half wall to baluster rail


Old 12-11-08, 06:23 AM
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half wall to baluster rail

I just bought a house that has half walls for hand rails but would like to remove it and install handrails with balusters. Is this a hard diy project?
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Old 12-11-08, 06:34 AM
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Smile Hand rails install

First WELCOME to the forums! You will get a lot of advice on this one.

It depends on your level of carpentry skills. They make hand rails(top and bottom) now that make it a lot easier. Both have recessed areas for the balusters to sit in and the void between can be filled with the available spacers. All types of brackets for attaching the rails to the newell post are also there. You will probably need to fill/cover the area where the wall was sitting on the steps(if that is the case) unless the wall goes to the floor. In that case, you can shorten the wall and add a piece of wood on top to trim out the wall. More time and patience than anything. Good luck and post back with additional questions/problems and results!
Old 12-12-08, 04:00 AM
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I agree with Mike, you can do it, just do your homework first. Many books are written on trim, and you will find them invaluable in this undertaking. Likewise, we are here for any problem you run into.
One word of advice...if any part of your handrail system stands free, make sure your end newel post is securely fastened below floor grade to a substantial framing member.
I have redone staircases where they have used the metal newel post flange, and they are terrible. They will hold until inspection is finished, then the flanges begin breaking off and you get the wobble of death. Taking the post below grade and fastening it to a framing member will always be sturdy.
Old 12-12-08, 04:15 AM
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I guess the biggest concern I have is remove the half wall. How should I approach this?
Old 12-12-08, 08:11 AM
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Demolition is often the most fun (and sometimes the toughest part of the job). If the half wall is sheetrock over typical framing it's pretty straight forward to remove. Just remove the cap, the drywall and the half studs.

My concern would be finishing the ends of the treads after the half wall is removed. In addition to a handrail (the one with the ploughed underside is easiest to use) and balusters you are probably going to have to install a skirtboard on the exposed side of the stairs.
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