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From the Forum – Any experience with baby gates for top of stairs in an old row home?

by Prince Of Petworth August 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm 71 Comments


Any experience with baby gates for top of stair for old row home?

“My husband and I own a 90 year old + row home on Capitol Hill and are currently leasing it out when we are overseas. Our tenants recently had a baby and we indicated to our property management company that we wanted to address the issue of baby proofing and include an addendum in the renewed lease next month. Our concern is that we don’t want anything permanently affixed to any surface in the house. The home still has all the original woodwork which we worked to restore and plaster that is in great shape in most areas.

The area of major concern seems to be a gate that could go that the top of the stair from the first floor to the second. If going up the stairs, a banister is on the left and a curve plaster wall/corner is on the right. Has anyone found a gate that works in this type of situation? From research, it looks like there are options that allow it to be secured to the banister by ties and a support system as opposed to being drilled in. This design appears that it still needs to be secured to the wall by drilling into it. We are afraid of damaging and cracking the plaster and have wide baseboards in the location which means it would also need to be secured into the woodwork. We don’t want to have either of these things happen.

We realize the need to make sure the baby is safe, but are also not willing to have our home damaged in the meantime. Are there any gates that work in this situation that do not require drilling into any surface (though I am assuming there are not)? We have suggested to the property management company that the tenants hire a baby proofing service who is familiar in old DC row homes, but they seem resistant. If something does need to be installed we would like to require that they hire a professional to install it and then bear the costs of hiring a professional to repair all damage to the plaster or woodwork. Is this a reasonable request?

Any insight anyone has would be greatly appreciated.”

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