Iron Stair Railing Upgrade

A couple in the Washington DC area had bought an upscale home. This beautiful home had one glaring flaw, and it sat in the most visible place in the home; the foyer. The staircase railings, made of standard, builder-grade wooden stair balusters, simply did not match the rest of the home. In the client’s quest rectify the situation, they researched iron railings and found a classic iron railing design from 1934.

Through the design stages of this project, we encountered numerous challenges.

The primary challenge in designing this iron railing was not the creation of the rails, but the removal of evidence of the old rails. In each tread and in areas of the floor, there were holes created for the previous balusters. The simple wood plug method would have covered over these cavities, but there was a chance that there would be a slight visual detraction from the wood inserts.

Our design team provided the solution of placing the new iron railing pickets in line with the locations of the old wood balusters. This solution would bring the best look aesthetically. It also provided the cost savings by avoiding the labor intensity of inserting, sanding, and staining each hole.  

Though this method was the best solution, it did create challenges in the design stage. Each iron rail picket had to be meticulously placed over each hole while maintaining the current code requirements. And, by carefully shifting the iron rail picket shoes over the original baluster holes, the design team was able to make the holes disappear completely.

The Iron stair railing design was created from 5/8 square solid pickets. The pickets were custom created in two variations with forged collars and twisted portions. These custom pickets alternated to recreate the Iron railing design from the 1930’s.

The final challenge for this Iron Railing design was replicating the subtle gold overlay onto the Iron railing. This was done in a specialized 4 step finish process. The caprail was created in bronze and hand finished to an antique tarnish and renaissance wax for authenticity.

When completed and installed, this iron railing provided a subtle, but spectacular transformation of the entry foyer for this Washington DC home.

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