Baby Gates

How to Install Baby Gates in Stairs with Banisters

Naomi Lambert

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Installing a baby gate in stairs with banisters can be easier if you don’t mind drilling the wall but may require more steps if you want to install it without drilling.

I remember brainstorming intensively on the challenge of childproofing the stairs. At first, I didn’t think it would be too difficult. The thing is, mounting safety gates on stairs is a breeze at the top because there are walls on both sides. But when it comes to the bottom, it can get a bit tricky with the wall on one side and the banister on the other.

Below is a typical stairs with a banister at the bottom of the stairs;

image showing stairs with banister

I’ve seen people resolve similar challenging situations by getting a Retract-a-gate to cover the opening in the stairs. They installed the gate on the front of the wall and used hooks to secure it onto the banister, slightly elevated. Retract-a-gates may be pricey but are durable and can be used in seemingly impossible situations.

Mounting options for stairs with banisters:

Option 1: Drilling into the Wall

Installing a baby gate with banisters can be made easier by drilling holes into the wall for mounting hardware. This is a common method and is usually recommended for better stability and security, especially if you have active or curious children who may try to push or climb the gate.

To do this, you’ll need a power drill and the appropriate drill bit for your wall type. Measure the distance between the banister and the wall and make sure to get a baby gate that fits the gap. Then follow these steps:

  1. Mark where you want to position the gate on both sides of the stairs.
  2. Use a level to make sure the gate will be straight.
  3. Drill holes into the wall at the marked spots.
  4. Insert wall anchors into the drilled holes and screw in the mounting hardware.
  5. Attach one end of the gate to the hardware on one side, then extend it and attach to the other side.
  6. Test the stability of the gate by pushing and pulling on it.
  7. Adjust and tighten the mounting hardware if needed.

While drilling may seem like a permanent solution, it is important to note that it can leave holes in your walls, which may not be ideal for renters or those who prefer minimal damage to their home. Additionally, some banister types may not allow for drilling, so this option may not work for everyone.

If you’re installing on top of the stairs and one side of the stairs has a banister, consider Kidco which is our third pick on our list of gates suitable for stairs with banisters.

Check out no-drill safety gates here.

Option 2: Pressure mounting:

Another common method for installing a baby gate with banisters is pressure mounting. This involves using tension rods to secure the gate in place without any drilling or permanent damage to your walls. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure the distance between the banister and wall to determine the size of tension rod needed.
  2. Place one end of the tension rod against the banister and the other against the opposite wall.
  3. Twist or turn the tension rod until it is securely in place.
  4. Test the stability of the gate by pushing and pulling on it.
  5. Adjust and tighten the tension rod if needed.

One important thing to note about pressure mounting is that it may not be suitable for all types of banisters or walls, as some may not provide enough pressure for a secure fit. It is important to read the instructions and consider the materials of your banisters and walls before choosing this installation method.

It is also important to regularly check and adjust the tension rod, as it can loosen over time with use. This method may also not be suitable for areas where there is heavy traffic or if the gate will be frequently used by older children or adults, as it may not withstand high levels of pressure.

Option 3: Using grips and ties:

Another alternative for installing a baby gate with banisters is using grips and ties. This method involves attaching the gate to the banister using adhesive or cable ties, providing a secure and stable fit without any drilling.

Here’s how to install a baby gate with grips and ties:

  1. Measure the distance between the banister and wall to determine the size of adhesive needed.
  2. Clean and dry both the banister and wall surface where the adhesive will be placed.
  3. Attach the adhesive to the back of the gate, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  4. Press the gate against the banister and hold firmly for a few minutes to allow the adhesive to bond.
  5. Secure any loose edges or corners with additional adhesive or cable ties.
  6. Check the stability of the gate by pulling and pushing on it, making sure it is securely attached to both the banister and wall.
  7. Adjust and tighten any loose ties or adhesive as needed.

This method may be more suitable for areas with heavy traffic or if the gate will be used frequently by older children or adults, as it provides a strong and stable installation. However, it may not be the best option for banisters with intricate designs or if you want to easily remove the gate without leaving any marks on your walls.

It is important to regularly check and reapply adhesive or tighten ties as needed to ensure the gate remains secure. Additionally, be cautious when removing the gate, as the adhesive may leave residue on your banister or wall.

