Iron Balusters..241 to be exact!

I am in love with this project. So much that I am re-posting it because it  didn’t make it over in one piece during my  recent migration to WordPress.

This is what we had in our house.  I don’t have a before picture.  Who knew I would be blogging about 241 wood spindle replacement!


Our dream to add 241 iron balusters, over 32 steps and 4 landings was a little overwhelming!   Our first thought was we would hire someone to install these for us, until we realized the cost of the project would double. Darn, I keep forgetting I am Not a Trophy Wife.


The following variables impact the total cost of a spindle or baluster replacement:  First, the quantity of spindles ordered.  We found a local steel distributor for California  based Leeper’s  Stair Products.  Click here for the Leeper’s website.  Our local distributor offered bulk pricing. To reach a lower price point per spindle we asked a neighbor if they were interested in purchasing spindles at the same time ( the local distributor didn’t require us to order the same style, we just had to place the order at the same time).  Score!  Next, there is a significant price difference between a solid iron or hollow baluster.  We went with hollow balusters.  More on this decision below.  A third factor in pricing is the baluster design (iron twists, ornate baskets, single or double baskets on each spindle).  We went with no twists and alternated between single and double knuckles.  Our tastes are not flashy  or ornate, so we knew the simple, classic (read: cheaper) baluster would totally work in our home.  Here is an example of the pattern of alternating single and doubles knuckles.

Our total cost for 241 balusters and the “flat shoe” that is attached at the bottom of each baluster (see below), came to $8.00 per baluster.  Quotes for the cost of installation averaged an additional $10.00 per baluster.  By having my underpaid assistant install (saw and sand) we saved $2500 in labor.  A new blade for our miter saw was $20.00. We used a table top belt sander to sand the cut edges of the balusters.  The decision to use hollow balusters was based on price.  After we started this project we realized hollow balusters are easier to cut and install because you don’t have the added weight.  Booyah!  (Do they still say booyah!)?

This is the “flat shoe” and it attaches at the base of each baluster. We worked this into our $8.00 per baluster cost (you do order these separately).  Each one needs to be tightened. We had our kids help with this final step.





  1. 3

    Sam says


    I just installed hollow rods as well today. I am very unhappy with the result as the hollow rods are so flimsy that the banister wobbles when shook. The rods are bending in the middle . Just thought I’d warn people about going with hollow rods over spans of more than 3-4 ft before another wooden anchor.

    • 4


      Hi Sam
      We did not have that experience. We had clamps (I’m blanking on the technical word) at the base of each baluster to give it an anchor.

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