Landing Becomes Living Space

We’re helping an ambitious homeowner who’s bitten off more than she can chew as we bring her project in for a landing.

Wyndy Grice bought a home that she shares with her 4-year-old daughter, Parker.

The project we’re here to help her with is an extension of the second-floor landing that was never quite completed.

Several months ago Wyndy hired a contractor to extend the second-floor landing over the two-story entryway in her home.

Once he completed the floor system, she planned to finish it herself. But the job was bigger than she expected so we’re jumping in to help to complete it.

The Projects


Pick Up Where the Contractor Left Off


The first step is squaring off the base for the handrail, which was mitered in the corner where the landing used to end.

Fortunately, this material is a stock piece of window stool, so all we have to do is cut a new piece to length and notch it around the newel post.

Once we secure the base to the landing, we can lay out the locations for the spindles. While Chelsea and Wyndy drill those holes, Danny cuts two new sections of handrail for either side of the newel post.

We need a drill press to ensure that the holes in the rail are perfectly square. So Wyndy’s step-dad, Dana, helps Danny manage these heavy pieces of oak.

We’re recycling the rosette that was used before to support the end of this rail where it meets the wall. But this time there isn’t a stud where it needs to be mounted.

As Danny cuts a hole in the drywall to add blocking he discovers there’s attic space behind the wall.

So all he has to do is screw a 2-by-4 between the studs on the attic side to provide adequate support for the rail.

Once the first section of rail finally falls in place, we have another challenge before we can assemble the second one.

For the next section, Dana has the idea to start with the spindles in the top rail.

Eventually, all the spindles find their holes so we can connect the handrails to the posts by countersinking long screws to secure them before filling the holes with putty.

After one day of work, we’ve turned Wyndy’s incomplete landing into legitimate living space by adding new, safer handrails.


  1. What was the name of the stain you used to make the stair rail go from an oak color to a dark color?
    Thank you.
    Phyllis Reavis

  2. I really enjoy your show. It’s inspiring to see each step of the project and all the helpful hints. I was hoping you could provide more information on the stain that was used for the railing in “Landing Project”. I really liked how it had a great deep luster. Thank you for keeping me motivated as I work my way through all my home improvement projects.

  3. I live in a mid 50’s Cape Cod type home in the Pittsburgh, PA area, with a single car garage. Sometime in the past, a layer of concrete, approximately an inch thick, was added to the floor, apparently to level it. Where the car tires travel, the concrete has become pocked, and in some places, delaminating from the old floor. If I were to use a floor leveling concrete product, would it be strong enough to hold up to a car parking on it on a daily basis? Would water, and or salt from the winter roads, deteriorate it? Can it be sealed with a concrete sealer? What is the maximum thickness a concrete leveling product can be applied?
    Love the show which I DVR weekly. Very practical issues that can be completed by most DIYers.
    Ed Schmidt

  4. next time you have to install many spindals, use a stiff paper or cardboard strip with holes to keep spindals aligined. to make removal easier cut from hole to edge. just watched that program.

  5. Comment on Ahh!! Kind of like magic, don’t you think?

    I really like reading the Tips for Today’s Homeowner with Danny


    Home Improvement and Do-It-Yourself projects are time well spent.

    It is nice to read about different things that can be done for a home.

    It can give someone ideas.

    It can also be very helpful to know this information when taking care

    of a home.


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