Have a flight of 10 concrete steps in the back of the house where wife
wants a wrought iron railing. First call she made got a quote of
$100/foot or $1,000 installed for powder coated wrought iron. Seems
outrageous to me. Any ideas how to proceed? How hard would it be to
buy a rail and put it in myself?
We'd have to discuss, masonary versus hammer
drill bits. But after that, not too bad.
Thousand bucks sounds like a lot of money.
For that scratch, you could drive to Lowe's,
Home Depot, Ace, and your small town hardware,
and get some great advice. And some companies
that do this kind of thing.
I did make an HD trip but they had no advice and no stock rails.
Good idea to go to local Ace store as they are good on advice.
Rail is superfluous to me but wife's knees are shot and she wants it.
BTW one of the kids had given me a $25 gift card for HD and I bought a 3
C cell 230 lumen LED light with it ($24.97). Light has rubber bumpers
front and rear and will take a drop and keep working.
Frank , depending on how fancy it is that may not be a bad price . If it's
just 1/2" square pickets and plain top/bottom rails that's kinda high .
Do you have metalworking skills and the tooling to do this ? Do you have
experience in calculating pitch , picket length , cut angles , etc ? Though
7 1/2" rise 11 1/2" run is fairly common , your steps may have a different
You will have to make up a to-scale side view of the house, stairs and landing area at the bottom. Then draw in the railing, and you can determine how long the railings will have to be.
In my local Menards Hardware they sell railing by the foot, you buy the top rail, the bottom rail, and the number of uprights you need. There are endcaps/filials that finish off both ends of the railing.
Embedding the top and bottom end posts into the concrete will require drilling holes in the concrete and that will take a considerable amount of time and energy. The top and bottom rails can also fasten to the house itself for added rigidity.
A lot of work, but $1000 seems high. If you go that route, get reference names and addresses of previous work and check them out.
Take a tour around your town/city, see how other similar railings are installed, take pictures.
On 6/25/2014 6:33 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Saw some kits on line but wanting 10 feet would require special order.
Could handle the minor metal drilling but would probably need a better
drill for the concrete. Back of house does not have to be fancy which
was probably the $1,000 quote. Still a work in progress and I
appreciate ideas gathered here.
These are the steps:
There are rails that you can assemble yourself and install yourself.
You can get wood, aluminum, assorted plastics. Depends on what you
want the end result to be.
The $1000 price sounds about right for a top quality powder coated
iron rail. They are hand made to order and take a lot of time to weld
up. Front of house, that would be my choice. back of house, maybe.
Too many variables to say what is right for you.
Do they have to BE wrought iron, or just look like it? About 5 yr ago I
was selling my old row house and discovered that I had some old rusted
wrought iron columns holding up an aluminum awning on the back porch and
a length of wrought iron railings that had rusted out in the front
(about 4 steps worth). I got a quote form a real wrought iron company
and it was something like 1500 which at that point was more than I
wanted to put into the house. I ended up calling a local aluminum awning
company and it turns out that they did make replacement columns. So on a
whim, I asked if they knew anything about railings and they said that
they could do that as well, although it wasn't one of their advertised
services. Altogether, the work turned out to be 1/3 of what the other
company quoted. And the railings actually look pretty close to the
originals. They didn't have all the twisty wrought iron stuff, but it
worked fine. You may want to look into that approach, esp since this is
in the back of your house.
The railing lower end could be secured to the white-washed wall and to the
house at the top, for well under $100.00 if you could talk your wife into a
n ordinary wood railing. Tell her how many times you could eat out with th
e $900+ you would be saving and maybe she'll come around to a simplified wa
y of thinking about a railing.
Those stairs do look like they need some sort of a railing though.
Don't lose track of the most important thing, that the railing is sturdy
and that it's grippable, by both of you.
I've seen kits for eithe iron railings or steel railings that look like
wrought iron. I like old stuff too, on principle, but iiuc, the only
reason wrought iron is traditional is that it could be worked locally
and steel railings were too hard to make in those years.
The only hard part is drilling the holes, maybe 4 of them or 6, top and
bottom and every 2 or 3 steps. I don't think this is beyond you. Even
after the thread on hammer drill bits versus masonry bits, I'm not sure
what it would take to drill into your concrete steps, but if needed,
even a cheap harbor freight hammer drill will do 6 holes. I think.
(So far I've only drilled into mortar between bricks, so what do I
My google is not working now so I can't look for kits and I can read
more about drilling in concrete.
Harbor freight has hammer drills for about $32. I have one, works fine for
drilling holes in concrete. If you have to chip out an area, they have
hammer drills that include just hammer for about $90 that take chisels too;
alternatively, drill holes then use a hand chisel and hammer.
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