Iron balusters look great on any staircase. There are several things you need to know before you start to work with them. It’s a pretty difficult task to install these yourself, but the result can be rewarding. Here’s what you need to know to install your very own.
Step 1- Check Local Codes
There are residential codes that determine how far your balusters can be from one another. In most cases, the baluster can be no more than four inches apart. This is important for the placement as well as the width of the baluster. Before you begin any work check with your local building codes and the International Residential Codes to ensure you are following proper procedures.
Step 2- Remove Existing Balusters
If you have balusters installed already you will want to go ahead and pull those down. If you have wooden balusters you need to cut the baluster in half and pull it out. You may need to twist as your remove them. If the baluster is actually attached to the stair treads you will need to cut them flush with the stair and sand down the tread when you’re done.
Step 3- Check the Holes
If you had to remove wooden balusters you will need to check the holes left by these. Metal balusters that are ½ inch thick will require holes that are 3/4 of an inch deep. 9/16 inch thick balusters will require 1 ½ inch deep. The holes that were left may need to be placed deeper to accommodate the metal shoes that the metal requires. You can use a chisel on the holes if you need to square them for the baluster installation.
Step 4- Determine the Dimensions
Measure the height from the handrails bottom to the floor. If the balusters are too long as is you will need to cut them. Add 1 3/8 inches to the measurement. You can either take the measurements and the iron to a local hardware store to have them cut down for you, or you can use a band saw with a metal cutting blade. Be sure to cut from the bottom since the ornamentation is usually on the top of the baluster.
Step 5- Place the Balusters
Slide one baluster in to place to check for fit. If this works, great! You can continue with the installation. If it doesn’t fit, take the baluster down and make any adjustments needed to ensure a proper fit.
Step 6- Install the Baluster
Use a polyurethane adhesive in the holes on the tread and beneath the rail. You can now just slide the baluster in to place. Check to ensure it is snug and fits properly. Once you have the placement correct, you just need to allow the adhesive to dry.