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Adding and Installing Bar Rails

Installing Bar Foot Rails

 

Shop Bar Foot RailsThere is nothing like pulling a stool up to a well-designed and well-built bar. Few accessories can take your bar to the level of authenticity and comfort that foot rails can. Along with arm rests, bar rails add a touch of class that make an ordinary home bar extraordinary and with KegWorks, they're easy to order and install.


Adding Foot Rails to Your Bar

When it comes to bar add-ons, installing a foot rail should be at the top of your list. Foot rails, or bar rails as some call them, are available in various styles and finishes, to fit your personal style and preferences. Plus, they're customizable so you can make them work with a bar of any shape or size.

Video: Learn How to Install Bar Foot Rails

There are three main components in a foot rail system that all fit together to provide a comfortable place to rest your feet: railing/tubing, brackets, end caps and elbows.


Tubing

The tubing is the actual metal rail that you will rest your feet on. Choose from finishes like polished brass, polished stainless steel, satin stainless steel and unstained wood, to match the unique look and feel of your bar. Brass foot rails seem to be the most popular choice but for outdoor use, stainless steel rails are your best bet, as they have increased durability. Once you've decided on the finish you'd like, you'll have to take some basic measurements to determine how much tubing you'll need for your bar.

Measure for Your Bar Rails

First, measure each side of the bar that will have a foot railing and make a simple sketch of your foot rail.

It's helpful to make a virtual rail on the floor around your bar, with string or painters tape; doing this will help you to visualize how much space you'll need for your foot rail.

Once you have laid out your design on the floor, measure each section to calculate how much tubing you will need. Tubing comes in lengths up to 8 feet, so if your bar is longer than that, you may have to join two pieces of tubing together to make a rail that fits your bar perfectly. Connecting the pieces is easy with a splicer, an internal connector that you insert into the end of each tube.

When you're determining the length of a tube that will be connected to an elbow and joined with another tube (to round a corner), remember to include the dimensions of your bracket in your measurements.

When ordering tubing, it's always wise to round up to the nearest foot. It's much easier (and cheaper) to cut off excess tubing than it is to connect more.

Next you'll want to determine the number of brackets that you will need to order.


Brackets

To support your foot rail you'll need to install brackets that hold the tubing in place and provide stability for the tubing. Select your brackets from a variety of styles and finishes, so they too will match the look and feel of your bar. There are bracket styles that mount right to the bar face, floor mounting brackets and combination style brackets to choose from and all available in an assortment of finishes.

You'll want to make sure your foot rail has the right amount of support, so you'll need a bracket 6-inches from the end of your tubing or elbow and an additional bracket for every 4-feet of tubing to ensure that your foot rail is nice and sturdy. For example, if you have 8-feet of tubing, you'll need 1 bracket on each end and 1 in the center, for a total of 3 brackets.

Measuring for brackets and fittings is especially important when your foot rail turns corners. For example, if you select a bracket that holds the rail 6-inches from the face of the bar, that bracket will add nearly 6-inches to the overall length of rail you will need. So, add the length of the bracket, minus the dimensions of the elbow you will be using.

There are elbows with 90- and 135-degree bends, so you can choose which works best with the layout of your bar.

Once you've determined how many brackets, splicers and elbows you'll need for your project, make a detailed list of those parts, including sizes and quantities. A written list will be a huge help when ordering.


End Caps

Adding end caps to your foot rail adds style and a finished look. You can choose from rounded, flat or decorative end caps that all come in a variety of finishes. Whether your end caps are sleek and simple or detailed and ornate, either way they're super easy to install!

If you're looking to use metal end caps with a wooden rail, just make sure to select end caps that are marked as "external fittings". External Fittings are components that fit around the outer diameter the tubing and our wooden rails are solid, so your end caps need to fit around the wood.


Before You Order Your Bar Rails

Planning is important to ensure that you purchase the correct components needed for your foot rail.

Remember that you will need three main components: tubing, brackets and end caps. You may also need tube splices, elbows or wall flanges, depending on your bar's layout.

Here are simple steps to take before your order, to ensure that you get exactly what you will need for the perfect foot rail system.


Step 1: Select the type of finish that you would like to use

Step 2: Determine how much bar rail you will need

You should measure very carefully before you order bar foot railing. measureFirst, measure each side of the bar that will have a foot railing and make a simple sketch of your foot rail.

It's helpful to make a virtual rail on the floor around your bar, with string or painters' tape; doing this will help you to visualize how much space you'll need for your foot rail.

