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Removing Banister and Balusters

Posted by Amber Burkhart at

If you are looking to give your staircase a facelift you may be interested in refinishing or repainting the banisters, or perhaps you want to remove your old banister and balusters and start from scratch. Regardless of your plans, here are some tips for removing your staircase’s balusters and banister.

Begin by using a chisel and a mallet to remove the piece of fill. The fill is a strip of wood the plugs the groove between the banister and balusters holding the balusters to the banister. Place the point of the chisel in the center of the fill and hit the other end carefully with the mallet. You may need to be a bit aggressive if the glue securing the fill is very strong. Repeat this process until all of the balusters are detached from the banister.

To detach the handrail unscrew the brackets holding to the wall and then from the newel posts.
As you remove the balusters number them from the bottom up or the top down so you know the order in which to reinstall them. You should be able to wiggle the ends of the balusters out of their holes in the bottom rail.

If the newel post is screwed into the floor you will need to unscrew it with a drill. If it isn’t, you should be able to rock it back and forth out of place. If your only option is to remove it with a saw, do this by laying a flat saw against the bottom of the main post as close to the floor as possible.

Now that your stairs are banister and baluster free, you should consider patching and painting the wall where the handrail was attached. Doing this will give you a seamless and more professional looking finish when you reinstall the handrail.

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