Adding and Installing Bar Rails

Installing Bar Foot Rails
There 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 bar 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.
 
Before you go any further, do you have questions related to a custom bend or installation? We do that too! You can request a consultation with our bar rail experts or give us a call at 1.866.249.2337.

Adding Foot Rails to Your Bar

When it comes to bar add-ons, installing bar foot rail should be at the top of your list. Foot rails, or bar rails, or bar foot rails, 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. Looking to do a DIY bar foot rail installation? It’s easier than you would think:

Bar Rail Components List

There are as many as six components in a bar foot rail system. You may not need all of them, but depending on the size and shape of your bar, you may need each to provide a comfortable place to rest your feet:

  • Tubing: Tubing is the metal rail where your feet rest.
  • Brackets: Bar rail brackets connect your bar rail to your bar and/or the floor. We have a variety of options to match the look and setup you’re trying to achieve.
  • End caps: End caps are the component where your bar rail comes to an end, of which we have decorative and standard options.
  • Elbows: Elbows connect your bar rail at curves or angles.
  • Splicers: Splicers go on the inside of your bar rail tubing to connect two pieces when you need longer than 8-feet of bar rail to fit your bar’s dimensions.
  • Wall flanges: depending on the setup of your bar, you may not need to use flanges. However, if installing against a wall or mounting to a floor, this component may be necessary for proper installation.

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 at least 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: Determine how much bar rail tubing 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 is sold in lengths of 2-feet, 4-feet, and 8-feet. 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. We also offer bar rail kits of 6-feet and 8-feet lengths for maximum installation ease.

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 3’2″ you will need to order a 4-foot piece of tubing, if your bar is 7’2″ you will need to order an 8-foot piece of tubing, and so on. 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 2: Select the type of bar foot rail 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. Consult our Bar Foot Rail Brackets Guide to learn about the look, height, and function of the many bracket styles we offer. 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. Select brackets that match the finish of your tubing, so they too will match the look and feel of your bar. 

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 3-4 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.

Step 4: Check whether you need any elbows, splicers, or wall flanges to complete your setup

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.

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.

Step 4: Select the finish that you would like to use

This is the most fun step. Shop by finish to choose from the many we offer, which allows you to match your bar rail tubing and other components to the unique look and feel of your bar:

Check out our Bar Rail Maintenance Sheet to learn more about caring for the different finishes we offer. For outdoor use, we recommend choosing the option of clear-coating for your bar rail when you order with us. This is a more costly option and may add 1-2 weeks of delivery time, but it will allow you to maintain your bar rail’s shine over time even if it is used for an outdoor bar.

Choose a finish you like based on its look, as well as one that you are willing to perform the required amount of maintenance on. As you’ll see from the sheet, some finishes are easier to maintain than others. Once you’ve decided on the finish you like, you’ll have to take some basic measurements to determine how much tubing you’ll need for your bar.

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.


Completing Your Bar Rail Installation

Tools You’ll Needtools

  • Electric Drill/Electric Screwdriver
  • Hack Saw/Cut-off Saw (if you need to cut tubing)
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • File (if you need to cut tubing)
  • 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. Though not applicable to every install, there are some special circumstances that may apply to your situation:

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. 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. 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.

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 yourself, 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.

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.

Standard Installation

Once you are comfortable with the placement of your 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.

assemble

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.

Once 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.

attach

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 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.

secure

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.

Adding Arm Rests to Your Bar

Completed your bar foot rail installation and looking to tackle your next bar project? Arm rests, or bar rail molding, add comfort and a professional touch to your bar. You can get them in metal or unstained wood to keep your look and feel consistent.

Wooden Bar Arm Rests

If you go with wooden arm rests, the first thing you’ll want to do is check out our blog on choosing and installing this vital component. Stain or paint the arm rests to match your bar and give them plenty of time to dry completely.

Follow the instructions on the blog to complete this 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.

Handrails

Handrails, or metal arm rests, are a very similar install to bar foot rails and also 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 bend. To make your bar look swanky and polished, the end caps go on both ends of the rail.

31 Comments

  • Anne June 25, 2015 @ 8:08pm

    Could the basic bar bracket be screwed into a wall stud with a lag bolt screw? You mention the need to access the back of the bar, but my bar is actually a cabinet with a counter 4″ below a taller bar counter that rests on traditional half wall (with wall studs). I need the rail about 14″ from the floor, so the basic bracket is the only option that would work.

