How to change stair bannisters

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are updating your home, a new banister can add style to your staircase. If your staircase's current banister is shaky and in poor shape, a new banister will be safer. Changing a banister on a staircase requires some determination and hard work, but can be accomplished in a few steps.

Remove the banister you are replacing by using a hammer. Gently hammer the underside of the banister until it begins to pop off of the spindles. Once the banister is loosened you should be able to pry it off without harming the spindles. Measure your current banister to give you the proper measurements for your new banister.

Cut the new banister to the appropriate length and angle of your current staircase. Use a pencil to mark the underside of the banister to correspond with the stair spindles.

Use a drill to begin drilling the underside of the banister at the pencil marks for the spindles. Be sure to only drill about a half-inch into the banister to avoid splitting or drilling to far. Apply some wood glue to each spindle and in the newly drilled holes. Place some glue on the banister where it meets the wall and at the bottom where it meets the newel post.

Starting at the top of the staircase, place the new banister in place on the spindles and wipe away any excess glue. You may want to use vice grips to keep the banister in place at the top of the staircase as you work your way down. If you do not want to use handheld vice grips, ask someone to help you hold the banister in place while you continue putting the banister in place on the spindles.

Secure the banister in place by ensuring the banister is securely fitted to the wall on the top of the staircase and on the newel post at the bottom. For extra reinforcement, you can drill wood screws on the underside of the banister into the wall and one into the newel post.

Allow the banister to set and the glue to dry for 24 hours before applying any pressure to the newly installed banister.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • New banister
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Wood glue
  • Handheld vice grips
  • Two wood screws
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About the Author

Johnathan Cronk is a freelance writer and began writing at the age of 18. Throughout his career he has specialized in sports, how-to and advice articles. He has also written sales pitches in the corporate setting since 2001. He studied business at Hudson Valley Community College before transferring to the State University of New York, Albany.