Repairing a Broken Stair Baluster

Two Simple Solutions for How to Fix a Broken Stair Baluster

By Mark J. Donovan

Fixing or repairing a broken stair baluster is fairly easy to do and there are a couple of ways you go about doing it.

Repairing a Broken Stair Baluster

To repair the existing stair baluster, pull out the two broken sections from the top and bottom stair rails.

Next, align the two pieces back together so that they make a tight fit. Make a vertical 1/2” pencil mark across both pieces. The mark will act as a reference point when permanently reattaching them.

Now, cut a 2 inch long section of dowel that is 1/4 or 3/8 inch in diameter.

Next, drill a 1 inch hole in the center of the broken ends of the baluster. The drill bit diameter should be the same as the dowel.

Apply a little wood glue into each hole and insert the dowel into one of the broken stair baluster ends.

Slide the other end of the broken baluster over the other end of the dowel and align the baluster pencil marks so that you get a perfect fit and alignment.

Clamp the stair baluster together and allow the glue to thoroughly dry.

Once the baluster has dried, insert the top of the baluster into the top rail and gently tap the base of the bottom baluster, using a block of wood, into the bottom stair rail.

How to Stop Squeaky Stairs

Apply a little glue and/or nails where the baluster connects into the stair rails and your baluster is as good as new. 

So now moving on from how to fix a broken stair baluster to actually replacing one.

Replacing a Broken Stair Baluster

To replace a broken stair baluster pull the two broken sections out of the top and bottom stair rails.

Next purchase a replacement baluster from a local home improvement store that is an exact match of the broken one. If your balusters are ornate, you may need to custom mill a new one.

Next, cut the new baluster approximately 3/8 inch longer than the original baluster.

Using a drill and drill bit, deepen the existing baluster hole in the top rail 1/2 inch deeper. Note that you will need to use a drill bit that is the same diameter of the existing baluster hole.

Also take care not to bore through the top of the stair rail. You may want to apply a small band of masking tape around the drill bit end to indicate the maximum bore depth.

You can use the tape as a guide to ensure you do not drill too deep.

Slide the new baluster into the top stair rail and then gently tap the base of the new baluster into the bottom stair rail, using a hammer and a small block of wood.

Apply a little glue and/or nails where the new baluster connects into the stair rails and all that is left is to do is paint or varnish.

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