    • Caleb Houseknecht June 26, 2015 @ 9:42am

      Hi there, Anne. That is a pretty technical questions, so I’m going to recommend you call one of our bar rail specialists at 1.888.737.6317. They will definitely be able to help you!

    • How was your issue resolved. April 10, 2017 @ 11:46pm

      Hi Anne, I currently have the same issue, so I would like to know how yours was resolved. I actually bought the wrong style so I am thinking of exchanging for the basic bracket so I can install at my required height.

  • john willman February 12, 2016 @ 4:54am

    I need to install a rail on a wall four feet up from the floor. This is to be used to steady a handicapped person during therapy. Traditional handrail brackets put the rail too close to the wall.
    How far up from the floor does a footrail bracket leave the rail? I need the measurement from floor to the bottom surface of the rail. I’m guessing this a standard height for bar rails. Thanks–john

    • Chris April 4, 2019 @ 10:17am

      Hi John,

      We do offer ADA compliant handrails in a grippable, diamond scale design. They are not recommended for use as a commercial bar foot rail though. For ADA compliance, handrails should be between 34″-38″ above walking surfaces, stair nosings, and ramp surfaces. They should also be at a consistent height.

  • Dan Edwards April 2, 2016 @ 1:45pm

    Can u tell me the dimensions of all bracket types you sell. What is the standard distance from the bar wall and the height of the top of foot rail. When I know these measurements I’m ready to order. Thanks. Dan

    • Caitlin Hartney April 6, 2016 @ 10:49am

      Hi, Dan. The dimensions for each bracket can be found on the individual product pages. As for your second question, the height from floor to rail is determined by the chairs you are going to use, but combo brackets are 6″ to center. If you need more specific help on product selection and home installation and product selection help, I recommend calling our Customer Care department at 877-636-3673. They have many years of experience helping people plan out their bar rail systems.

  • Jose Pilar June 6, 2016 @ 1:31pm

    Can the supports be screwed into a tile floor?

  • Scott July 7, 2016 @ 8:11pm

    How would I install your “Rounded Center Post Bracket – Polished Brass – 2″ OD

    Item # 00-336/2” on a tile floor that is layed on concrete slab? Do I need to embed threaded inserts in the slab first to accept the screws that will hold down the bracket’s bottom flange?

    • Caitlin Hartney July 8, 2016 @ 2:21pm

      Hi, Scott. Our specialists recommend getting brass-plated flat-head concert screws and concrete anchors, and advise that you pre-drill the holes with a concrete drill bit first. The other option is to insert anchors into the floor that they could score into. Either way, pre drilling will be required. But do exercise caution if drilling tile so as not to crack it. A diamond tipped drill bit would help with that.

      Let us know if you need any other help!

      http://www.thebuilderssupply.com/Richelieu-FKCS316114VP-Flat-Head-Concrete-Screw?gclid=CLmGvZSK5M0CFRNahgodwloN4w

  • Ron DiFranco November 11, 2016 @ 8:54am

    My bar owner has a curved bar, can the tubing be ordered curved?

    • Caitlin November 15, 2016 @ 9:03am

      Hi, Ron. Yes, bar rails can be curved to order and customized to the shape of your bar. If you want more information, you can speak to one of our bar rail specialists at 877-636-3673.

  • Joe March 16, 2017 @ 3:20pm

    Question on support brackets: I have a carpeted floor with padding and concrete slab underneath. Will combination brackets hold sufficiently on the carpet so I won’t have to cut into the carpet & padding and drill into the concrete?

    • Caitlin March 17, 2017 @ 2:21pm

      Hi, Joe. Combination Brackets are only mechanically fastened to the wall of the bar, not the floor. The lower leg only sits on the floor, so there would be no need to cut into the carpet. An alternative is our bar mount bracket if you have a way of fastening them properly.

  • Patty March 26, 2017 @ 8:44am

    I am installing the rail on a typical bar height island in my kitchen. I’m using the simple bracket. How far should the rail be mounted from the floor?

