Installed right by a competent, local wrought iron railing contractors near you, it is a good addition to a home. It provides safety with its main purpose of providing a place where you can hold on when going up stairs. It can also serve as a barrier which makes it a popular choice to secure an upper level of your home, a deck or a porch. It also serves an aesthetic purpose. There are different materials that you can choose from but wrought iron railing is highly-recommended by a lot of homeowners and contractors.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about it. You will know exactly what it is and reading on will help you decide if it’s the right type of railing for you. You will find out about its advantages and disadvantages and you’ll get to compare it with other materials. You will also know how to install, repair and paint it which will help you understand the importance of hiring a competent company, and if your state requires a license, a licensed contractor.
When you are ready to move forward with a pro, simply take the time to fill out the form at the top of this page and we’ll match you with the most relevant contractors in your area – free of charge!
What is Wrought Iron?
It’s an iron alloy that can contain up to 99% iron. Its main difference with cast iron is it only has a .08% carbon content as compared to up to 4% for cast iron. It’s also blended with fibrous slag or the by-product after the separation of the wanted metal. The slag is like glass which gives wrought iron a grain similar to wood when you etch or bend it to its almost breaking point.
Another difference between the two lies in the name of wrought iron. Wrought is a past participle of the word work. This means that it can also be referred to as worked iron. This is accurate with how it’s heated before being worked on using different tools.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wrought Iron
Here are the advantages that make it a popular choice:
- It’s durable.
Made primarily out of iron, you already know how durable it can be. A few bumps won’t be enough to damage it.
- It’s malleable.
This is actually one the main reasons why homeowners go for it. Its small carbon content is enough to make it malleable so you can design it virtually any way you want. It may look boring as it is, but it can turn into a beauty with the help of wrought iron railing installers. Wrought iron can also be installed as a fence with the help of the right contractor.
- It can last a long time.
Its durability helps it last a long time. The main thing that you have to do is to repaint it every 10 to 15 years or so. Sure, it may rust over time, but minor rusting is not enough to affect its integrity. In fact, a lot of homeowners welcome the aged patina appeal that it offers, the same way copper roofs develop patinas.
- It provides strength and security.
You wouldn’t want flimsy railing or barrier, do you? You’d want your rails to be strong and this is as strong as they come. If it’s good enough to serve as a fence, then it should be strong enough to serve as railing.
Speaking of which, it’s also very secure. Just have it designed in such a way that no one can pass through and it would take highly-specialized equipment to break through its integrity.
- It has a timeless appearance.
It’s been used for a very long time. Thanks to its classic appeal, it has never lost its charm. This is good considering that it can last a very long time. You don’t have to worry about having the need to replace it decades from now because it looks outdated.
- It has an open design.
You wouldn’t want to feel like a prisoner in your own home. You also wouldn’t want the railing to be more like a wall. Thankfully, wrought iron railing is unobtrusive.
- It can complement your landscape.
You pay a lot of money for your landscaping so you’d want to maximize it any way possible. If you use this for your deck or porch, you can have climbing plants climb all over it for that visual appeal.
The Importance of Stair, Deck and Porch Railings Inside and Outside
Understandably so, a lot of homeowners have railings installed to improve the appearance of their stairs, deck and porch. This is why they choose wrought iron railing because it can be made beautiful with the hands of a competent and creative wrought iron railing installer.
However, let’s not forget the main reason why it’s installed – safety. Here are the reasons that highlight the importance of stair, deck and porch railings inside and outside:
- It helps people maintain balance.
This is especially helpful for mobility-challenged individuals so they have something to hold on to when they lose balance. This is why they develop this habit of lightly touching the railings as they go up the stairs or move around the deck and porch so they can easily grab the railing if ever they lose their balance. This is just one way of improving accessibility for people with a handicap, the same way installing a wheelchair ramp is able to.
It’s not just the mobility-challenged. Kids and even adults experience muscle weakness and loss of balance every now and then.
- It helps prevent painful and potentially fatal falls.
These falls usually result to the loss of balance. In addition, the railings also serve as a barrier. Can you imagine a flight of stairs without them? More importantly, can you imagine a deck without this barrier? It’s very dangerous for everyone especially for your pets and kids.
- It helps improve safety when there’s rain, snow and the likes.
These can make your deck or porch very slippery. The railings can help provide support as you walk.
