Wood is the cheapest metal railing material costing $20 to $60 per linear foot installed. Wood is prone to water and pest damage when exposed to the elements, so outdoor use is not recommended. When most people think of a wood railing, they picture an outdated oak staircase railing with turned wooden spindles, but there are much more visually appealing wooden railings available to suit farmhouse, industrial, and even modern homes.
If you want the high-end look of glass or cable railings without the high price, mixing materials is a great way to save money and make an old wooden railing look more up-to-update and contemporary. Adding black metal accents or cable balusters can completely change the look of a wooden railing.
Painting your existing railings costs $20 to $70 per hour for a professional painter. The project typically takes from 3 to 5 hours, depending on the railing details. A railing with more intricate designs will take longer than a simple railing with fewer details. Painting the balusters and railing in contrasting colors like black and white is a great way to make a staircase more dramatic.
Painting railings is a simple project that requires basic DIY skills. However, you may want to hire a professional to ensure that the paint is applied evenly and looks smooth. To ensure the best coverage, prepare the railing by cleaning it thoroughly. For metal railings, be sure to remove any rust with a wire brush and add a coating of rust-resistant primer.
The parts of a staircase are often misnamed or confused when discussing a staircase remodel or replacement project. Here are some definitions that may help as plan your staircase project:
Some of the most popular options for where to buy a stair railing include:
The top railing of the handrail should be 34 to 38 inches above the floor or the nosing line, which is the portion of the treat that overhangs the front of the riser. This standard height is recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the International Building Code (IBC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
An exception to the 34" to 38" rule is for staircases where children will be the primary users, a maximum handrail height of 28 inches is suggested. If the railing includes a second adult handrail, there should be a minimum of 9 inches of clearance between the child and adult handrails.
To clean your wrought iron railings, simply dust regularly with a soft cloth and clean as needed with mild soap and water. Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the painted or powder-coated finish. To extend the lifespan of your wrought iron railings, perform the following maintenance tasks:
Ask your stair railing installer these important questions before starting the project:
Choosing the right stair railing installer will ensure your staircase is safe and looks great. Consider the following suggestions when selecting an installer for your staircase project:
Search, get cost estimates, contact pros, and book—all for free.
View profiles, read reviews, check qualifications, and see prices before hiring.
Ask questions, confirm their availability, and hire the right pro when you're ready.