    • Caitlin April 3, 2017 @ 4:25pm

      Typically 7-8″ is a comfortable height for the rail to be above the floor. Hope this helps!

  • Steve May 11, 2017 @ 11:40am

    On the end caps, how are they secured in the end of the rails? When I put them in they fit loosely.
    On the brackets there is a hole on the underside of the bracket, is there a set screw that screws into that hole to secure the railing and what size would it be?

    • Caitlin May 17, 2017 @ 10:45am

      Hi, Steve. An adhesive can be used to secure the end caps. There are adhesives suitable for use on metal at any hardware store. Another easy way to rectify loose end caps is taking electrical tape and wrapping it tightly around the sleeve portion of the end cap. About 1.5 turns does the job and makes for a snugger fit. The brackets do have a holes for a screw. It is a self-drilling pan head screw which is supplied with the hardware that is included in the bracket.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Herb Schick June 19, 2017 @ 6:57pm

    When dealing with a bar that has a 45 on the corner, where would you place the brackets? The 45 is about 2 1/2 feet long.

    • Caitlin June 21, 2017 @ 1:22pm

      Hi, Herb. If you are using 2 brackets along a 45º corner on a bar that’s 2′-6″ long, we suggest having each bracket approximately 6″ from each corner.

  • Randy July 22, 2017 @ 7:27pm

    When using a combination bracket, is it necessary to screw down the part that rests on the floor. My floor is concrete.

  • Claudia April 8, 2018 @ 2:28pm

    My bar is 61 1/2” long. I do not have access to the back. How many combination brackets would I need?

    • Chris April 3, 2019 @ 4:02pm

      Hi Claudia,

      We recommend at least one bracket for every 4 feet of rail tubing, as well as one placed 6″ from each end of the tubing. In your case, 16 brackets should do the trick, though with corners in your bar, you may want to add extra support on either side of bar rail elbows.

  • Pete Polonsky July 12, 2018 @ 3:18pm

    Hi, my bar is on a carpeted floor. I was planning on using the brackets that go onto the bar and onto the floor. I am assuming I would need to go through the carpet and into the floor underneath?

    • Chris April 4, 2019 @ 9:12am

      Hi Pete,

      Yes, for combination brackets, you would drill into the facing of the bar as well as the floor. To avoid drilling into the floor, you could go with bar mount brackets, though you would need back access to your bar molding to install those. Other options, such as center post brackets, just drill into the facing of the bar.

      Check out our Bar Foot Rail Brackets Guide or feel free to contact our Customer Care team at 877.636.3673, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm EST with any additional questions. Cheers!

  • Elliott Schwab August 27, 2018 @ 10:07pm

    What is the height of the finished rail from the floor? Also, how far out from the bar from is the rail?

    • Chris September 25, 2018 @ 10:15am

      Hi Elliott,

      Check out our Bar Foot Rail Brackets Guide for exact dimensions from floor to rail and from rail to bar. They vary depending on the type of brackets you’re using, and that article mentions all of them. Please give our bar rail experts a call if you have any additional questions at 1.866.249.2337 or you can fill out this form on our website.

  • John October 3, 2018 @ 5:35pm

    What size drill bit should I use to create the pre-drilled holes for the self tapping set screws for the stainless steel tubing?

    • Chris October 4, 2018 @ 10:55am

      Hi John,

      We would recommend using a 1/16 drill bit to make the pre-drilled holes. Then use the self tapper screws but do it SLOWLY. Drilling the self tapping screws at too high a speed will cause the screw to just spin. We recommend going slow with the drill or even hand screwing it with an actual screwdriver once the holes are pre-drilled. Hope that helps!

      • Rick May 26, 2019 @ 6:00pm

        I think you’re kidding me about the self-tapping screws. I have the brushed stainless rail and have already drilled it with 1/16″ with no joy, snapped the screw off. Then 1/8″ hole and the screw still will not thread in, gets stuck and threatens to snap again. What’s the next idea?

        • Katie Johnson May 28, 2019 @ 2:19pm

          Hi Rick, Drilling a pilot hole and then using self-tapping screw should work. The only other suggestion would be to use a small amount of lubricating oil in the pilot hole before screwing the self tapper in. Stainless steel is meant to be drilled into very slowly. If you go too fast, you end up heating it and hardening it.

          Cheers!

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