Replacing Spindles on a Staircase: How to Go About It

Are you replacing a broken spindle on your staircase or are just trying to give the staircase a facelift? Regardless of the case, replacing spindles on staircase is a comparatively easy task and with the right step-by-step guide, you can even do it on your own. First things first, you are going to need the right tools for this job, which include:

  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Screw, 3/4-inch
  • Hammer
  • Hand block
  • Diagonal pliers
  • Finish nails
  • Miter saw
  • Nailset
  • Sandpaper, 100-grit

Have you confirmed that you have all the required tools for the job? Alright, this is how you go about it.

Step 1

Using a screwdriver, drive the 3/4-inch screw into the filet (the horizontal piece of wood between adjacent spindles at the bottom), in a vertical direction and bout an inch from the position of the spindle you are replacing. While doing this, you should be careful not to drive the screw all the way through the filet. Ideally, the screw should just penetrate about 3/16 inch into the filet. You should then grasp the top of the screw with plies and pull it upwards to pop the fillet out. In case the filet doesn’t pop out, you should rock and wiggle the screw in order to loosen it.

Step 2

You should then use your palm to tap the spindle at its bottom and towards the direction of the open section on the filet. Once it loosens, tilt its bottom upwards and then swing it out. This will leave behind a square hole between the two filets where it had been installed. Using the tape measure, you should measure the spindle you just removed and trim your new spindle. Prior to replacing spindles on staircase, you should trim the new ones to be of the same size as the old spindles you just removed. This should be done using a miter saw and the sandpaper.

Step 3

Now insert the top of your replacement spindle into the square hole left behind by the spindle you just removed, in the top channel. You will notice that the spindle is tilted to some degree; you should just tap it to an upright position. If you find the spindle too tight, such that it can’t fit into the hole on the top channel, you should sand its sides and try installing it yet again.

Step 4

Finally, you should remove the screw from the fillet and turn it such that the hole left behind by the screw is facing downwards. You may now use the sandpaper to smoothen the fillet now turns the fillet back into the opening where it came from. You should then drive a 1-inch finish nail, using a hammer, into the filet to hold it in place.

As you can see, replacing spindles on staircase is not that hard. Once you are done, you can paint the new spindle to match the color of your staircase. For your own safety, you should consider wearing safety glasses while replacing spindles on staircase.