How to Disassemble a Stair Banister

A banister is the most distinctive part of a staircase and a very prominent feature in usually a prime gathering space your home. The banister -- the hand rail and its posts on the open side of a staircase -- can add to your overall decor, or it can date your home and design scheme. You don't have to be stuck with a banister that you don't care for. You can remove a traditionally installed banister from a staircase, but it will require the removal of some adjacent corresponding parts.

Replace a plain banister with one that is more distinct.

Step 1

Press the saw against the very bottom of each spindle, also known as a baluster, and saw each one away from the step.  Make sure to get the saw as close to the base of the spindle as possible, and saw gently, in a straight line.

The spindles are nailed to the step, so sawing them away from the tread will ensure their easy removal. 

Step 2

Dislodge the filler, a dried putty, located between the top post and each spindle, with a chisel.  Then tug the top spindle out of position with your hands.

Often, spindles are glued to a banister, so exert some force to get them out of position. 

Step 3

Repeat the process to remove every piece of filler and pull out every spindle.  As you pull out each spindle, mark it sequentially to simply reinstallation.

Step 4

Saw each post away from the floor, then pull each post out of position.  The posts hold the railing in place.

Some posts are secured with L-brackets at the base; in that case, remove the screws from each L-bracket with a Phillips screwdriver, then just pull the loosened post from the floor. 

Step 5

Unscrew the U-shaped straps on the underside of the banister from the brackets on the wall with a Phillips screwdriver.  The banister is now uninstalled.

Things You Will Need

  • Narrow hand saw
  • Chisel
  • Phillips screwdriver

About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

Photo Credits

  • David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images