Tools you’ll need to install safety gates in stairs with banisters:

  • Baby gate with hardware mounting kit
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Adhesive or cable ties (if using the adhesive method)
  • Level (optional, but recommended for ensuring a straight installation)
  • Pencil (for marking the placement of the gate)
  • Scissors (if using cable ties to secure loose edges or corners)
  • Optional: masking tape, drill, anchors (if necessary)
  • Cleaning supplies (to remove any residue from adhesive)
  • Extra hardware (if needed, depending on the type of banister and wall materials)

When purchasing a baby gate for stairs with a banister, consider those that come with hardware so you don’t have to purchase additional gear. Also, get brands that are extendable such as Cardinal Gates SS30 with 10 ½ inch and 21 ¾ inch extension.

Some brands such as the Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Baby Gate come with a hardware mounting kit, making it suitable for both types of installation methods.

11 Steps to Install baby gate at the bottom of Stairs

Step 1: Choose the Right Gate:

Choose a baby gate that is specifically designed for stairs with banisters and has hardware mounting options. When selecting a gate, ensure it is JPMA-certified and ensure that it does not have a threshold bar at the bottom, as this can lead to tripping accidents. Additionally, the gate should have vertical slats to prevent active toddlers from climbing.

We have a list of safety gates most suitable for stairs with banisters here.

Here is a helpful guide on how to choose a baby gate

Step 2: Measure the Staircase Opening:

When adjusting the gate width, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider your own measurements. In the United States, residential stairs must adhere to the IRC stairs code, which specifies a minimum width of 36 inches, and your stair opening should be around this size. Safety gates for stairs with banisters such as Toddleroo By North State measure 28 inches and width but can be extended up to 48 inches.

Step 3: Assemble the Gate:

Some baby gates come fully assembled, while others require assembly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and assemble all necessary parts before starting the installation process.

Step 4: Prep your Tools:

Before beginning installation, make sure you have all the necessary tools at hand, including a level, measuring tape, pencil, screwdriver or drill with appropriate bits, and mounting hardware included with the gate.

Step 5: Install Mounting Hardware:

Depending on your stair configuration, you may need to install additional mounting hardware, such as brackets, spacers or adapters. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure a secure installation.

Step 6: Mark Drill Holes:

Using a pencil and measuring tape, mark where the mounting hardware will be placed on both sides of the stair opening. Make sure the markings are level and evenly spaced.

Step 7: Drill Holes:

Using a drill with the appropriate bit, drill holes at each marked location. If drilling into wood, be careful not to split or damage it.

Step 8: Attach Hardware:

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the hardware to the stair opening. Make sure everything is securely attached and level.

Step 9: Attach Gate:

Most gates come with a mounting bracket or hinge system that allows for easy attachment and removal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the gate to the hardware.

Step 10: Test the Gate:

Once installed, test the gate by gently pushing and pulling on it to ensure it is securely in place. Make any necessary adjustments or tighten any loose hardware.

Step 11: Double Check:

After installation, double check all the hardware and attachments to make sure everything is secure and the gate is functioning properly.

Tips for installing safety gates in stairs with banisters:

  • Read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully.
  • Choose a gate that is specifically designed for use on staircases with banisters.
  • It’s best to choose a gate that opens on both sides so you have the option to open it in either direction.
  • Measure and mark where you want to place the gate before starting installation.
  • If the banister is made from wood, use screws to mount the gate for added stability and if made from metal, use the hardware provided by the manufacturer.
  • Make sure the gate is level before securing it in place.
  • If using adhesive to secure the gate, thoroughly clean and dry the surface beforehand for better adhesion.
  • You can use cable ties to secure any loose edges or corners of the gate.
  • If the banister is made of wrought iron, you can use adhesive or cable ties to secure the gate in place.
  • Teach your child about stair safety and how to use the gate properly once it is installed.

How do you attach a baby gate to a banister using pre-drilled holes:

To attach a baby gate to a banister using pre-drilled holes, first ensure the gate is compatible, then align the gate’s pre-drilled holes with those on the banister, insert screws or bolts through the aligned holes, tighten them securely using appropriate tools, test the gate for stability and smooth operation, and regularly check for wear or damage while following the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously.

Brands such as Summer Infant can be installed in this method as shown in the video below;

How do you attach a baby gate to a banister using fasteners:

To attach a baby gate to a banister using fasteners, let’s start by positioning the gate where you need it. Then, securely attach the gate’s straps or clamps to the banister, making sure they’re aligned properly and nice and tight. After that, give the gate a good test to ensure it’s stable and operates smoothly. Remember to regularly inspect for any wear or damage, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal safety for your child.

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