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Removing and Replacing Outdoor Iron Railings

Provided courtesy Indital USA

Wrought iron railings will typically need to be replaced over time – especially outdoor railings that have been exposed to the elements. As they corrode, railings can deteriorate to an unsafe degree. When you add a new railing, you can make a serious impact on your home's value and curb appeal. Often, these railings serve as a centerpiece to a home, and they have a dramatic effect on the overall décor. As long as you have access to a reciprocating saw, hammer drill, and a few other tools, it's possible to replace a railing in no time.

Wrought iron railing style sample

In this tutorial, we've outlined the basic steps for cutting an old railing and replacing it with pre-assembled sections. From minimal to ornate, Indital offers a wide variety of wrought iron railing styles to choose from, so you can find a quality design that complements your home.

Basic Railing Terminology

To get started, let's go over the various sections of a staircase, to better understand how a railing is designed.

Diagram of exterior front railing parts

Image credit: http://www.elesahagberg.com/2016/02/stair-parts-for-dummies.html

First, the newel is the central supporting pillar for a staircase. Whether you're working with a spiral or winding staircase, you'll probably have at least one newel post that supports the entire design. 

Next, balusters are the main columns that support a railing. These can be decorative or minimalist, depending on the railing style.

Finally, the banister is another name for a handrail, which provides support when people are moving up and down the stairs.

Buying Materials

You're going to need a few basic materials to get the job done. First, select a replacement railing that reflects your personal vision. From sleek minimalist railings to classic decorative wrought iron, there is a bold design available for every project.

Here's what else you'll need:

  • A reciprocating saw and metal-cutting blade
  • A hammer drill and 3/8" masonry bit
  • 3/16" x 3/8" pop rivet
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Level
  • Hydraulic cement
  • Pointed trowel
  • Spray primer
  • Bonding adhesive

Replacing old iron railings on concrete steps

Replacing Iron Railings

Now, it's time to start cutting. With your reciprocating saw at the ready, carefully saw any rusted balusters so that they can be removed cleanly.

After removing most of the railing, take the hammer drill (with masonry bit attached) and drill out the leftover sections. If you drill a series of holes around the perimeter, you can yank out the railing with pliers. Then, take the reciprocating saw (with metal-cutting blade) and cut the railing legs so that they are flush.

Next, add spray primer to the ends of the railing legs, and apply bonding adhesive in the hollow leg sections. Insert the new leg extensions and secure them with pop rivets. Once the new railing is standing in place, clean the work area with your wet/dry vacuum, and secure the railing to the floor with duct tape.

Finally, mix water and hydraulic cement in a bucket, and then apply the wet cement to your railing legs with a pointed trowel. Clean off any extra cement, and let it dry for 48 hours. Now, you're ready to remove the tape and start enjoying your new railing!

References:

https://homesteady.com/how-does-4842799-replacing-iron-railings-outside-steps.html
https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-repair-rusted-wrought-iron-railing

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