Step 2: Remove the End Cap

removing the end cap on a stairway with a flat pry bar
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Whether removing an intact baluster or replacing a missing one, first pry the end cap off the tread. If taking out a baluster, pull it sideways out of the mortise in the tread, then free the top end by tapping it with a hammer toward the top of the stair. Use nippers to pull out any nails in the handrail and tread, and 80-grit sandpaper to smooth the tread around the mortise and the underside of the handrail.
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    Tools List

    • flat prybar
      Pry bar
    • nippers
      Nippers
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • sliding T-bevel
      Sliding T-bevel
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • block plane
      Block plane
    • drill
      Drill
    • 1/16-inch drill bit
      1/16-inch drill bit
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • nailset
      Nailset

    Shopping List

    80-grit sandpaper

    6d finishing nails

    Wood filler