Give us a call to arrange a convenient design consultation time at your home. Several things need to be decided before we can start installing your beautiful new staircase. First, we will bring baluster samples to the meeting so you can get a good feel for what the baluster styles and finishes will look like in your home.
Once you have an idea of what you like, we can start working on the pattern of balusters that will be installed. You may choose to go with a single baluster style all the way up your stairs; or you might like the look you get when using two or more different baluster styles to create a pattern.
Creating a pattern is not so difficult. Fitting that pattern of balusters on your particular staircase can be a trickier proposition. When remodeling an existing rail system, we have to contend with the conditions that already exist. For example, the builder installed a baluster very close to a newel post. According to your gorgeous design pattern, a "basket" type baluster is supposed to go in that position but because the builder drilled holes in your railing too close to the newel post ... it won't fit. Another example might be that a particular run of balusters has an even number when your design needed an odd number in order for the pattern to be centered. It is not uncommon to have to deviate from the set pattern in order to camouflage these anomalies. We will be able to help you with this part of the design process.
First, the installer will make a cut in the middle of the old wooden baluster and carefully remove each half. If your railings are of the prefab variety, there will be a nail/screw sticking up from the bottom ... that will also need to be removed. Note that the large wooden newel posts (at the beginning of the stairs and at every corner) do not need to be removed, nor do the wooden hand rails.
Next, each wrought iron baluster will be custom cut to length and inserted into its position on the staircase along with a baluster shoe (bottom end of the baluster). All balusters and shoes are then secured.
A note regarding baluster shoes: We ALWAYS install a baluster shoe at the bottom of each baluster. While the shoes are not structural, they provide a finished look to wrought iron design. They also help to hide the unfinished wood under the old wood balusters.
Some clients ask us if we can install baluster shoes at the top of the baluster. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND IT!!! First, gravity is not on your side when you install shoes at the top of the balusters ... given time and the fact that your high-traffic staircase is subject to daily vibrations, the shoes always loosen and fall making you wonder why you paid extra for this headache. Also, the pitch of the angled shoes is fixed ... the pitch of your angled rail is also fixed. Unfortunately the odds that the pitches are the same are slim. It is quite likely that the angled shoes will not lay flush against the undersides of the rails. We think the staircases we have done are gorgeous without baluster shoes on the undersides of the rail. Check out our photo gallery to see for yourself.
Removing balusters can be a messy business with all the saw dust involved. Your home is important to us so our installers use drop cloths, foam mats and work in their stocking feet in order to protect your carpeting and hardwood, Also, a thorough vacuuming takes place at the end of each work day.