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Old 08-17-2013, 08:19 AM   #1
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urgent help needed installign stair rail and balusters

Hi all, I am new to the chatroom so hope my post is in the right topic.

We have someone installing a hand rail and balusters on our basement stairs. He works as a contractor, carpenter but he is young and doesn't seem to have done this particular job a lot.

The first post (newel) is right now flush against the outside edge of the first step. I like this because it leaves more width for the steps however, we are having carpet installed and I worry that they will not be able to wrap the carpet without a flat surface on edge of step.
The second problem is with the balusters.

he installed 3 last week and said he was having trouble making them straight. he changed his approach and made the holes for the rest of them saying he could finish this week and had figured it out.

The stairs are old and not even. The treads are slightly different widths (from wall out) and he also seems to be having trouble laying the balusters in a straight line going up the steps. How is this handled?

My guess would be to measure out from the wall to be sure they are all in line with one another?
he is just arriving as I am typing this so I will go have a meeting with him about this and then check back for hopefully some advice. Thanks so much!
Oh, I have seen lots of photos where instead of the balusters going directly into the stairs there is a block built along the edge of the steps so balusters go into that instead. Maybe we should be doing that?


Last edited by oh'mike; 08-19-2013 at 01:56 PM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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I did something similar, but it was the stairs on my main floor. The previous owner had carpet wrapped around the whole stringer, skirt, and all the treads. We ended up removing the carpet and patched/painted the skirt and stringer. We then installed false treads to give a straight line for carpet on the steps.

I installed the handrail first and then use a plumb bob to measure where the balusters should go. I wouldn't measure from the wall because the skirt and the new handrail may not be perfectly parallel.

urgent help needed installign stair rail and balusters-image-312756055.jpg


Last edited by leungw; 08-19-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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Im not sure of the problem with the carpet. Carpet will be notched around the post if need be. Picture would help with that. As for the balusters, the rail is straight so the balusters need to be in a straight line. Do not follow dimensions off of adjacent wall. Plumb bob is your friend here.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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Pictures would help a lot. one way of getting the balusters in a straight line, (it sounds like the rail is up?) plumb down from each end of the rail at the edge of a tread. measure in 1/2 the width of the rail, and lay a straight edge between those two marks. Make a mark where it touches each tread. Square down with a framing square from each mark then connect a line between the square mark and the next mark on the next tread. The balusters will be on that line straight under the rail.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:24 PM   #5
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I would have centered the newel post in the middle of the tread, not tight against the step. The balusters wrap around the volute. It's going to look a little off the way it is.
As for the balusters:
Are these going to be drilled into the treads?
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:17 AM   #6
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I guess we will never know how it turned out, the OP never came back after the first post two years ago.


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