The following visual guide showcases 6 different methods of installing square balusters, with and without shoes.
Round hole with Base Shoe – By far the fastest and easiest method. This requires drilling a round hole and using a shoe to hide the left over gaps. It has the easiest difficulty, saves the most time and when time is considered is the most cost effective option.
Round hole with Wood Filler – This method requires you drill a round hole, uses no shoe, but requires you to fill in the left over gaps with wood filler, sanding it smooth and stain it. This is an easy method, but extremely time consuming and requires a precise finishing touch.
Round hole with Epoxy Only – This is easily the fastest method. You drill a round hole, install the iron baluster and leave it as is. There will be exposed gaps around the balusters, also meaning this is the most undesirable finished look. We do not recommend this method.
Square Hole using a Hollow Mortise – This is a time consuming method where you drill a round hole, take a square hollow mortise, and hammer out the square. Then you come back with a chisel and knock out the leftover wood. You can now install a square baluster with no shoe and have a nice finished look.
Square Hole using a Chisel – Same method as above except you chisel out the square. Very time consuming however you do get the same finished look that doesn’t require a shoe.
Round Hole Hammered In – This is a new method not many people use and this is our most recommend method for those who do not wish to use shoes. In this method you will drill a round hole, take a section of hollow baluster and use the baluster as a punch. Hit it with a hammer a few times and you are left with a perfectly fitting hole that requires no additional chisel.