I am having a very difficult time finding a proper gate that will fit securely at the top of my stairs.

I may have a unique situation with the wooden banister where the base of the post has trim work that resembles the following... (ASCII art not to scale)

  |  |
  |  |     <- about 5"
   ||      <- about 24"
  |  |
  |  |     <- about 10"
  |  |
 |    |    <- about 2"
|______|   <- about 3"

I tried to mount a top of stair gate, but the 5" or so worth of trim forces me to attach the mounting brace to the 10" section of the post, leaving a 6"+ gap under the gate. This gap concerns me because I can easily see my 1yr old son scooting or rolling under the bar and possibly getting stuck (or worse).

No gate manufacturer recommends a pressure mounted gate at the top of stairs, but even they did recommend one, I would be unable to due to the trim work on the banister.

I'm definitely worried now because my son is mobile and I can't find a way to secure the stairs. I don't have any other anchor points for a gate (i.e., hallway, doorway, etc.)

Has somebody successfully secured their stairs with this type of post and if so can you post pictures?

  • A gate that screws to the post and the wall opposite might be your only option, but I would be interested to hear if the folks over at Home Improvement had a better idea. – HedgeMage Jul 12 '11 at 7:03
  • @HedgeMage: I thought about doing that, but this specific gate I tried had a warning not to mount the mounting brace to drywall when using the gate at the top of stairs. – Tim Reddy Jul 12 '11 at 12:54
  • Right, I wouldn't screw it into just drywall, but there should be wood behind the drywall near a corner. You can use a stud finder to be sure. Be careful of metal corner protectors if your house has them. – HedgeMage Jul 13 '11 at 2:57

it might not be pretty but have you considered screwing a plank onto the side of the post, with a spacer block at the top? You could easily mount a gate onto that plank. This probably works best if your post is rectangular when seen from above, less so if it's round.

I've reused your illustration to clarify:

  |  |XX||
   ||   ||
   ||   ||
   ||   ||
  |  |  ||
  |  |  ||
 |    | ||
  • Interesting idea...I'm not handy so are you aware of any "kits" that might be available online? – Tim Reddy Jul 12 '11 at 12:54
  • Sorry, I don't know any kits. Take some measurements and photos, then go to your local DYI store and ask for help. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 12 '11 at 14:18
  • 2
    Depending on the gate's design, you don't necessarily need the plank, just the spacer where it attaches. Doesn't have to be ugly, either. No reason not to paint or stain the additional wood to match. – Karl Bielefeldt Jul 12 '11 at 15:16

I just randomly ran into the Stairway Gate Installation Kit (K12) by KidCo, which appears to be exactly the solution to the problem for Kidco brand gates. It also appears to do no permanent damage to the stairs.


In the recent past, searching for a "puppy gate" at the time. I saw a gate in which all four posts had adjustable with bolts to help when mounting to uneven surfaces. It was a lot like this one which also has an awkward bannister setup and I believe may illustrate TorbenGB♦'s suggestion as well.

Good luck

PS: Awesome ASCII art!!!

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