Repair wrought iron railing?

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Another non-DIY question. The house I'm getting ready to sell has a wrought iron railing on the porch steps - about 3 steps worth from the sidewalk to the cement porch. Sometime last yr the end upright piece broke (square hollow piece, not one of the twisty spindle things). The two ends still "touch" but it's apparently broken through.
Obviously I'm going to need to repair it before showing the house, so that it doesn't scream deferred maintenance. And it's not something I can do myself, so I'll end up calling one of those 1-800-handyman places.
So here (finally) is the question: several people have told me that "they" sell some sort of insert that goes inside the hollow upright to hold it together, like a stent. Any idea where I'd find that, or what it's called? I'd like to get one ahead of time. The problem I ran into the last time I called the 800-handyman type place was that, although he did a good job, he charged by the hr, with a 2 hr minimum, and part of that time was involved buying supplies. So I'm figuring if I already have the pieces he might need I can save a little $. Or am I better off having a new railing ready just in case? And if so, do they have them at HD etc, and how would I know what to buy? (ie, do I look for a certain size or incline?)
Thanks.
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Are you trying to save a little money because it's generally good to try whenever possible? Or, are your finances so awful right now that you have no choice but to do this repair the cheap way?
I agree with Smitty: You're pushing your luck trying to do this in any way but the best way. Replace the thing.
I live in a city of about 200,000 people, and if I look for "Metal" in the yellow pages, there are several pages of listings. Rather than call all of them, I'd call a mason to get the name of a metal shop than makes and/or repairs wrought iron fences. The mason works on porches, so he should have a name or two to give you.
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re: The number of "metal" listings in your yellow pages.
I'd be willing to guess that a yellowpages.com search for "mason" is going to return more businesses than a yellowpages.com search for "wrought iron".
My point being that you suggested calling "a" mason to find a wrought iron guy, but there are more masons to call than wrought iron guys. <g>
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re: The number of "metal" listings in your yellow pages.
I'd be willing to guess that a yellowpages.com search for "mason" is going to return more businesses than a yellowpages.com search for "wrought iron".
My point being that you suggested calling "a" mason to find a wrought iron guy, but there are more masons to call than wrought iron guys. <g>
==================
Even if the number is equivalent (masons vs metal shops), a mason is likely to build porches. They *should* be able to provide a name of a wrought iron place.
Actually, a metal shop that does NOT do wrought iron should also be able to assist with a referral.
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Of course you _could_ look under "wrought iron". I just did for Spokane, Wa and it is there :)
Harry K
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re: Even if the number is equivalent (masons vs metal shops),
But why wouldn't you search for "wrought iron" instead of metal or mason?
You'd probably be one step closer to a person who would be knowledgeable in both the repair and replacement of the railing.
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re: Even if the number is equivalent (masons vs metal shops),
But why wouldn't you search for "wrought iron" instead of metal or mason?
You'd probably be one step closer to a person who would be knowledgeable in both the repair and replacement of the railing.
======== This is all academic anyway for some people. I know a few young people who've never had a land line phone - just cell phones. The yellow pages phone book may become an archeological relic, and a lot of people may not have a good online equivalent for their city.
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On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 06:50:32 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

What I've done when I needed a dentist was call another dentist for a recommendation.
When I needed a gastro-enterologist, I called a gastro-enterologist. I know him personally, and he said to me, Well, I'm a gastro-enterologist. I said "I know, that's why I figured you know others, but I can't go to you just because we're friends. That's no way to choose a doctor."

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wrote:

I should have said that after I said that he gave me the name of a good doctor, whom I was happy with.
I can't remember the details of the dentist story.
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if you opt to fix disclose it was repaired.
if someone grabs the railing in the future and it breaks apart somewhere else, you wouldnt be liable.
its easy to replace that railing 5 minutes with a propane torch will get all the paint off the bolts, the parts in concrete are cut off and taken out piece by piece, epoxy concrete sets the new posts securely.
years ago i tried a patch like your talking about, my mom came out the door on a very windy day, lost her balance, grabbed the railing and fell 10 or 12 feet, railing broke apart. luckily she wasnt seriously injured, i was right behind her and watched in horror as she disappeared in the dark.....
fix railings right or leave them be................
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Ohhhhhhh. I wondered how it was done, and envisioned some hugely complicated ordeal. So is this something a handyman type would be able to handle? Like a 1-800-handyman company? I do have one of the "we make really fancy railings" companies coming for a repair estimate, but suspect they're more interested in a big sale or more expensive repair job. I appreciate the help. I'm getting flustered getting this house ready to sell because not being the DIY type, I'm always worried that I could be scammed or at least overcharged. (For anyone else in the same boat, I've had a fair amt of success with consulting Angie's List, at least for services like painting and carpets, although I couldn't find any references there for railing repairs in my neighborhood).
Thanks. I'm feeling better that this won't be as big (or expensive!) as I was afraid.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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wrote:

Will he have references, or is his only reference going to be the agency? Do your neighbors have a guy they like?

