Baluster Installation Methods - Baluster Guide
Deck Baluster Installation Methods
An important factor to note when deciding which balusters will work best for your area is how those balusters will be attaching to your deck. There are two main modes of installing your spindles:
Installing Balusters In-Between Rails
The most common installation style of baluster is fastening the spindles in the middle of the top and bottom rails. This can be done either by using a coordinating connector at either end of the baluster or by routering out a small hole in the two rails for each baluster to be inserted into. This in-between mounting method will be a great choice for any style of deck as it allows you to have a polished look for your balusters from both inside and outside views.
Unless installing your balusters into your rails via a routered hole, choosing the baluster connector you’ll be using is your next step. Baluster connectors, also known as baluster shoes, are needed at both the top and bottom end of each spindle. Balusters are typically packaged in packs of 10, while baluster connectors are usually packaged in a coordinating set of 20. This allows your quantities to go hand in hand while ordering. The majority of baluster connectors will fit the standard ¾ inch baluster size and allow you to easily connect your pieces on either level or stair applications. In addition to helping you affix your balusters to your rails, these connectors will also prevent any corrosion from occurring when working with pressure-treated lumber. Here are some connector options and important notes to consider when choosing your baluster connectors:
Standard Baluster Connectors
These connectors will essentially be hidden inside the baluster and will not be noticeable once installation is complete. They will have a thin section separating the metal balusters from the rail lumber.
Decorative Baluster Connectors
Often referred to as baluster shoes, these connectors will add a touch of embellishment at the top and bottom of each baluster while providing the same reliable hold.
Stair Connectors & Adapters
Some connector styles offer a one-piece design for installing balusters on stairs such as the Square Standard Estate and the Universal Round Baluster Connectors. Other models such as the Square Estate and Designer Round sell a stair adapter separately or included in a kit, which work directly with the level version to allow for the perfect stair angle.
Connectors for Installing Glass Balusters Between Rails
Glass baluster connectors work in essentially the same manner as standard connectors, with two included installation screws being drilled in either side of the connector. The only important item to keep in mind when purchasing connectors for glass balusters is ensuring that you are sticking within the same system; e.g. Fortress glass balusters must be used with Fortress Connectors. Glass balusters do not have a standard baluster size, meaning that the width can vary from brand to brand.
Installing Balusters on the Side of the Rails or Face-Mounting
Installing balusters on the side of the rails, or face-mounting, is one of the simplest type of balusters to install. This is why it's a great option for a new DIY deck installation or replacing worn-out wooden balusters.
Face-Mount Balusters Installation
Whether it's glass or metal, mounting face-mount style balusters couldn’t be easier as no additional parts and pieces are required! Simply install your baluster in place with the included installation screws. If installing metal balusters on pressure-treated lumber, be sure to install with a plastic washer between the baluster and the rails. Many brands will include these washers, however, not all of them. Be sure to read "Package Contents" to confirm. Here are some baluster options and important notes to consider when choosing your face-mount balusters:
Straight Traditional Face Mount Balusters attach to the face of the rail, overlapping top and bottom deck rails. The straight line form makes a strong statement on wood or composite decks, and color-matching screws reinforce the clean lines. These balusters are great for new construction or to replace worn-out wood balusters.
Architectural Curved Face-Mount Balusters are similar to traditional, but have either a "belly" or a "bow" shape. These balusters are available from most manufacturers, these balusters are an easy way to add subtle sophistication and grace to your deck.
Glass balusters provide security without obstructing the view. Just like aluminum balusters, glass balusters can be installed in two ways; between the top and bottom rail or face-mounted. Many longer lengths of glass balusters include holes that accommodate installation screws, make sure to check that your baluster does before choosing this method.
When installing the glass balusters, you can leave the screws visible or sandwich the whole top and bottom rail with another 2x4 for a finished look.