Once you have laid out your design on the floor, measure each section to calculate how much tubing you will need. Tubing comes in lengths from 2-feet to 8-feet, in one-foot increments. So if your bar is longer than 8-feet, you may have to join two pieces of tubing together to make a rail that fits your bar perfectly. Connecting the pieces is easy with a splicer, an internal connector that you insert into the end of each tube.

When you're determining the length of a tube that will be connected to an elbow and joined with another tube (to round a corner), remember to include the dimensions of your bracket in your measurements.

When ordering tubing, it's always wise to round up to the nearest foot. If your bar is not an even full foot increment (i.e. 6', 7'), but rather has some inch increment (i.e. 6'2", 7'2") you will need to order up to the next foot. So if your bar is 6'2" you will need to order a 7-foot piece of tubing, if your bar is 7'2" you will need to order an 8-foot piece of tubing. When installing your tubing you will need to cut the rail with a miter saw. It's much easier (and cheaper) to cut off excess tubing than it is to connect more.

Step 3: Select the type of bar brackets you will use

To support your foot rail you'll need to install brackets that hold the tubing in place and provide stability for the tubing. Select your brackets from a variety of styles and finishes, so they too will match the look and feel of your bar.

How your bar is set up and what materials it is made of may affect your selection of bar brackets. Each of the following options comes in brass and stainless steel.

basicBracket Basic Bar Brackets
The basic bar bracket mounts directly to the face of your bar, so to install this kind of bracket, you will need access to the back of your bar. It's easy to mount these bar brackets to the face of the bar with a bolt, however you may need to add depth to the face of your bar to support the weight of the bolt.
floorBracket Floor Mount Bar Brackets
These brackets bear their weight from your bar floor only. Typically, these work best when working on hard wood flooring, as they mount into your floor with screws.
combinationBracket Combination Bar Brackets
Combination brackets, the most popular type of bracket, mount both to the floor and to the face of your bar. Thus, the weight of the tubing is split between the floor and the face of the bar. As these use regular screws and the floor for support, when installing you do not need access to the back of the bar to secure a bolt.

Step 4: Determine how many bar brackets you will need

You'll want to make sure your foot rail has the right amount of support, so you'll need a bracket 6-inches from the end of your tubing or elbow and an additional bracket for every 4-feet of tubing to ensure that your foot rail is nice and sturdy. For example, if you have 8-feet of tubing, you'll need 1 bracket on each end and 1 in the center, for a total of 3 brackets.

Measuring for brackets and fittings is especially important when your foot rail turns corners. For example, if you select a bracket that holds the rail 6-inches from the face of the bar, that bracket will add nearly 6-inches to the overall length of rail you will need. So, add the length of the bracket, minus the dimensions of the elbow you will be using.

There are elbows with 90- and 135-degree bends, so you can choose which works best with the layout of your bar.

Once you've determined how many brackets, splicers and elbows you'll need for your project, make a detailed list of those parts, including sizes and quantities. A written list will be a huge help when ordering.

Step 5: Select the type and number of end caps

Adding end caps to your foot rail adds style and a finished look. You can choose from rounded, flat or decorative end caps that all come in a variety of finishes. Whether your end caps are sleek and simple or detailed and ornate, either way they're super easy to install!

If you're looking to use metal end caps with a wooden rail, just make sure to select end caps that are marked as "external fittings". External Fittings are components that fit around the outer diameter the tubing and our wooden rails are solid, so your end caps need to fit around the wood.


DIY Bar Rails Installation Instructions

Installing bar foot rails is a rather easy project. This guide will walk you through what you need make it happen.


Tools for Installation

You'll Need:tools

  • Electric Drill/Electric Screwdriver
  • Hack Saw/Cut-off Saw
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • File
  • Channel Lock Pliers

Preparing for Installation

When installing bar foot rails, preparation is key. A little bit of prep will eliminate waste and/or mistakes.

Make it easy for yourself and follow our detailed preparation instructions.

Our tubing is sent to you wrapped in a layer of plastic film to protect the metal finish. You should try to keep this covering in place as long as possible while you're working on installing your rails. The film will help to protect your rails from scratches or dings that could damage them during installation.

If you need to cut or lengthen the standard lengths or tubing, it is necessary for you to make those adjustments before assembling your system. To do this, first, measure and mark where you will need to cut your tubing. When determining tube cut lengths, keep in mind that the splicing joints should be hidden within a bracket. Make sure that you double-check all of your measurements before you cut.

See How to Cut Tubing Instructions.

