Installing Wood Balusters

What You'll Need
Wood balusters
Baluster screws
Drill and drill bits
2 inch trim nails
Wood putty

Wood balusters give your staircase a tremendous look when they are finished. With an Old World feel, these wooden balusters are great for a formal staircase and making a grand presentation. Balusters are the risers that are between the stair tread and the handrail. They are there to keep people from falling off the stairs, but also have a great decorating flair. Installing wood balusters is not a hard project, but does require some accurate measurements. 

Step 1 - Know What Type of Baluster You Need

Unless you are building your own balusters, you will need to know what type you are going to need. You will need to know the length of your staircase, the width of the individual balusters, and the height of your handrail in order to get the right balusters that will fit. Take the information you have about your staircase to the home center and they will be able to help you choose the right one. 

Step 2 - Mark Stair Treads for Wood Balusters

Once you have the balusters, you can then begin the process of installing them. To do this correctly you will first have to mark each individual stair tread for the positioning of the baluster. You should have a measurement that corresponds to the number of balusters that you have. Start at the bottom of the staircase and begin to place marks on the tread where you will drill the pilot holes. 

Step 3 - Mark Center of Wood Balusters

At the bottom end of the baluster, the peg like end, you need to mark the exact center. Mark this and drill a small pilot hole into the bottom. 

Step 4 - Drill Pilot Hole for Baluster Bolt

A special stair drill bit is needed for this step. Use the stair bit and drill a pilot hole for the baluster bolt directly into the tread. Make sure that it is straight. 

Step 5 - Install Wood Balusters

After the pilot holes are drilled into the bottom of the baluster and into the stair tread, you can begin to install the baluster itself. Screw one end of the baluster bolt into the bottom of the wooden baluster. Apply a small amount of wood glue to the bottom of the baluster and screw it into the pilot hole on the stair tread.

Step 6 - Attach to Handrail

Once the wooden baluster is in place on the stair tread, make sure it is standing perfectly plumb. Line it up onto the handrail and place two 2 inch nails on either side. This will keep the wood balusters in place and secure. Drive the nails into the wood with a small nail set. 

Step 7 - Finish with Wood Putty and Stain

With all of the wood balusters in place you can then go and fill in the nail holes with wood putty. Sand the putty down after it has dried and apply a coat of stain, or paint, to the balusters. Depending on how dark, light or glossy you want the wood balusters you will need to either reapply several coats or leave it alone.