Custom Banister
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A Step Above: Unique Custom Banister and Railing Design

Custom Banister Lower Level

My staircase is really long, and the highest point is really high. I knew creating a custom banister was going to be a learning experience because as with most of my projects, I have never done this before. I decided to start with just the bottom section of stairs so I could figure out what I was doing before I ripped out the entire railing… because kids safety… Here is what I did and learned when creating my own custom banister. I absolutely love the results!

Step 1 for creating your own Custom Banister! Make a template for balusters

You can skip this step, but I found it much easier if I had a template. I taped several pieces of paper together end to end to make one long strip of paper. From there I marked where the existing balusters were, so I knew where to put the new ones.

Step 2: Demo

Ok, ready to do some damage? Let’s demo. Take out everything you will not be using. I planned to use the existing newel posts, but I was replacing everything else. Including the newel post caps.

I cut the caps off the newel posts, then took the balusters out first, then the handrail, and finally the medallion on the wall, where the handrail meets the wall.

Step 3: Install the handrail.

According to the instructions on the new handrail, you should drill the hole in the ends of the handrail before cutting it at the angle, so that is what I did. Using the correct size drill bit, I drilled a hole in both ends.

I am not going to lie, trying to figure out what angle to cut the handrail at so that it lined up correctly, intimidated me. What I did, was removed the original handrail, and lined up my miter saw to the same angle, then using that angle I cut the new one. It worked perfectly.

I then installed the screws that came with the handrail into the banister then put the handrail on.

Step 4: Balusters

I started with drilling the holes in the base. Using the template I made earlier, I marked where I needed the holes to go, and then drilled them all out. I got this guide to make drilling at the angle easier. 1,000% recommend getting it.  

I then cut all the balusters to the length I needed them to be. You want them a bit longer than the actual visible part, as it will slide in the holes. I used a jig saw blade that was for metal to cut through the balusters.

Time to drill the holes in the handrail. I put the baluster in the bottom hole, then used my level to make sure it was perfectly straight. From there, I was able to put a dot on the handrail, where it needed to go. I repeated that on all of balusters. Once I knew where they all needed to go, I drilled all the holes.

To install the baluster, I put glue in both holes, top and bottom, then slid the baluster in.  

Step 5: Fill all the holes and paint

Obviously you will make mistakes when drilling your holes, its inevitable. But don’t worry, filling the holes is easy peasy. I recommend using Bondo on the base and wood filler on the tops. I first taped around each baluster, then applied my Bondo/wood filler. Once that dries, sand it all down. If you need another layer of filler do that, and then sand again.

It is FINALLY time to paint. I started with primer on any raw wood or Bondo, then painted it all.

My handrail was staying raw wood, so I applied a clear coat to protect it.

Step 6: Finish the newel posts and reveal your custom banister!

Remember how I cut the tops of the newel posts off? Well, I was looking for something super low profile and sleek. AND I FOUND IT! I got them and they were perfect! I just had to screw them on and paint them.

Then I added some trim around the base of the posts, caulked and painted them black also.

Repeat these steps over and over with however many sections you have on your banister and then you have a gorgeous custom banister!

Check out the board and batten grid wall that I did here and the plant wall to complete the look of the entry way.

Custom Banister During

What do you think? Is this a project you will try yourself?

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