UPDATE: Our twins are almost 4 years old, and this gate is still going strong (and with the addition of a third child as well). So, this has stood the test of time... or at least the test of 3 years. ;)
Now that our twins are crawling, we have become past due to install our baby gates. Over the past week, we finally decided to go for it. So here is a little tutorial on how we did this without drilling into our banisters. You can purchase kits to do this, but they're pretty expensive and unnecessary, in my opinion. This is an easy do-it-yourself solution.
First of all, some information on our gates. We got some great gates from our friends who no longer needed them - Evenflo Top of Stair gate. I like the way the latch works, and you can open and close it with one hand and it is virtually silent (which is great for sleeping babies). They are also completely removable (in that you can detach the gate from the hinges and put it away if you don't need it for some period of time). This is useful for us, because the babies can't climb the stairs yet. Once they learn to climb the steps, we can just pop the gate on, and we're ready to go.
The bottom of our stairs originally looked like this:
We have a banister on either side with a very irregularly shaped bottom section (lots of different thicknesses of wood meeting). I really didn't want to drill into the banister. Even though you could fill the holes someday with wood putty, you would definitely be able to see where the gate had been. So we decided to go for a heavy duty zip tie solution.
We went to Lowe's and purchased a 2 x 4 and heavy duty zip ties. These are the zip ties that we bought:
They are 2 feet long, and they are rated for 175 pounds each. I figure with 4 of these securing each of our 2x4s, surely the babies will not be able to pull these off (unless they can pull with 700 lbs of force). Miles is strong, but he's not that strong.
We cut the 2x4 into to pieces that are about the same height as the widest section of the banister. Here is what they looked like in the raw wood form:
|Notice the cat, who is not excited about an additional barrier to escaping up the stairs.|
Not bad, but I know that these will be up for quite a while, so I decided to paint them white. After a couple coats of white semi-gloss, they looked much better.
We attached the boards to the banisters using 4 zip ties on each of them (2 at the top and 2 at the bottom). We pulled these ties very tight. It's imperative that these ties be as tight as you can get them so that the 2x4 pieces can't move.
Then, Jason installed the brackets directly onto the 2 x 4s.
|Vivienne is ensuring that he is installing the gates correctly.|
It doesn't look bad at all. In fact, I would almost go as far as to say that this looks pretty. =) We didn't have to drill a single hold into our existing structure, and it was an extremely easy task. The entire project cost us less than $10 (for the wood and the zip ties), because we got the gate for free (thanks, Eddie and Rhonda!).
And, finally, here is a baby's-eye view.
|"I can dream of walking up these stairs unhindered someday. Someday..."|