This DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs kept my kids safe for 4 years and leaves no damage to walls or stairway. Win!
OK, guys. Here’s a cheap and easy DIY that I have loved for 4 years. It’s my DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs. And, this thing is sturdy. My boys have both stood at that gate and shook it back and forth when trying to get me to open it. And it did not budge at all. Yaasss!
They’re 3 1/2 and 5 now and know how to open it. So, I’m taking it down. But, not before taking pics and sharing this idea with anyone else that wants a cheap and easy hack, that DOESN’T leave any holes or damage on the wall or baluster.
In fact, the only marks left behind on the wall and baluster were a few tiny scuffs on the paint. I just painted over those and it looks like nothing was ever there. This was definitely a DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs WIN!
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DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs – Materials Needed
Before you start building, the company that made my baby gate (Dream Baby) sells these generic-sized baluster adjusters. But they are at a preset angle, that can’t be adjusted. This definitely would have been shake-able on my stairs. Read the reviews first and decide if you want to try these before building the DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs. Maybe you’ll get lucky and these adjusters will fit your stairs tightly.
- Pressure Mount Baby Gate, like mine
- Lumber that will be big enough to wrap around your baluster or newel post, 1″ thick type lumber would look best
- Brad Nailer OR Nails and Hammer OR Drill and screws
- wood glue
- Saw, I used my Miter Saw
- Optional: Digital Angle Finder
DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs – Safety Plan
Before we get to the build, lets talk safety first. The most important reason to put up a baby gate is safety, right. So, I wanted to make sure this hack was perfectly safe.
I only wanted this gate on the very bottom step. Any higher and it could have been a fall hazard for a baby. I put this up when my first baby was about 1 year old. It’s never once failed. 🙂
It’s also completely stable and doesn’t shift at all, even for an adult. Which is great. Babies will pull themselves up on anything they can and shake things around. So, any shifting on a pressure mount gate would be a safety hazard.
But, there is one issue with a pressure mount gate. The design requires a bar across the floor at the bottom. So, it takes up a bit of that bottom step. I’ve had one house guest kinda stumble the first time coming down through that gate. You have to watch where you step with this set up.
That is why I would absolutely not recommend this DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs when it’s needed on the upper floor. For upstairs gates, I would recommend a screw in gate or placing the pressure mount gate a few feet before the stairs start, if possible.
DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs – Set Up
Decide which baluster or newel post will work best for your gate. You want to pick one that is close to the back of the last step on your stairs. You want the back because that bottom bar on the pressure mount gate will be sitting on the floor there. If the bar was near the front of the step, then it would be harder for you to put a foot on that step.
If that baluster or newel post is square-shaped (where the pressure mounts will touch it) AND completely square with the wall or the baluster on the other side of the stairs, then you are golden, my friend. You don’t even need to build a wrap, like mine. You can just pressure mount there.
But, if your baluster is round or at an angle. You need to build a tight wrap for it. Start by building a 2 sided L-shaped post, as long as the gate is high. I used wood glue and brad nails to build it. Mine was a 1×4 with 2 – 1×2 sides. You’ll need to adjust this based on the size and angle of your baluster and newel post.
With just 2 sides built, hold it square with the opposite wall or at a 90 – degree angle to the front of the second step (where the gate will be). Then you can use a digital angle finder to help you figure out what angle of cut would be needed to square off your baluster. Or you can even grab scrap paper and sketch the full empty triangle between your L-shaped post and the baluster.
Use that angle to cut 3 or 4 matching angles to act like shims on your L-shaped post. This will be easiest and safest on a Miter Saw, with a 1×2 or 1×3. Tape those shims on along the length of the post, to test the fit.
Now, you want that post. To fit snugly against the inside and front corner of the baluster or newel post. If everything is perfectly snug and at a 90-degree angle with the front of the steps (where the gate will be) then you can glue and nail those shims in place.
It’s time to turn that L-shaped post into a C. Hold it tightly against the baluster or newel, at that 90-degree angle to the steps, and hold a third piece of wood tightly to the back of the post, but square with the front and side pieces. So, it’ll be touching the furthest point back of the baluster or newel.
Mark where the 3rd piece should be attached to fit tightly around the baluster or newel. Attach it to your DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs with glue and brad nails.
Slide that C-shaped post in place and test the fit. If it feels snug and doesn’t wiggle when you move it, you’re done. But, if that baluster was sitting at a big angle to the steps, you’ll need to follow the same process from Step Three to build shims for the other inside corner of the C. Glue and nail those in place too.
You should now have a super tight C-shaped post (or 2, if both sides of the stairs aren’t walls) that fits over the baluster or newel post. Paint that to match the baluster or newel post. Now, you’re ready to set up that pressure mount gate, per the instructions that came with the gate.
DIY Tip: I put one of those 1″ round furniture pads under my C-shaped post, to protect my floor from any possible scratches.
Shake and pull on that tightened DIY Baby Gate Hack for Stairs to make sure it won’t budge at all, to make sure it’s built tight enough. It should be perfect, unless the 3rd piece you attached wasn’t super tight against the back of the baluster or newel. In that case, you can try using real shims or even those same felt pads to tighten that fit. You want it really tight.
That’s it. You’ve got a new gate blocking off those stairs. 🙂
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