How to Install a Residential Stair Railing Metal Baluster

By Jenny Harrington , last updated March 13, 2012
Metal balusters and handrails provide a durable and utilitarian option for residential staircases, with some designs also supplying aesthetic beauty. Installation varies depending on the design of the baluster set, but the simplest types are single-piece units that only require bolting to the stair treads, providing almost instant installation. Other types may require more assembly, such as the addition of spindles or a handrail. These baluster units work well in locations where there isn't a wall to attach a handrail since the baluster supports the rail.
  1. Determine which tread of the stairs will host each upright support on the metal baluster. Each floor support sits on a different step. Depending on the length and style of the baluster, there are usually between two and four equally spaced supports, with one place at each end of the staircase and the others spaced between these two.
  2. Measure from the wall across the length of each tread that supports the baluster for a wall-side installation. Mark the tread 4 inches from the wall. Most residential building codes require that wall-side balusters sit no more than 4 inches out from the wall. Set the baluster 2 to 4 inches from the edge of the tread for an open-side installation. Center the baluster support on each tread at the marked location.
  3. Drill bolt holes into each marked tread so they match with the bolt holes on the bottom of the baluster support posts. Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the bolts used for installing the baluster.
  4. Set the baluster in place and bolt it to the stair tread using the drilled holes. For one-piece baluster and railing sets, attach the top and bottom support to the treads first, then bolt down the remaining supports between the two.
  5. Attach the remaining components to the baluster, as required by the design. One-piece balusters require no further assembly. Other styles may require you to bolt the baluster panels to the supports or screw the handrail to the top of the baluster.
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