How to Install Wood Staircase Balusters


Balusters complete the look of a staircase and help protect anyone from falling from the stairs. Installing balusters is not as hard as it seems and with a few mathematical calculations, some basic tools and an extra set of hands the average do-it-yourself homeowner can complete the project in a weekend.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood balusters
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Stair drill bit
  • Baluster bolts
  • Carpenter's glue
  • 2 2-inch hardwood trim nails
  • Wood putty
  • Stain or paint
  • Plan ahead by knowing the length of your staircase, the width of the balusters and the spacing of your balusters.

  • Notice how the balusters have a peg-like end and a flat end. The peg end is the bottom and the flat end is the top of the baluster.

  • Measure the distance between the bottom of the peg-hole, also called a sill late, in the staircase up to the handrail. Remember to measure twice and cut once to help save yourself time and headaches from incorrect cuts.

  • Drill holes in your stair tread if you don't yet have holes in which to fit the balusters. You'll need to use the measurements for spacing your balusters from Step 1 to determine where to drill a peg hole for each baluster. Talk to your local home improvement store to find a special stair drill bit that will create a hole and a secondary thread for the baluster bolts.

  • Create a small hole with a drill in the bottom of each baluster into which you'll place the baluster bolt. After the bolt is secure in the baluster you can screw it into the predrilled hole in the stair tread. If you'd rather not use baluster bolts you can also use construction glue on the peg-end of the baluster to secure the peg in the stair tread.

  • Attach the baluster to the hand rail with carpenter's glue and two 2-inch hardwood trim nails. Use putty and either matching stain or paint to cover the nail holes once the baluster is attached.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mark the depth you need to drill into the stair tread with blue painting tape so you don't drill too deep or too shallow to fit the baluster peg.

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