DIY Balustrade Installation

Having decided that your house is in need of a new balustrade, you have also made the decision to install it yourself. At this point, it is important to acknowledge that you alone will be responsible for ensuring that the project is SANS compliant and is still signed off by a qualified engineer.

In choosing to do the installation yourself, you do take out the hassle factor of searching around for a decent contractor. There are many fly by night contractors out there who fail to apply the best practises needed to satisfy the rules and most importantly the SANS Building Codes. This can of course lead to structural damage or even worse, injury to a person, down the line.

To assist and guide you in your DIY installation we thought we would share some important tips with you. Use these as a guideline to ensure that your project is a success and most importantly safe while still saving you time and money.

  • Core drilling needs to be done to an adequate depth of 120mm and should be secured with a non-shrink grout. Alternatively base plate fixings, either top or side-fixed are also suitable.
  • It is crucial to remember that a balustrade post or stanchion should NEVER be installed with a pin fixing at the base of a smaller diameter than the base itself. The last thing you want is to create a weak pivot which will undoubtedly lead to structural failure and in a worse case scenario, injury.
  • Always ensure that the balustrade fixing method is core drilled or base plate fixed to meet the SANS loading requirements.
  • It is important, but not crucial, to weld a stainless steel balustrade together or mechanically bolted together where the design calls for it. Filler wire and fasteners of the same or superior material must be used. A project that is glued or pressed together will not meet the SANS Building Code requirements and will also rattle continuously and lead to structural damage.
  • On the subject of welds, it is important to remember that all welds must be cleaned and ground either with a suitable pickling acid or mechanically ground or sanded with suitable dedicated abrasives. If pickling acid is used, it is crucial to avoid contact with finishes such as flooring and carpets.

This type of project is strenuous work and it is not something which can just be done by anyone. Consult with an expert before attempting this, however if it is done properly, it will help you avoid any unforeseen costs, damages and most importantly, injuries or fatalities down the line.