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Is it easy to replace staircase spindles?


Replacing broken spindles looks like a complicatred DIY project. So how easy is it to replace your staircase spindles? There are really only three steps invovlved:


  1. remove the old one
  2. find a replacement
  3. install the new spindle!

Sounds easy? Here are our tips to help the process of repairing your staircase without a hitch. 


Step One: Remove the old spindle!

It’s fair to say that the banister spindles on your old staircase  were fitted with the idea that they would not need to be replaced any time soon!  They support and add strength to the handrail and are likely to be fixed firmly in place. However they can be removed and replaced; do not fear.  The spindles are likely to be fitted into holes at the top and bottom of the hand and base rails.

First, you need to remove the old or damaged spindle. If the spindle isn’t already broken in half, complete the task with a handsaw. Wiggle the spindle as you pull firmly, taking care not to break the end off leaving it in the banister. You may need a large pair of pliers to carefully persuade both pieces out of their respective holes.

Using a spade or Forstner bit you need to slightly over drill the top hole.  Mark the drill bit with masking tape if needed to avoid drilling right the way through the handrail.  The purpose of over drilling is to enable you enough room to push the new spindle up into the handrail and back down into the base rail.

Step Two: Find a replacement spindle

Now you need to find a matching banister spindle.  We would start looking locally. Try the wood and timber suppliers closest to you. There is a fairly good chance that the builder of your home purchased it there. If not,  try an online source. Here are a few: Midlands Stairparts, Stairparts Direct, Stairparts onlineIf you can’t find a new spindle to match your existing one, you may need to have one custom made by a local carpenter.

Step Three: Find a replacement spindle

You may need to cut the new spindle down to make it fit, but take care which side you cut down. If you cut too much off one side or the other, the shape of the replacement spindle may not match up exactly with the existing banister spindles. If the old spindle was glued in and the bond is still strong, you may have to cut the damaged spindle out flush and bore two new holes. If you think that the damaged spindle may be held in with a nail, don’t use your most expensive Forstner bit to bore the new holes!