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Home > Products > Porches - START HERE! > ONLINE PORCH GUIDE > Understanding the Porch > Decorative Porch Parts > The Balustrade > Baluster Info > Rotting Bottoms of Balusters

Rotting Bottoms of Balusters

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Premature Baluster failure normally starts at the bottom and this is typically caused either by incorrect installation, incorrect painting, or both.

Bottom Rail Design is Critical
For exterior use, the design of your bottom railing is critical! Never use bottom rails with a channel to receive the Balusters. This arrangement actually traps water and is an almost guaranteed path to early failure due to rot. Bottom rail of this sort should never be used for exterior installations. They are intended only for interior use. Likewise, never use an exterior bottom rail with a flat top unless both Baluster and Bottom Rail are PVC.

Our Sloped-top Bottom Rail is the answer! Two interlocking pieces provide easy installation, hidden hardware, and substantial, traditional styling! Just screw top piece of Railing into bottom of notched balusters. Then, using our pre-drilled holes, screw bottom piece of Railing into place, as shown at Sloped-top Bottom Rail.

Rebuilding Your Balustrade
If your bottom rail is flat or has a channel, and if Baluster bottom rot is present, we would very strongly suggest re-building the entire Balustrade system at this time as the problem will quickly get worse.

Sloped-top Bottom Rail
A re-build involves replacing all of your existing bottom rail with our Sloped-top Bottom Rail. If you've caught the Baluster bottom rot in time you may be able to re-use most or all of your existing Balusters.

Scope of Work to Be Done
The re-build process will involve taking each Balustrade section completely apart, notching all Balusters worthy of re-use to fit the Sloped-top Bottom Rail, painting all surfaces (especially the ends) of all components with multiple coats of oil-based paint, and reassembling your Balustrade sections using our Sloped-top Bottom Rail.

Subrail Permits Easier Reassembly
Depending on the condition of your existing Handrail, you may also want to go with our Handrail/Subrail system at this time to permit easier reassembly. Our recommended Balustrade assembly is detailed at Installation of Balustrade Sections.

Trimming the Tops
It may also be desirable to remove some from the top of the Balusters to keep the top and bottom square portions of more equal length, but this is not absolutely necessary.

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

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