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D-I-Y: Fixing a Broken Baluster

Posted by Amber Burkhart at

Balusters are the slender vertical pieces of wood that are attached to the handrail throughout the length of the rail. These vertical posts prevent people from falling through the area between the treads and the handrail. If one of your balusters is broken not only will it be an eyesore, but it could be unsafe.

In most cases a broken baluster can’t be completely fixed and the baluster must be replaced. Depending on the age and style of your staircase you may be able to find exactly what you need or you may have to custom order a baluster. I will say that this would be an excellent opportunity to update or change the style of your staircase by replacing all of your balusters. But if your staircase is newer, or you are happy with your balusters and just want to replace the broken one, that is fine too. If you have experience or enjoy DIY projects, replacing your broken baluster can be done relatively easily with these instructions.

Before you begin, you will need a new baluster. You can find an excellent selection of different options at StairpartsUSA.com. If you can’t find what you are looking for or have any questions, please give us a call. We are happy to help.

Start by cutting the broken baluster into two sections with a handsaw. Moving the upper portion side to side you should be able to pry it from the underneath of the banister. Remove any of the nails that may be left behind. At the base of the baluster are the lag screws. You will want to loosen and remove these. This will allow you to remove the bottom section of the baluster. Make sure to save all of the screws and washers.

With a power or cordless drill with a ¾ inch bit, bore a ½ inch deep hole cleaning out the dowel port on the underside of the railing. Be careful not to drill through the rail as you do this. Follow by drilling a ¾ inch hole 3 inches deep at the center of the top end of the post for a wooden dowel.

Apply wood glue into the ¾ inch hole at the top of the baluster and use a hammer to drive a ¾ inch dowel into the hole. You should have ½ an inch of dowel sticking up from the top of the post. Cut off any excess.

Measure from the top of the tread where the old baluster was installed to the underside of the handrail where it will attach. Make any adjustments needed to the length of the baluster.
Once the proper length, apply wood glue to the top of the post and the wooden dowel. Position post into place and fit dowel into hole on the underside of the handrail. Use the lag screws and washers from the previous baluster to attach the lower end of the new baluster into place.

 

 

 

 

Article by Amber Burkhart


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