# Baluster Spacing

• 08-27-2008, 10:51 AM
carloa007
Baluster Spacing
I'm trying to layout balusters on a porch railing and I can not remember the trick that Tom Silva demonstrated on Episode 506 I believe. He stretched a measuring tape the distance of the railing, and then pivoted the tape up to some degree / measurement and from there he marked off every 4 inches on the diagonal. Then he drew down 90 degrees to the horizontal line and that was his even spacing for the centers of the balusters.

Anyone know the details of this trick? How far did Tom pivot the tape? What were the steps he used to determine the spacing?

Thanks
• 08-27-2008, 03:07 PM
ed21
Re: Baluster Spacing
This is a whole lot easier to do than explain, but here goes.
Determine the max clear area allowed by code (4" locally), add the width of balaster. Then divide that number into the length of railing to receive balisters. Round up that number to the next whole number.
Place your tape in lower start corner(back off half the width of a balaster to start. Pull the tape to the end plus half the width of a balaster.
Remember that whole number- move the tape diaganally(holding start point)up until you can get a number that is a multiple of that whole number. Then mark at the multiple number. Use a level to transfer number up. This should divide the balasters so that the space between in slightly less than required by code & be equal.
Place another mark half the width of the balaster to one side of the centerline mark so you can see where to place edge of balaster.
Check that you did it right.
example:So if you have a 4" clear space and 1 1/2" balasters, you can use the 6" mark when the tape is stretched on the diagonal based on a multiple of 6" x rounded up whole number from the length divided by 5 1/2". Start 3/4" before calculated start and 3/4" past end.
Clear as mud? I swear it's easier than it sounds. Maybe someone can explain it better.
• 08-29-2008, 01:01 PM
bp21901
Re: Baluster Spacing
[QUOTE=ed21;33634]
Remember that whole number- move the tape diaganally(holding start point)up until you can get a number that is a multiple of that whole number. Then mark at the multiple number. Use a level to transfer number up. This should divide the balasters so that the space between in slightly less than required by code & be equal.
[/QUOTE]

This sounds like it might be a lot easier than the math I now go through to figure spacing out, but I want to check my understanding.

If I understand correctly you keep the tape stretched on the diagonal when you get to the multiple of the whole number on the one vertical side. Then you mark the bottom plate at the whole number marks by using a level to get from the diagonal tape to the bottom plate? The marks are the center line of the balusters.

I have a deck railing coming up and wanted to verify my understanding beforehand.
Thanks
• 08-29-2008, 02:35 PM
ed21
Re: Baluster Spacing
[QUOTE=bp21901;33753]If I understand correctly you keep the tape stretched on the diagonal when you get to the multiple of the whole number on the one vertical side. Then you mark the bottom plate at the whole number marks by using a level to get from the diagonal tape to the bottom plate? The marks are the center line of the balusters.

I have a deck railing coming up and wanted to verify my understanding beforehand.
Thanks[/QUOTE]
Yes, they will on the centerline. Then mark half the width of baluster over if using an edge line is more convenient than covering centerline.
Don't forget to compensate for half the width of baluster at a support post so all the spaces are equal.
• 10-11-2008, 10:23 PM
ctm603
Re: Baluster Spacing