How to Make Concrete Balusters
Concrete balusters can add an elegant and regal look to the exterior of your home. Whether you are outfitting an elaborate backyard patio or adding curb appeal to the front of your house, concrete balusters will do the job. If you shop around at specialty stores, you will find that concrete balusters are quite expensive; moreover, they usually require special ordering and professional installation. You can create beautiful concrete balusters for your home without much fuss. To do it, you’ll have to allocate the time and pick up a few essential materials.
In order to create concrete balusters yourself, you have to use baluster molds. Usually made of heavy-duty plastic, these molds come with all the hardware you need. You can find these molds at either local home improvement stores, or specialty fixture stores. They may keep a set or two of the mold in stock, but the assortment may be limited. Before deciding on a design, ask to see a catalog of the molds available for order. While the molds are being shipped to you, you can acquire the other necessary materials.
Step 1 - Fit the Mold Together
Once you unpack the mold, you will find that it comes with a set of pins. Sometimes the pins are plastic, and sometimes they are metal. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, fit the mold together and secure it with the provided pins. You can coat the inside of the mold with motor oil to assist in releasing the concrete. Don’t use unrefined or edible oil. Make sure that the two pieces of the mold are flush with one another so that you don’t lose any of the concrete during the process. To make a stronger baluster, cut a ½ inch piece of rebar to size and set it in the middle of the mold. There should be a slot made in the mold so that the rebar remains in the center.
Step 2 - Mix the Concrete
If you are using the recommended white concrete, you should mix 1 part concrete to 2 parts sand. If white concrete is not available, or you simply prefer the Portland cement, mix one part cement with three parts sand.
Step 3 - Add the Concrete to the Mold
Add the mixed concrete to the mold. The most important part about this step is to make sure that while you are adding the concrete, you turn the mold. Keeping the mold moving while you add the concrete ensures a smooth finish.
Step 4 - Remove the Dried Baluster
Once the mold is filled, you have to let it dry. If you are working in the heat of the summer, the drying time could be as short as 12 hours. However, under standard conditions, you should let the concrete baluster dry for at least 24 hours. Once you are sure the cement is dry, lay the mold on its side and remove the pins. Carefully remove the baluster from the mold and place in the desired location.
Repeat the process to make more balusters. Purchasing more than one mold can speed up the process.