Once your tubing is the ideal length, loosely assemble the foot rail by sliding the tubing through the brackets. Don't get too excited and get ahead of assembleyourself, you don't want to attach tubing to the brackets with setscrews, or attach the brackets to wall just yet.

Next, you'll want to use a pencil to mark where your brackets will go on the bar face. To hold the screws in place, the bracket requires a solid backing at least 3/4-inch deep, so now is a good time to make sure that your surface is able to support the brackets.


Installation

Once you are comfortable with the placement of attachyour brackets and rails, you're ready to attach them to your bar or wall.

Begin by attaching the brackets securely to the wall with mounting screws along the first straight section of your bar.

If you're installing your rail around a corner, you'll need to securely attach the elbow to the installed foot rail first. Then, attach the second loosely assembled foot rail section to the elbow.

secureOnce all of your brackets are firmly installed, secure the loose tubing to the brackets with setscrews.

You're almost done! All that's left to do is attach your end caps and secure any finials and elbows.

Some end caps require setscrews whereas others simply slide into or over your tubing.

If your end caps do require setscrews, it is possible that you may need to drill pilot holes to attach them.

If this is the case, see How to Drill Holes Instructions.

If you're using a wall flange in place of a support bracket, make sure to slide the flange onto the tube before securing that section of foot rail to the bar. Remember that you can only replace a support bracket with a flange, if the flange is mounted to a solid backing.


Special Circumstances

Cutting Tubing

You may have to make adjustments to the length of the tubing that you purchase, to make it the perfect size for your bar. Tubing typically comes in lengths from 2-feet to 8-feet, so if the front face of your bar is 9-feet you will need to buy an 8-foot piece of tubing and a 2-foot piece of tubing. You'll want to cut the 2-foot piece and join the two sections.

For Brass Tubing:

  • You can use either a hacksaw or a powered radial arm saw to cut brass tubing.
  • It is very important that your cuts be square to the length of the tube.
  • If you are using a hacksaw, use a miter box to be sure your cuts are straight.
  • If you are using a powered radial saw arm, use a fine-toothed blade or an abrasive wheel.
  • After cutting the rail, you will want to file it to smooth the edge.

For Stainless Steel Tubing:

  • Stainless steel is a harder alloy than brass so for stainless steel tubing you'll want to use a powered radial arm saw with a carbide tip blade.
  • It is very important that your cuts be square to the length of the tube.
  • As with the brass tubing, you'll want to file stainless steel after you've cut it, to smooth the edge.

Splicing

To join two pieces of tubing together, you will need to insert internal connectors called splices. Splices are typically metal pieces that are inserted into the end of each tube. We're fond of brass splices, as brass is softer and easier to bend and insert into tubing.

To insert a splice into a tube, compress the splice with a pair of channel lock pliers and push the splice into the end of the first piece of tubing. Then, do the same with the other end of the splice and insert it into the second piece of tubing that you want to connect.

For the best look, you'll want to make sure that that the not-so-good looking joints are concealed inside of a fitting.


Drilling Holes

We're all about convenience here at KegWorks, so when you buy foot rail components from us, the setscrews that come with them are self-drilling/self-tapping.


Wall Anchors

Using wall studs is ideal, when installing anything that will bear weight and provide support. If it isn't possible to use studs, you can use a wall anchor instead, however it is important to determine the correct size and type that you need.

Should you require wall anchors, we suggest a trip to your local hardware store. Wall anchors come in a variety of sizes and types. The professionals at the hardware store should be able to answer any questions that you might have regarding the best wall anchor for your job.


Video: Learn How to Install Bar Foot Rails


Adding Arm Rests to Your Bar

Arm rests add comfort and a professional touch to your bar. You can get 'em in metal or unstained wood to keep your look and feel consistent.

Wooden Arm Rests
If you go with wooden arm rails, the first thing you'll want to do is stain or paint the arm rests to match your bar and give them plenty of time to dry completely.

Installing wooden arm rests is a fairly simple process. It is most common to glue the lip of the arm rest to the front corner of the bar and then use finishing nails to secure it. Then, you can brace the underside of the arm rest with a 1" x 4" (or appropriate sized) piece of wood, depending on how far the top of the bar overhangs the front.

Metal Arm Rests
Metal arm rests are also easy to install and they're available in several finishes. Just like foot rails, metal arm rests have 3 components: the rail, the bracket, and the end caps. First, the rail extends the length of the bar and gives people something to lean on. The brackets are used to connect the rails to the bar and hold the rail up. The brackets should be installed at least every 4-feet to make sure the rails don't bed. To make your bar look swanky and polished, the end caps go on both ends of the rail.