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Old 08-30-2011, 09:09 AM   #1
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Hello, I am just about to install my balusters, newel post and railing tonight. I bought a 48" newel post and my balusters are 34" I have 7 stairs with each stair having two balusters.

My question is this.... I purchased 11 34" balusters to complete the project. But i think I goofed up because there all 34" I did not get for each stair a 34" and 38" baluster. I did not think of that at the time.. If i go ahead and use two 34" balusters for each stair will that work out okay or do i have to use a 34 and 38 inch baluster for each stair tread? Thanks

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Okay, just in case I may have confused anyone. All I would like to know is if I use two balusters per stair tread can they both be 34" high or do you have to use a 34" and the other one 38"? thanks

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:48 AM   #3
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


The thickness of your upper handrail will determine how much you will have to cut off the balusters, as the top of the rail should be 34" measured from the front edge of the thread (step).

If your tread is 10" to meet current code chances are you will need (3) balusters per step to meet the 4" sphere clearance code.

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Old 08-30-2011, 12:51 PM   #4
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Thanks for the reply there mark.. I got ya on the 4" code and that I may need to add a third baluster if i dont make the 4" code. But what i am confused about still is I have read of course after i bought all the materials, that people use a 34" for the first baluster and the second baluster 38"... Of course all the balusters i purchased are 34". So my first and second baluster will be 34" which will work but is that okay to do it that way or do i need to return some of the 34" and buy the 38" ? thanks
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:39 PM   #5
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Tony, The length of the baluster is determined by the space you have from the bottom of the rail (set at 34"- measured from the front edge of the tread to top of rail) to the tread.

For example if your rail was 4" deep, you would need a baluster starting at 30" and depending on the angle of the rail the balusters get progressively longer.

Make yourself a scale drawing of the rail set up and see what length you need, my guess you will need some 38" long balusters for the back postion.

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Old 08-30-2011, 01:52 PM   #6
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


If your top rail is at the same angle parallel with your stairs it should be all one size balusters.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


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Originally Posted by SteelToes View Post
If your top rail is at the same angle parallel with your stairs it should be all one size balusters.
That would only be true if you had a bottom rail running parrallel with the top, not so with a single top rail with balusters to the stair tread.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:10 PM   #8
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Well depends on the turning length
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:15 PM   #9
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


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Well depends on the turning length
The reference you are looking at is referring to the way the balusters are installed (which end is cut and how) related to a paticular style, but, the balusters are still at varying lengths.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


Yes, but with the different lengths of the balusters design profiles would not end up spaced out the same, so you would have to get the same size baluster and accommodate for the difference trimming the bottoms, no ?
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:28 PM   #11
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


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Yes, but with the different lengths of the balusters design profiles would not end up spaced out the same, so you would have to get the same size baluster and accommodate for the difference trimming the bottoms, no ?
Yes now I understand what it is you are getting at, the turned length is the same but the OA is changing, and I was thinking purely about OA length.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:32 PM   #12
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


When its all said and done there is usually more said than done...
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:01 PM   #13
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Need some advice on stair balusters and railing


34 inch balusters will be too short for two of the balusters with three per each step. Read what the first illustration says in Steeltoes post about the difference in length of each baluster. Depending on the style post you have and your rise, and the way you mount it, 48 inches may be too short for your post also.

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