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Frequently Asked Questions about Balusters and Baluster Installation

Got a question about balusters or installation? We've assembled our customers' most common questions below. If you don't find what you're looking for, just call DecksDirect.com at 1-888-824-5316, 7a.m. to 5:30p.m. Monday through Friday, CST. Callbacks can also be provided afterhours and on weekends.

Is a balustrade the same thing as balusters?
How far apart should I space my balusters?
How do I calculate the number of balusters I need?
Can I use deck balusters on my indoor stairway—or are they just for decks?
Can I custom order a special length of baluster?
I have an existing deck with wood balusters. Can I take the balusters off and replace them with another kind?
Do I have to install handrails or balusters on my deck? Or is that just required if I have children?
My balusters are powder-coated. Can I paint them a different color?
My deck is made with pressure treated lumber, can I still install balusters?


Is a balustrade the same thing as balusters?
Balustrade is the architecturally correct term for a complete rail assembly, i.e. the complete configuration of a top rail or handrail, bottom rail and balusters (the vertical pieces between the handrail and bottom rail). It excludes the deck posts and post caps that may be part of the deck perimeter.
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How far apart should I space my balusters?
In general, International Residential Code (IRC) requires that the space between balusters be less than 4”. To accommodate for decorative details, this includes the widest space between balusters – not just the gap between baluster bases. Since codes vary greatly from state to state, you should always check with your local municipality before installing or updating a deck and/or the balusters.
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How do I calculate the number of balusters I need?
DecksDirect.com has created a on-line tool to help you calculate the number of balusters needed. Simply input your project specifications and press calculate; it's that easy! The DecksDirect.com baluster calculator can be found here.
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Can I use deck balusters on my indoor stairway—or are they just for decks?
Yes, we certainly see people use deck balusters on indoor applications, and the lit styles are especially popular on stairways. You still need to check with your local building code to obtain safe installation guidelines for interior stairways.
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Can I custom-order a special length of baluster?
Please contact DecksDirect.com to inquire about special or made to order items. We will work with you to find the best possible products for your project. Note: Special order items may not be available with all manufacturers.
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I have an existing deck with wood balusters. Can I take the balusters off and replace them with another kind?
Replacing your wood balusters can significantly change the look of a deck. This can be done by first removing the wood balusters; cutting them in the middle and removing the top and bottom sections of the wood baluster.
If installing face mount pickets that are the same size, all you will need to do is follow the products installation instructions.
If installing balusters that mount inside the rail, the top rail will have to be removed before the new balusters can be installed.
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Do I have to install handrails or balusters on my deck? Or is that just required if I have children?
Handrails may be required for your deck depending on your location. Codes vary greatly from state to state, you should always check with your local building department before installing or updating a deck and/or balusters. In general, the International Residential code (IRC) requires a deck, porch or balcony to have a structural railing installed in order to pass a home inspection. For child safety, the balusters must be spaced less than 4" apart.
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My balusters are powder-coated. Can I paint them a different color?
Although not recommended as it will void the warranty, most balusters can be re-painted if properly prepared. DecksDirect.com offers a large selection of finishes from many manufacturers. If you do not find what you are looking for on our site, we would be happy to discuss a custom product to suit your needs.
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My deck is made with pressure treated lumber, can I still install balusters?
Pressure treated lumber (ACQ) is corrosive to aluminum. Although most aluminum balusters are powder-coated, you will still need to use a baluster connector to create a barrier between the wood and the baluster.
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Click here to download a full .pdf version of this baluster guide (1,973 kB)