How to Replace Wrought-Iron Railing With Wood Banister

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Replacing a wrought iron railing with a wood banister can update an outdated look. While wrought iron is a durable material, it might show signs of damage, including signs of rusting, if used outside. A wood banister has a classic and timeless look that changes an interior or exterior space and works with a variety of different decorating styles. Make the banister the same height and length as the original iron railing.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Wire brush
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Newel posts
  • 2-inch wood dowels
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer
  • Landing post
  • Staircase railing
  • Countersink bolt
  • 3-inch bolts
  • Wood putty
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Locate the screws holding the wrought-iron railing to the stairs. The railing should have screws at the base of the spindles or newel posts where the posts meet the stairs. Unscrew each one and then unscrew the screws at the top of the stairs. Lift the railing up and remove from the stairs. If you remove the railing from a material such as stone or cement, cut the railing off where it meets the wall. Scrub the metal on the wall with a wire brush until it feels smooth.

Measure the distance from the bottom of the stairs to the top of the stairs. Divide that measurement by four, which gives you the number of newel posts needed. Space the newel posts 4 inches apart on the stairs. For example, if your stairway measures 120 inches or 10 feet long, you need 30 newel posts.

Drill 1-inch holes into the flooring every 4 inches across the stairs where you plan on installing the banister. Drill 1-inch holes into the bottom of every newel post. Apply wood glue to the bottom of a 2-inch wood dowel and insert into the stairway holes.

Set one of the newel posts on top of the dowel, lining up the hole on the post with the dowel. Press down and lightly tap the top of the post with a hammer until it sits flush with the stairs. Repeat this step with each newel post.

Turn a landing post upside down and drill six 1-inch deep holes across the bottom. Drill six matching holes at the bottom of your stairs. Apply glue to the holes in the floor and insert wood dowels. Apply glue to the top of each dowel and set the landing post on top. Press down until the post sits flush on the floor.

Place a staircase railing cut to fit your stairway on top of the newel posts and landing post. Drill a hole through the top of the railing and into each post with a countersink bit. The hole should be slightly deeper than the length of your bolts. Slide a 3-inch bolt through the first post and tighten the bolt. Repeat this step with each post. When properly tightened, the bolt should be slightly lower than the surface of the railing.

Cover the top of each bolt with a small amount of wood putty and let dry overnight. Sand the area with fine-grit sandpaper, removing the excess putty. The putty covers the bolts, making them blend into the railing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use L-brackets on the base of each post, including the landing post, if you need more stability or security.
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