How To Install Iron Balusters and Metal Balusters

My stairs are getting a makeover!! When I started pricing the cost to hire someone to do this job for us, I was blown away. It was just not within our budget. Plus, we are the type to DIY and save the difference. I searched around google for a few days and found some videos and posts showing how someone like me could do this themselves. Then I committed to the project. It seemed to be within my (& hubby’s) skill level. My staircase would be getting a makeover. Eeeek! I was very excited to say the least. Here’s how it looked before. Nothing too bad, but the color of the wood = UGLY! It was an orangish color and I simply hated it.

How To Install Iron Balusters

It wasn’t so bad that I needed to rip it out five years ago, it was just not what I envisioned for my staircase in my this is how I want my house to look thoughts in my head. Let’s get started! A big thanks to stair supplies  for supplying the iron balusters, shoes, and epoxy for this project! They were the best to work with. Fast service and top of the line customer service. I highly recommend that you check them out if you are thinking of doing a stair makeover. First step. Painting my handrail and newels. Check out that DIY project here. After the painting portion was done it was time for removal of the old wood balusters. Just for an FYI, I am going to show you what each part is called since I had no clue until this project. Then you will be educated in everything stair parts 101 if you plan to do a project like mine.

Wood Balusters

First we removed the old wood balusters. We used a sawzall and cut them 1/3 of the way down. Then we wiggled them and they came right out. The only thing holding them in were one nail in the top and some glue on the bottom. Once all the wood balusters were removed, we hit a snag. I grabbed an iron shoe and put it in the spot where the old wood baluster used to sit. It was too small. There was a gap around the shoe, and it wouldn’t look right. So plan B: we had to put in our own piece of wood to level off the entire bottom. You won’t have to do this step if you have a wood floor as the shoes will just sit on top of it. This was one of those we didn’t plan for steps in the DIY project. It did set us back some time because we had to find the right wood, paint, and then prep to put it in place.

Once it was all in we were ready to move forward. Here I made sure to mark where each old wood baluster sat (I marked it’s center) on a piece of blue painters tape. You will need to know where you will be drilling for the new iron balusters to sit. Don’t forget this step! Drill baby Next you will want to drill your holes for your iron balusters to sit in. You will want a hole that is a tad bit bigger than your iron baluster. For ours we used a 5/8″ drill bit. Here we are getting all the holes ready. Note: you will need to determine how deep to drill. You want the iron to sit nicely in the hole and you want all holes to be the same. We made a mark on our drill bit with a black marker so we knew how deep to go on each hole.You will also need to do this for your top holes as well. The top holes need to be deeper than the bottom ones. This is so you can put your iron up in it, then drop down into the floor hole. Since iron can’t bend. LOL You want the iron to end up secure in the top and bottom when all is said and done.Style You will want to lay out your iron in the order they will go in. I marked each one with tape as 1, 2, 3, etc. I didn’t want to chance messing up the order when we went to cut them.

Mark & cut

Now it’s time to measure where to cut your iron balusters and then cut them. You will flip your baluster upside down and place it in your bottom hole. Then you will mark where you will cut it up top (see picture below) just make sure your cut will end up inside the upper hole. You want both top and bottom to end up inside the drill holes for security. I used a piece of blue painters tape. We used a sawzall with a metal cutting blade. My husband did this step as I wasn’t brave enough to use that tool to cut through solid iron. Yikes!!! Sparks were flying. I just stood way way back and watched. Make sure you double check after each cut that it fits correctly.

Put it all together

Now that our iron was all cut we were ready to put it all together. Make sure to put your shoes on your iron before gluing them into place. I taped each one on and laid out my pattern again to double check that we were all ready to go. Next I filled the bottom holes with epoxy (it takes long hours to set, so don’t worry about it drying quickly). Here I learned that epoxy is messy and you don’t want to use it for the top holes. It was a huge mess and that’s when I went to plan B: Glue gun. Yep! One of the best inventions every. Right?!! I covered the top with hot glue and pushed it up into the top hole, then I dropped it down into the epoxy hole and held it in place until the hot glue dried. Around 15-20 seconds. Then you release the shoes from your tape, and put them in place. Using the small hex tool you tighten them. Now step back and take in the beautiful new iron balusters! We were blown away at what a difference it made in our entry way. Plus, we did it ourselves so the accomplishment was that much more. While this project may seem a bit intimidating, don’t be afraid to DIY. You can really do it and save a lot of money. Beside a few little set backs, we were able to get it done in around two days. The painting took me an additional two days. So four days and a beautiful new staircase in my main entry. Yes! I just love it. Now onto my next project…. I am planning on repainting the entire upstairs. Wish me luck!! If you have any questions feel free to ask. I am here to help you DIY.

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