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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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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