Replace Wood Stair Balusters With Iron Balusters

4 Materials
2 Hours

Are you looking for a simple project with big impact? Replacing wood stair balusters with metal balusters is the project for you. It’s pretty simple, requires minimal tools, and makes a bigger difference than you’d expect.

Full details and extra tips are on the blog, but here are the basic steps that you will need to take to replace your wood balusters.

  1. Saw existing balusters.
  2. Remove any remaining nails using pliers that might not have come out with the old balusters.
  3. Drill holes for new balusters. The holes on the underside of the handrail should be large enough for the new balusters, so you only need to drill holes on the baserails. After drilling, check that you drilled a large enough hole by placing one of the new balusters into the hole. It’s okay if the hole is bigger than the new baluster. The metal shoes will cover up the hole.
  4. Sand where the old balusters met the baserail. Before sanding, you can use a small flat head screwdriver to peel off any large paint globs. Sand until you have a smooth transition between the painted and non-painted sections.
  5. Wipe the surface or vacuum to ensure there is no dust.
  6. Measure the height for the new balusters. To do this, measure the distance between the top of the baserail and bottom of the handrail and add 1″. Each baluster should be roughly the same measurement, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check every few balusters.
  7. Cut the new balusters to the correct size using the saw with a metal cutting blade (electric or hand). After cutting the first baluster, double check that the sizing is correct. Once you’ve confirmed you have the correct sizing, continue cutting. You can use blue tape to mark where you should cut the balusters to prevent accidental scratches from the saw blade.
  8. Insert the new balusters into the holes that you drilled in step 3. To do this, slide the shoe onto your baluster, add a drop of liquid nails in the handrail hole, add a few drops into the baserail hole, and insert the baluster into the handrail and baserail holes. Slide the shoe down to the baserail and tighten it so that it stays in place.

Suggested materials:

  • Stair balusters
  • Metal stair shoes
  • 80-120 grit sandpaper
See all materials

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Zoe Hunt

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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  • William
    on May 19, 2019

    Simple upgrade. Looks modern and elegant. Great share.

    • Zoe Hunt
      on May 20, 2019

      Thanks William! We loved the difference it made in such a short amount of time!

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