Repairing rotten balusters


The people that rehabbed this porch used balusters designed for interior use. Had they painted or caulked the end grain it would’ve helped them last longer.  After installation, they needed to have the edges of the bottoms caulked so that water can’t get into the end grain. You always have to seal the end grain of wood on the exterior of a house.  A tree is designed to suck water up its length through the grain. If you let water hit the end grain it sucks it into the element, stays there, and rots it.  The end grain of the rails needed to be sealed also so they would not rot as shown below.  Also always use treated lumber on porches.

On seven spindles I cut off the rotten bottoms and made new ones.

Here are the spindles with new bottoms. I did not cut them to length in the shop.  I let the carpenter do that on-site in case there is some variance.

Four spindles had gotten lost so I made new. The wood is cypress which has great rot resistance but I still covered them with preservative.

Here is the balustrade repaired.

The young couple is new to old house living and the neighborhood so I did the project at no cost to them.