I'm thinking about replacing my banister but I've been told it's a big
job and not really worth the hassle.
I've had a look in B&Q and it's not gonna cost a great deal and
doesn't look that difficult, anyone had any experience of replacing
banisters, is it really that difficult?
I installed banisters (where there previously weren't any).
It wasn't difficult. I didn't use kit parts except for the
handrail and some balls for the newel post tops. The newel
posts and spindles I cut from standard timber (wanted plain
square ones, not the fancy ones in the sheds).
Some of the important points...
You need to find really solid anchors for the newel posts.
I bolted them to the floor joists with, IIRC, M16 bolts.
They have to withstand someone falling against them, and
someone grabbing them whilst falling, and not budge at
I picked up the video and instructions for assembling one
of the kits, and that had lots of useful tips and covers
the legal requirements. I also looked at lots of banisters
before I designed mine. Take note of how the sloping
banister rail meets the newel post relative to the horizontal
banister on the landing (there are several schemes for doing
this). I constructed mine using mortice and tenon joins,
which I last did some 30 years ago at school -- I did a
practice run for the angled banister rail into newel post
on scrap wood before doing the real thing. I think the kits
have some type of bracket to avoid this complexity though.
Buy all the wood and leave it standing (unwrapped and well
spaced) on the landing for at least a month before use
(I think mine probably stood around for about 3 months).
This enables you to make sure you aren't using bits which
will immediately warp or split after fitting, and it means
the wood will have finished shrinking before you cut your
joints. I also wanted it not to shrink after I had bolted
it to the floor joists, because retightening the bolts
would require pulling up fitted carpets, etc. This strategy
worked and the newel posts have remained rock solid.
Likewise, if you are cutting mortice and tenon joints, you
don't want those to become loose either.
Before I embarked on all this, I had several goes at
getting carpenders to build them for me, never having done
any serious woodwork. After about a year of trying, I
realised that I was never going to find one who would -- I
even had a few who came and measured up, but I never heard
any more from them. At that point, I did it myself, and I
am very pleased with the results -- came out much better
than I expected.
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