Thursday, November 5, 2009

Install Iron Staircase Balusters

If you ever wished to update your staircase without building a new one, consider replacing your existing balusters with iron ones. Iron balusters come in many styles, and can add drama to your home. Here we will walk you through the process of installing iron staircase balusters. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Measure between the existing balusters before you begin to install the iron ones. According to the 2006 International Residential Code, all balusters need to be no more than 4 inches apart. If the wooden balusters are wider apart than the Code requires, you will have to install the iron balusters at the required width.

2. Remove any existing balusters when you wish to install iron staircase balusters. You can do this by cutting the wooden balusters in half and pulling them out, or twisting them as you remove them. However, if the baluster is actually dovetailed into the stair treads, cut the baluster flush with the stair tread and sand the tread.

3. Examine the holes that were left by the wood balusters before you install the iron staircase balusters. Iron balusters that are ? of an inch thick require holes at least ? of an inch deep, while 9/16 of an inch iron balusters require 1?-inch deep holes. If you need to install the iron balusters more closely together, drill the new holes at the required distance. If the iron baluster can be installed without metal shoes, you can drill holes that are ? of an inch to 9/16 of an inch deep. Use a chisel to make the holes square to receive the iron baluster.

4. Determine the height from the handrail's bottom to floor or stair tread. If the iron balusters are too long to install, you will need to cut them to length. Make sure you add 1 3/8th of an inch to 1? of an inch to the measured distance. Because the ornamentation is usually on the top of the iron balusters, make sure you do any cutting from the bottom. Band saw or a chop saw with a metal cutting blade works well. A grinder or a jig saw are two other possibilities.

5. Slip one baluster into place see how the baluster fits. If the iron baluster works, then you can continue with the rest of the installation. If not, make any adjustments you need before proceeding.

6. Put epoxy or an adhesive (polyurethane works well) into the holes in the tread and beneath the railing, then install the iron balusters.

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