Broken Staircase Balusters Replaced

When we moved in, we had 7 broken balusters out of 80.  The have a very thin profile, which makes them pretty fragile.  My daughter snapped  #8 by just using it as a hand rail for climbing the stairs.  I had originally thought we could find some to match the original ones.  But after observing how fragile they are, we were concerned about the safety of our kids.

Old balusters

Old Being Removed

After

After

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So I did some research on our options:

  • Iron: very popular right now, but very expensive.  I also don’t have much metal-work experience.
  • Match existing wood: They would have to be custom made.  Still extremely fragile. cheapest option and least amount of work.
  • New wood:  more safe, and moderate in cost.  Most amount of work, so naturally we went with this option.

I picked a spindle style from home depot that I liked, and that they had plenty in stock in their inventory.  I tried hard to convince my wife that their white primer would look great without painting it, but was vetoed.  So I had to paint each and every one of them.

To paint them, I took one of the old spindles to the hardware store and had them color match the existing paint.  This is the same color as the trim in our entryway.  Then, I drilled holes in 2x4s so they could hold the spindles upright while I sprayed them with a paint sprayer.  While it’s a lot of labor to set everything up to spray, it goes much quicker than painting 80 spindles by hand.

I removed the old spindles as carefully as possible.  Because they were so fragile, most of them broke as I was trying to remove them.  Then I nailed the new ones in with my brad nailer.

Before

Before

after

After

I decided to use this running diagonal pattern on the stairs.

I like it better than the 2,2,2 parallel pattern that was there before where the bottom blocks were the same height, and the tops were awkward.

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(click on any picture for a larger image)

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