How to Remove Stair Railing

Written by charles pearson
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Removing and replacing the railings in your house can drastically change the look of your home. You can update the look of the area with just the change of a railing, or you can also replace the steps. If you want to replace the planks on your stairs or replace your stair railing, you will need to remove the railing with minimal damage to the surrounding area.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Thin, long saw
  • Dowel pins
  • Screws
  • Glue
  • Screwdriver
  • Rail bolts

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  1. 1

    Measure your existing railing while it's still in place. If you are replacing it, you will need to have a good idea of how much new railing material you will need to buy.

  2. 2

    Buy a bit more railing than you need to make sure you have enough. Go to the home improvement store and see what options you have. You might consider bringing in a photo of the area to compare with the types of railings available in the store, or ask for advice on what would look best.

  3. 3

    Cut the bottom end of each spindle with a thin, long saw to remove it from the steps.

  4. 4

    Remove the filler piece at the top of the railing first, between the top newel post and the first, top spindle. If you have trouble removing it, you can try to pry it out with a chisel. If you end up breaking this piece, it is usually the easiest and cheapest part to replace, so don't worry about it too much.

  5. 5

    Remove the next filler piece and the next spindle. If you intend to reuse your spindles, it's a good idea to mark them in the sequence they were in. If you are replacing the planks, you can do it as soon as you remove the rest of the filler pieces and spindles.

  6. 6

    If you are reusing your old spindles, start from the bottom up and replace them in the reverse order. You will need to replace the dowels holding them in place, and use glue to set them. Make sure the dowels and posts are securely attached so your railing will be sturdy.

  7. 7

    Attach the top handrail with glue, then attach the handrail to brackets on the wall using screws. Use a drill to secure them to the brackets. Start at the top, placing the handrail over the spindles.

Tips and warnings

  • If the spindles are mounted to the tops of the stairs and are in good shape, you may be able to save them and reuse them if they match the new railings and stairs you wish to install. Be very careful while removing them so you don't cause them any damage. A chisel can help to loosen them and pry them out.

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