I have a banister post that can tilt toward the stairs. It is pretty sturdy when pushing away from the stairs. I have cut the carpet around it to try to see how it is attached, but cannot. On the stair side, there seems to be shims that may have been crushed or something, which is why it seems to be loose now. The only solid piece of wood near the post is on the stair side, that I can see when peering between the floor and post. Any ideas on how to fix it?

Video of tilt here

Overview of post: Overview of post

Shims: Shims

Solid piece of wood: Solid piece of wood

  • What I said directly below the post? A hallway or a closet?
    – ArchonOSX
    Jul 9 '17 at 17:53
  • Hallway. There are 7 steps. The first 6 are a closet, but the top step is too high and goes into a finished hallway.
    – rys
    Jul 9 '17 at 18:01

Assuming that the framing around the post socket is solid, this is what I'd do for a rock-solid result:

  1. Procure some items:
    • Heavy-duty construction adhesive--the kind that comes in a caulking gun tube. Liquid Nails in blue/gold is what I have in mind.
    • Wood shims. 6" are ok. 8" are better.
    • A bubble level in the 2-4' range
    • Utility knife with a fresh blade
    • Masking tape and plastic or paper
    • Vacuum cleaner
  2. Protect the carpeting and post with masking tape, plastic, or whatever. Once solvent-based adhesive goes on, it doesn't come off without effort.
  3. Clean all loose material out of the gap. Use tools to eliminate old shims, dust, etc. Use a vacuum to clean it out well.
  4. Squeeze that gap as full as you can with construction adhesive. Obviously you don't want it dripping out the bottom onto something important, so check that.
  5. Start gently tapping shims into the gap in reversed pairs, seeking to coat them with adhesive. Pre-apply adhesive if you like. The idea here is to create support not just at the top of the gap, but 4 inches or more down the post. If the shims are too thick, cut the lower one in half and use the thin part.
  6. Check plumb with the level. Adjust shims as needed, and continue to tap them in. Be sure that shims or glue or (ideally) both are snugging up down in the gap.
  7. Once you have most of the gap filled with shims, do a final check for plumb, then slice the shims off flush with the hard floor. Scrape off any adhesive that remains outside the gap.
  8. Protect the post from force for 48 hours.

The combination of adhesive and wood shims will leave a solid, well-bonded base for your post. The adhesive will continue to harden over the following weeks.

  • The old shims aren't really coming out. I pulled a few out, but the rest may have been glued? I wouldn't be able to get new shims past it, I don't think.
    – rys
    Jul 9 '17 at 17:59
  • Since there is a beam running across the stair side (picture 3), could I drive a long screw through the post into the beam? Or would that even help?
    – rys
    Jul 9 '17 at 18:02
  • If you have access from below, sure. Use some 5/16" or 3/8" lag bolts. Drill the post to bold shank size and pilot smaller into the beam. You'll probably still need to shim it to get it nice and plumb, though.
    – isherwood
    Jul 9 '17 at 18:04
  • I don't have access from below. Should I just add shims around the shims I can't remove?
    – rys
    Jul 9 '17 at 18:05
  • 1
    That should be fine. The key is the adhesive. It keeps things from working loose over time and fills voids you can't get with the shims.
    – isherwood
    Jul 9 '17 at 18:06

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