Fitting Balusters

Most conventional staircases feature balusters – wooden splints that run vertically from the handrail to the stair. Some homeowners find it a daunting prospect to repair or replace damaged balusters simply because of the poor accessibility of the baluster. This is the best way to do it.

Cut and closed string

Balusters vary depending on the type of staircase. Balusters on cut string staircases fit into mortises or slots inside the ends of the treads. On a closed string staircase, they rest in a groove inside the string capping and have short lengths of timber set between them as spacers. Their top ends are either skew-nailed to the handrail or set in a groove in its underside.

Single balusters

Replacing a missing baluster usually means having to dismantle the balustrade. Even so it is achievable to replace the odd one by splicing a new baluster into two at an angle in a convenient position, then fitting new top and bottom pieces into the rail and string and then carefully remarrying the two halves with glue and countersunk screws.

Preparing balusters

In the event you need to replace quite a few balusters, then make certain that identical ones are obtainable before completely dismantling the staircase. Square-section balusters are uncomplicated to match, but turned balusters may well need to be specially made. In this case if you give an undamaged baluster to a skilled woodturner, he might be able to make replicas however it will be high priced.


If the balusters on a cut-string staircase have worked loose, drive modest glue-soaked timber wedges into any gaps inside the tread mortise. Then, to secure them entirely, drive in two nails or fine screws at an angle to lock the end of the baluster to the tread. With closed-string flights, skew nail the baluster to the string with either sort, then do the exact same at the point where the baluster meets the handrail. Finish off by concealing the repair using wood filler.