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How to Fix a Loose Stair Rail End Cap

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva fixes an end cap on a stair railing that keeps coming loose.

Steps for Fixing a Loose End Cap on a Stair Rail

  1. Carefully pry out the bung underneath the end cap with a flathead screwdriver.
  2. Loosen the stair railing nut from the bolt using the screwdriver and remove the end cap from the stair railing.
  3. At the thickest part of the end cap, measure to find the center of the railing end cap and mark it about ⅜" from the top of the end cap.
  4. Drill a small starter hole into the end cap on the mark.
  5. Hammer the nail into the hole and cut most of the end off with the pliers so the nail has a sharp point.
  6. Measure the stair railing to find the same point as the end cap and mark it with a pencil.
  7. Drill another small hole into the railing on the mark.
  8. Apply some polyurethane glue to the railing bolt and the end cap's end grain.
  9. Carefully attach the end cap back on the stair railing. It might be challenging to get the nut back on the railing bolt, but the screwdriver can be used to hold it into place.
  10. Tighten the nut back on the railing bolt with the screwdriver and a hammer.
  11. Fit the bung back in the hole.


Railing parts to fit a variety of applications can be found at home centers, as can both the railing bolt with a wood thread and machine thread and the spring style connection.

Tom used Clear Gorilla Glue to hold the railing pieces together, which can be found at home centers.

Tools and Materials