The Trades

Research, insights and advice from craftsmen and industry experts

How to Space Balusters Evenly Every Time

construction math Nov 26, 2020

Balusters—the vertical posts along deck railings—are an architectural detail that you may not think about that often. When someone has spaced them unevenly, however, they provide a visual reminder of why you should take the time to get a project exactly right. Once you start looking at deck baluster spacing, you’re going to notice how often they are poorly spaced. “Don’t point it out at your friend’s house,” professional builder and craftsman Jordan Smith advises. “Just notice it and think, I’m not going to do that when I’m building stuff.”

Terminology: Balusters, Spindles, Balustrade

Balusters or spindles (another term for the same feature) are the vertical posts that fill the open section of a railing.

A “balustrade” was originally simply a series of balusters, though it also refers to the entire handrail—its top and bottom railings and the balusters too.

Supporting posts are located along a...

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How to Square a Foundation Using Simple Construction Math

 A solid house begins with a properly constructed foundation, and common to almost all of them is that they have right angles at their corners. (Note: If you are building a fun house or an avant-garde building, some common rules may not apply.) If the corners of your foundation stray too far from right angles, then beams, joists, and other structural supports will fit together only loosely—or not at all. A corner with a right angle is known as perfectly “square.” 

The first step to laying out most larger foundations is to set up batter’s boards (these are, simply, stakes with horizontal crosspieces) in the corners just beyond where the foundation will sit. You’ll then use the batter’s boards as guides to where you will string lines along what will be the edges of the foundation. 

These guidelines will help you determine the exact locations where you’ll want to construct forms for the foundation.

How to Guarantee Your Corners...

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