Maybe, but some companies, especially maybe family companies, do small jobs because it builds their reputation and makes loyal customers, many of whom will have bigger jobs later. And I think as a matter of craftsmanship, one should be able to do a small job when that's a reasonable option. As some say, "No job too big or small".
You'll see when he gets there.

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I am a retired welder who still does repair jobs. I've built tons of wrought iron. Well, not wrought iron, but ornamental metal.
Do one of two things: have a welder fix what's there and pay what he charges. But shop around. Have a new rail put on there, and pay that they charge, but shop around. Either way, you get it right. It's an important item, and needs to be done properly. My estimate ..... repair, $150. New, $350.
Steve
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On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 09:49:16 -0800, "SteveB"

=============================== There are perfectly good railings that are available as a DIY kit for deck surrounds and deck staircase. See if your existing railing can be unbolted and replace the whole thing. Or see if you can install the new railings on a nearby spot on the porch steps and just remove the old one and patch up the old holes. It may cost more than $150. But as you suspect calling a local repair guy may cost you a lot more. A third possibility is buying a small arc welder and do it yourself. $150 just about gets you there and you are ahead in getting to own a very useful tool.
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Steve doesn't need a railing repaired.
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I was working on the old house today and the "wrought iron" guy came by. He was supposed to look at it Monday, but was in the neighborhood and dropped by. This is a company that makes lots of ornate custom stuff.
AARGH. His quote for a new railing (very plain, two uprights and one rail) is around $700! He said the metal was too thin to repair, and his quote is for a made from scratch railing. I also asked about two columns on the back porch (each has two parallel rods of metal with scroll things in between, between the brick porch wall and the awning). His quote for them was something over $600, with no scrolls. I am not sure I want to spend that much for custom work for a house I'm *leaving*. He said the railing in the front looked like it came from HD... guess I'll go look there! <sigh>

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It's probably not really "wrought iron" but is in fact a cheap steel railing made to look like wrought iron. Hollow is a dead giveaway.
The railing could probably be welded back together, but it will be cheaper to replace with something from Home Depot than to repair.
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Thanks everyone for the ideas. I was asking about the "stent" repair because that had been the real estate agent's suggestion. I'm a little leery of trying to have the whole railing replaced unless I really have to. Both ends are buried in cement, and all of the bolts or whatever is holding it in place have several layers of paint over them. And I just finished paying for a kitchen update, new paint, new carpet, bathtub reglaze etc, and would like to minimize costs where possible because I'm currently paying two mortgages... and want to get this one on the market within the next two weeks! Oh, and trust me when I say, I am NOT a DIY type. I'd be dangerous with a welder thingie.
I have looked up welders and fence repair (online, because I was doing it from work <G>) and all I can find is companies who advertise huge ornate fences, or whose business is 30 miles away so I'm guessing they wouldn't be interested in a "small" job.
OTOH, I do have a mason coming in a few weeks (after the house will be listed, but he's been out of town) to fix a few chipped brick steps, so I can email him to see if he has any suggestions. I figure I can show the house with a few chipped bricks more easily than I can with a wobbly railing.
Thanks again.
snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

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re: I was asking about the "stent" repair because that had been the real estate agent's suggestion
Ask the real estate agent if (s)he'll cover your costs when the new owners sue you after the railing breaks and they realize you sold the house with a hidden defect that you knew about.
The agent just wants to close the deal and move on and may suggest shortcuts.
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Lee wrote:

Follow-up to this problem. I ended up replacing both the hand rail and two iron columns in the back, the kind with the scrolls in the middle, used to hold up an awning. The magic word was awning. I found a local place that installs aluminum awnings, and got them to look at replacing the columns with aluminum ones. AND they replaced the railing for me with an aluminum one. They don't normally do railings, but said they will for a customer if asked.
So, the cost from the expensive custom wrought iron company would have been $1400 for two plain columns and one plain rail. The cost from the awning company was $450 for the same items, complete with scrolls in the columns. It's not the type of neighborhood where people necessarily expect ornate wrought iron. (Shoot a rail in the next block looks to be made of pipe), so I'm very happy with this solution.
Thanks to all for the help and suggestions.
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