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Home > Products > Porches - START HERE! > ONLINE PORCH GUIDE > Installation of Porch Parts > Balustrade Sections > Assembly of Balustrade Sections

Assembly of Balustrade Sections

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Materials and Tools Needed
      • flat-topped wood screws for Baluster tops
      • scrap pieces of lumber and several pieces of cardboard
      • flat-topped wood screws (2-1/2") for Baluster bottoms
      • electric hand drill and bits sized for the screws you'll use
      • stout cord or lightweight rope
      • carpenter's framing square

Please Note
It is very important that you completely paint all surfaces - primer and top coat(s) - prior to assembly!

Now it's time to screw the Subrails to the Balusters. Galvanized screws aren't necessary, as our method of assembly is going to leave these screws completely protected!

It will be much easier if you can work against a wall or other fixed stop. Your work area should be flat and level. The porch itself is often ideal.

Use the top section of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail as a protective holder for the notched Baluster bottom. With Balusters laying on the floor, position the complete set of Balusters approximately on their on-center marks, as previously marked on the Sloped-top Bottom Rails.

It may be necessary to use something as a support under the Balusters to keep them resting firmly on the Sloped-top Rail. A helper will come in handy in just a moment!

Now position the Subrail along the tops of your Balusters. Again, some sort of spacer under the Balusters is useful. This spacer should center the Balusters approximately on the width of the Subrail. A scrap of lumber and several pieces of cardboard will work nicely.

Check that all Balusters are approximately the same length. When firmly seated on the Sloped-top Rail, their tops should all be in line against the bottom of the Subrail.

Now, starting at one end, screw through the top of the Subrail into the top of the first Baluster. Be sure the Baluster is centered on both the width of the Subrail and on the on-center mark. Then go to the other end of the Subrail and screw the last Baluster into position. Next, screw one of the center Balusters into place to stabilize things.

Now you can proceed to position and screw each of the remaining Balusters into its place along the Subrail, always centering each on both the width of the Subrail and on the on-center mark.

Bottom Rails
To allow screwing them to the Balusters, you will drill holes all the way through the top pieces of the Sloped-top Bottom Rails.

Use an electric hand drill and drill bit sized for the screws you'll use. (You need flat-topped wood screws about 2-1/2" long, as they must go all the way through the thickness of the top piece of Bottom Rail and into the bottom of the Baluster).

Work from the top side of the top pieces, drilling down through the center at the point along the Rails that you had previously marked as the center of each Baluster. Try to keep these holes straight up and down.

Flip the Section
Next, screw the top piece of the Sloped-top Rail to the bottoms of the Balusters. Tie the complete Balustrade, as it now lies, around both ends and in the middle with stout cord, so that you and your helper can flip it over. Position the Subrail against the wall or other stop you've had the Bottom Rail against, so that you can get at the bottom of our Balustrade. Fine tune your spacers if necessary to provide a snug fit of the Baluster notches onto the Sloped-top Rail. (Remember, at this point you're still only involved with the top piece of the two-piece Sloped-top bottom Rail.)

Screw Railing to Balusters
Now, screw the top piece of the Sloped-top Rail into the first Baluster. Make sure it's centered both on the Sloped-top and on its on-center mark. Then go to the other end of the Rail and screw the last Baluster into place. Now do one of the center Balusters to stabilize things.

Check for Squareness
At this point you need to check that the Balustrade Section is square. Using a carpenter's framing square, check that these first three Balusters are square with (perpendicular to) the Bottom Rails and Subrail. If they are not square now, they won't be straight up and down when installed between the Porch Posts! Review the section on marking if there is a problem. Adjust as necessary.

Continue with Remaining Balusters
Now proceed to screw the remaining Balusters into place, making sure their notches are firmly seated on the Sloped-top, and that they are centered on their on-center marks.

Attach Bottom Section
It's time to mount the bottom piece of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail to the top piece of the Sloped-top Bottom Rail.

Lay the apppropriate bottom piece alongside the corresponding top piece. Check to see that our predrilled holes in the bottom piece do not align with the screws in the Balusters. Mark any that do, and redrill to one side. If, because of trimming the Rails, you no longer have predrilled holes within a foot of each end, drill new holes approximately 6" from each end.

Check that the bottom piece fits into the channel of the top piece. Then, working from one end, screw from the bottom of the bottom piece up into the bottom of the top piece.

Handrail - Not Yet!
You won't fasten the Handrail just yet, and you'll leave the mounting hardware off also, so that neither become damaged before you're ready to install our Balustrades between the Porch Posts.

Kickspace Blocks
For the same reason, it's better to delay screwing the Kickspace Blocks onto the Bottom Rails until later. And finally, you'll wait to do our touch-up painting until the Balustrades are installed.

Therefore, you can now carefully store our assembled Balustrades until you're ready to install them. Since they should, of course, be completely painted before assembly, their storage is not quite so critical. It is, however, important that they be stored flat and level, to avoid possible stress or warping.

We are available by phone or email for free personalized consultation.

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