom of our steps, but I didn't want to drill into our banister. There are banister kits available, but they seemed pretty pricey for what they were. We went to our home improvement store and had them cut a 2x2 to the height of our banister. I stained it to match and then we attached it to the banister using zip-ties. Now we are able to contain our little climber with out having to damage our woodwork.

Related: Dog bed as staircase landing pad

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Ha, I did the same thing except I found a 1x1 wooden post in their patio section (made for deck railing). Didn't have to cut or stain it. Also used zip ties. It works perfectly.

How funny I have been looking for a solution other than the $40x2 banister kits that were sold at the store. We just did something similar to this two days ago. Out stairs were too wide to fit a standard gate so we used a 2x4 on one side and a 4x6 on the other. The zip ties were to short to go around the whole post so we used velcro straps that we found at the hardware store. I also use a long piece of fabric wrapped through my banisters at the top of the stairs to keep my twins from falling through.

I guess my dad really doesn't do anything halfway! He actually created a sort of box of wood that went around the square part of the banister to hold the board on. He even stained it.

Also, since the studs on the wall side were nowhere near where I needed to put the gate, he put a 1x6 flat against the wall. The board was wide enough that it was screwed into the stud at one side, and the gate attached to the other side.

We did something similar. Now with 4 boys we have a lot of wear and tear and there was some scratching of the banister. So my suggestion is to put something between your 2 pieces. We ended up adding plastic grabber things that kept wood on wood action to a minimum.

Multiple zip ties together should solve most width problems. Just pull the male end of one through the female end of another. I use that a lot working with computer cable.

We just bought a kit that let us drill into a piece of wood and not our banister. Works great.

Thanks for the GREAT 'hack'! I've really wanted to buy the gate with the door that swings open but haven't figured out how to make it secure without drilling into the wood so we are stuck with taking the gate down every time we want to get up/through the stairs. I've sent this to my husband already so hopefully installation will be complete by this weekend!

Great one, here's a similar mod from Toolmonger (with pic)
Toolmonger Baby Gate Mod

Apparently, html doesn't work in the comments, so there's the link to the Toolmonger baby gate mod http://toolmonger.com/2008/12/02/babygate-mod/

What's the URL for the post on Rachel's? A search there didn't turn it up.

Be careful using only tiewraps/ zipties - they may not be strong enough. We originally did this but found it too weak. Instead we just got some 1x6's on either side of our 4x4 bannister and bolted them together with long carriage bolts - I can't move it now!

I rent and I've done a similar hack, but first I wrapped the (white) wood in white cloth to protect it. I used packing tape (many wraps around the wood are very, very strong) to secure my "temporary" wooden posts to the cloth-wrapped banisters. Then I put a second cloth wrap around the tape to make things look good.

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