Patience and precision: The key ingredients to successful baluster installation

November 26, 2012 2 min read


Installing your own balusters isn't too difficult a task to accomplish if you are conscientious about the project. Taking shortcuts will only lead to problems down the road if you overlook a step or make a mistake trying to rush through the task. It's better to take your time and do the job right on the first try than to have to make the investment for a new stairway later because of shoddy installation.

This is especially true for wooden balusters, as these pieces can be easily cut, glued and nailed without requiring you to rent heavy or expensive equipment.

In many cases, the baluster will have one end with a peg and another that is flat. The pegged side will go into holes that are either already drilled into your steps or that you'll need to measure and space out yourself. Should you have to drill your own holes, this is where your patience will be your best friend, as you should abide by the old saying "measure twice and cut once."

Before installing your balusters, take into consideration that many states have a different standard spacing for balusters on your stairway. Check with your state and make marks on your stair accordingly to indicate where you will be placing your new equipment.

Once you have spaced out where you'll be placing your baluster, measure the length of the peg that will be going into the holes so their depth will be accurate and the height of your balusters will be uniform. This way, once you install the bannister, there won't be any loose balusters, and you won't have to do additional trimming to make it all fit.

The pegged end will either have threading like a bolt or be dowel shaped with no grooves. Use a drill bit that will match the threading if you need too - otherwise, just be sure the hole is wide enough that the peg will slide in snuggly but not be too loose.

To prevent any unnecessary looseness, use an abundance of wood glue when sliding the pegs into the steps and again when you place the topside against the banister. Use thick wood nails, two per baluster, hammered in from on top of the bannister to secure the pieces together.

If done with precision, even amatuer constructors will have no problem securing their staircase.

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