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Old 02-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #1
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Stair ballisters


My builder did not properly install the stair ballisters. He toenailed the bottoms into a flat board. I thought they were to be placed into a hole with the spindle sticking into a receiving female end on the actual ballister.

It has been 11 years and my granddaughter broke one, that is how I discovered the problem. Do i remove all the ballisters, drill the holes and replace the ballisters. Oh, yeah, all the ballisters are flaking their paint off.

Thanks, Gail

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Old 02-18-2009, 09:55 AM   #2
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Stair ballisters


if it were me, yes, i'd certainly drill and reset new balusters.... but you might want to paint them FIRST! (if painting, if natural, do the final finish) you'll be lots happier doing them before rather than after.

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Old 02-18-2009, 09:58 AM   #3
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oops, be sure to tape up 1/2" or so on the end(s) to leave it clean for gluing. sorry.

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Old 02-18-2009, 10:23 AM   #4
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Stair ballisters


That's pretty common to do nowadays. Builders and carpenters will often toenail the bottoms with a finish gun. Not the right way to do it but very common.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:27 AM   #5
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Stair ballisters


Agreed, it is very common to toenail. True craftsmen don't do it that way though. If you don't want to replace them you can always glue a dowel tenon into the bottom end of them and insert/glue it into a corresponding hole in the horizontal trim.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:38 AM   #6
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Stair ballisters


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Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
That's pretty common to do nowadays. Builders and carpenters will often toenail the bottoms with a finish gun. Not the right way to do it but very common.
yup, i've seen it a lot with square bottom balusters... it ain't pretty...
i designed my stairs and railings on my back porch/landing so NO nails/screws are seen. just the lag screws/bolts on the outside.

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Old 02-18-2009, 11:08 AM   #7
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Stair ballisters


It is unfortunate that the old pride and skill that used to be a hallmark of most construction has today largely taken a dive in favor of grasping for the almighty dollar.

On the Contractor's Talk Forum, I'm disappointed at how often the criteria for doing a job is gauged upon how quickly it can be gotten out of the way, or how cheaply it can be done. A few there speak of quality first, but not many.

As termite says in his sig, the code is only an indication of the barest of the minimums you can get away with. And that's a shame, because that's all most people do. I have inspected or taken apart many old timer's work to find that the accepted methods and material of yesteryear STILL far exceed the required code of today's so-called "modern" engineering... 50 or 100 years later.

Today, if you can afford to buy a hammer, you can be a "fer real pro carpenter".
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:51 AM   #8
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Today, if you can afford to buy a hammer, you can be a "fer real pro carpenter".
Heck, I see a lot of framers that will roll out 200' of hose and fire up a compressor in order to shoot 10 or 12 nails during an inspection. The hammer (and the ability or willingness to use it) has been largely forgotten!

When I tell someone they need a few more nails in something and they want to nail it while I wait, they'd better not expect me to wait on them to gas up the compressor and get the nailguns out of the truck, simply because they lack basic carpentry skills. I often find myself using the phrase "No necessitan sus pistolas. Clavarlo con sus manos y sus martillos. Ahorita!" (you guys don't need nailers. Nail it with you hand and your hammers, quick!) I use that one a lot in both english and spanish. Haven't run into framers that don't speak one of those two languages, but if I did I guess they'd fail their inspection.

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