Replacing balusters

Over time, balusters may get damaged, whether by objects or by daily stress. You will need to replace these damaged balusters in order to maintain the safety of your stairs.

Tools and Materials You Will Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Purchased or custom-made replacement balusters
  • Rubber mallet
  • Coarse and fine-grained sandpaper
  • Adjustable pliers and needle-nose pliers
  • Claw hammer
  • Bevel gauge to measure angles
  • Plumb line
  • Powered table saw
  • Paint or stain, 1-inch paintbrush
  • Wood glue
  • Wood putty
  • 1-inch finishing nails


Use the tape measure to determine the exact height of the baluster.

Make sure that you buy a baluster that is1-2 inches longer than the one measured, so you can trim it in the exact height.

Examining the balusters

Check the other balusters for damage. If they have some weak spots or if they are cracked, you should consider replacing them too.

New balusters

When you install balusters, you should always get more than necessary, especially if they are unique. This is because they will need replacement and it will be harder for you to find ones that match. If you can’t find a match, take a baluster to an experienced carpenter and he should be able to make you new ones.

Removing balusters

You can strike the baluster with a rubber mallet or by twisting it in order to release it from the adhesive. Extract the nails from the base and the top of the rail. Use a claw hammer to do that.

Preparing the stair rail base

Use some sanding paper to remove any debris and wood from the hole. These debris will prevent the baluster from fitting in the hole. Use a finer sandpaper to finish it. This will also help the adhesive from sticking in to the material.

Measuring the bannister

Ascertain the proper angle of the handrail using a bevel gauge. Also measure the height of the area where the baluster will be mounted. Put some wood adhesive on the top and base of the baluster and then insert the baluster. Insert it into the base and then align it to the top with the handrail. Use nails or screws to better fix the baluster. Use wood putty to fill the holes.

Replacing all balusters

If you need to replace all the balusters, the best solution is to remove the handrails. Then take out all the balusters and replace them. This way you will have a better access. After you have replaced all the balusters, reinstall the handrail.

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