Replacing a Loose Banister
A loose banister can be a tremendous annoyance; moreover, it is a serious hazard. Understanding the structure of your banister will enable you to determine the reason for the fault and how it can be rectified without the need for a professional. Follow these steps to easily identify the cause of your loose banister and repair it.
Step 1 - Identify the Problem
To understand why your banister is loose, it is a good idea to initially make yourself familiar with its components. Doing so will allow you to identify the precise cause; furthermore, you will enable you to work out whether a repair or replacement is required.
The newel post, which is the main post at the base of the staircase where coats are draped, will often become loose due to the way it is used. The railing leads off from the newel post and is the part that is held onto when using the staircase. The spindles are the posts that hold up the railing. The spindles run along the length of the banister; they are also likely to come loose.
Step 2 - Locate the Fastenings
Once you have determined exactly which part of the staircase is loose, you will be able to repair it. Should you have a basement or crawl space beneath the staircase, check whether you can see and access the base of the newel post and spindles. If so, insert screws upwards on either side of the newel post to keep it secure. Depending on the width of the spindles, use the same course of action as the newel post. You can also use glue to hold it in place. If a repair is required, remove any fastenings that are in place below the staircase.
Step 3 - Remove the Rail
In the event that a full repair is required, or if there is no access below the stairs, you must dismantle the banister at staircase level. Remove the rail by locating any fastenings that hold it to the newel post and spindles. Remove them. You should then be able to remove it.
Step 4 - Examine Newel Post and Spindles
Removing the rail will expose the spindles and allow them to be removed from their holes. You may find that some are completely intact, while others have splintered or split. Use the pencil to number the spindles that can be reused so that they are returned to the same hole. Check the newel post in the same manner and replace it if it has sustained any damage. Brush away any splintered pieces of wood before fitting the replacements without any fastenings to make sure everything fits as it should.
Step 5 - Fit Replacements
If the newel post and spindles were simply slotted into their respective holes, add stability by fitting a dowel. A dowel is a solid tube-shaped pin that fits tightly into the end of the spindle to connect it to the stair tread. Also use glue within the recess to attach the parts firmly. Put the rail back in place, making use of dowels if necessary.