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Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:33 pm
by sanchezcruz_20
I'm planning a flooring project and am also planning to upgrade the trim throughout the home. I have a piece of trim (baseboard trim) that is pinned behind a stair railing.

Wondering if anyone could give me a few tips on how to go about tearing down the rail to get to the trim? I would like to reassemble the rail afterwards so I can't actually just rip it down.

Pic of what I'm trying to remove
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The balusters have small rectangular spacers between them that appear to be nailed in place, not sure the best way to pry them up. I'm hoping that under the spacers there are a few screws holding the channel down that the balusters sit in but not sure if that's how they're installed.

Any help appreciated!

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:25 pm
by A. Spruce
If I were you I wouldn't touch the railing, you're only asking for trouble if you do. Instead, simply break out the piece of base that is trapped. A sharp chisel should make short work of turning the base into toothpicks, with the bulk of it removed you will be able to get to the nails to either pull or cut them off. With the old base cleaned out you can then install an new piece.

Work slow and careful so that you don't damage the wall or the railing pieces. It shouldn't be too difficult to get out nor to put the new one in.

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:53 am
by Shannon
Yes removing and reinstalling that rail is more work then you can imagine

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:22 am
by A. Spruce
You could also run a handsaw down the face of the baseboard to cut a small gap, which would not only make removal of the current base easier, it will make installation of the next one easier. You can then either leave the tiny gap of caulk it, your choice.

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:29 pm
by sanchezcruz_20
I kind of considered that but wondered if it was feasible. I'll give it a try! Thanks guys!

Additionally, when I go to install the floor, which will be a floating LVP, do you think I should try undercutting the base plate of that stair rail so that it appears as if the floor goes underneath?

There won't be any quarter round or shoe molding there to hide the gap otherwise.

Appreciate the help!

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:09 pm
by A. Spruce
Being that is a hallway, it is unlikely that you'll ever get enough movement that it would cause a problem to butt the floor tight, or with ever-so-slight, gap there at the railing. Push comes to shove, you can leave a gap and install a thin, flat molding to the floor itself, which will give way should the floor ever need the space to move.

If you want to undercut the base plate, you certainly can, but I doubt you'll be able to do this with any ease or accuracy, since you can't get a power tool, such as a router. Maybe an oscillating tool could do it?

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:47 pm
by sanchezcruz_20
A. Spruce wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:09 pm
Being that is a hallway, it is unlikely that you'll ever get enough movement that it would cause a problem to butt the floor tight, or with ever-so-slight, gap there at the railing. Push comes to shove, you can leave a gap and install a thin, flat molding to the floor itself, which will give way should the floor ever need the space to move.

If you want to undercut the base plate, you certainly can, but I doubt you'll be able to do this with any ease or accuracy, since you can't get a power tool, such as a router. Maybe an oscillating tool could do it?
Actually, it's not a hallway. The area is open to the great room behind where I'm standing, hence the concern for it looking "nice" with no gaps.

I have an oscillating tool and it's worked great for around door casings and trim when installing other floating floors I've done in the past for friends. I just haven't used it on this particular application. I may give it a shot.

Thanks again!

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:09 pm
by A. Spruce
Lay a piece of flooring and any underlayment layers down next to the base plate. make sure the flooring is upside down so you don't damage the good side. Hold this tight against the base plate, then use your oscillating tool over the top of it. The back of the flooring will give you support and straight line. Have at it, work slow so that you keep your cut clean and straight. Use a chisel to remove the excess debris.

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:02 pm
by sanchezcruz_20
Here's how much material I'm working with that I'll be trying to undercut with the oscillating tool, should be fun. Not much room for error lol.

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Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:36 am
by Shannon
you really will be surprised how easy it goes once you start.

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:13 pm
by sanchezcruz_20
Just wanted to post a quick follow-up. With your advice and some of the suggestions above, I was able to remove the trim (and subsequently replace) and undercut the stair rail and I think it turned out great!

Thanks for your help guys!

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Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:49 pm
by A. Spruce
Looks great! 8-)

Re: Disassembling Stair Rail

Posted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:08 am
by Shannon
yup, great job!