- It provides leverage if you’re carrying something heavy.
Let’s say that you’re carrying a baby up the stairs. It’s a good idea to hold on to the railing. In addition to helping you maintain your balance, it can also help provide leverage to make it easier.
- It provides a barrier for your items.
This is something that a lot of people don’t really know about, but it can provide a barrier to stop items from flying off the porch or deck in case of heavy winds. These items include toys, umbrellas and more.
- It gives you comfort.
If someone in your family suffers from vertigo or is afraid of heights, these railings can help provide them with comfort. They’ll feel more comfortable knowing that there’s something to help ensure their safety.
- It gives peace of mind.
Last but not the least, you get peace of mind knowing that there’s something that can help ensure your comfort and safety.
Of course, you have to make sure that the railings are safe for you to experience these benefits. Here are some important tips to make sure of this:
- Know and abide by the building codes.
The building codes are there for a good reason. They ensure the safety of people. These building codes highlight the importance of railings, making them required installations in a lot of public installations and even commercial ones.
These building codes are well thought of. They’re there to ensure that the railings will do their job of ensuring your safety, so it’s in your best interest to follow them. Follow them and you’re basically ensuring the safety of this installation, although your construction company should already be aware of them.
- Do not DIY the railing.
You might be tempted to do this, but don’t. There’s a good chance that you don’t have the necessary equipment and skills to do it. You can probably do it given enough time and resources, but unless you’re a competent professional, you can never do it as good and as safe as a professional.
Do you really want a loved one to experience an accident just because your DIY project failed? If no, then buy the wrought iron railing from a reputable company. But even so, make sure that you do your homework. Do research on what it’s made out of and how it’s manufactured. Also, do research on the company’s reputation.
- Ensure proper installation.
It doesn’t matter how good a railing is. If it’s not installed properly, it will be unsafe. This is why you have to hire the best wrought iron railing contractor nearest you. They have the tools, manpower, knowledge, expertise and experience needed to ensure proper installation.
Actually, you can have everything covered if you’re going to do your homework and check out the best wrought iron railing companies in your area. Choose the best one for the job and you can ensure your safety.
Wrought Iron Railing Installation
If you consider yourself an experienced DIYer and you have purchased wrought iron railing from a reputable company, you might be able to do it yourself, although we do not recommend it. Again, there are risks involved in doing so mainly because you don’t do this for a living and there’s a good chance that you can’t do it as good and as safe as a professional installer.
Just in case you want to try it, or for you to have a better understanding on how it’s installed, here are the steps in wrought iron railing installation:
Gather the needed materials and tools:
- Wrought iron railing purchased from a reputable company
- Masonry drill bit
- Caulking gun
- Level and tape measure
- Wet and dry vacuum cleaner
- Safety goggles
Do the necessary measurements:
Lay the railing down and using a tape measure, measure the distance in between the legs that will be set into the concrete. Write the measurement down and then measure again to make sure. Next, measure the exact distance on the concrete where you plan on installing the railing. Mark the distance using a pencil, then measure again.
Also, measure the post that will go into the concrete. Measure its length and its circumference. You need to make sure that the whole length will go into the concrete. As for the circumference, add half an inch around the post.
Use the right drill bit for this. Since you’ll be drilling through concrete, make sure that you use a masonry drill bit.
Put on the safety goggles and start drilling. Alternate between drilling and measuring until you’ve reached the right length and circumference.
- Vacuum the debris out of the holes.
Place the nozzle over the holes and then vacuum whatever debris is in there until there’s nothing left. It’s very important that the holes are free from debris before moving on to the next step.
- Dry fit the railing.
Put the railing in place to dry fit it. This is for you to make sure that you’ve hit the right depth and that the holes are large enough to accommodate the posts. If needed, drill and vacuum again.
- Fill the holes with epoxy.
Once you’re satisfied with the dry fitting, keep the railing in place and fill the holes with epoxy (mixed as per instructions in the package) using the caulking gun.
Now, you wait. Make sure that you keep it level all throughout the drying process. Use wood as support while it dries. Make sure to use your level to check that it’s leveled while it’s drying. Adjust the railing and wood braces if necessary.
Once completely dry, the wrought iron railing shouldn’t move if you pull or push on it.
Wrought Iron Railing Repair
Corrosion can be a major issue especially for outdoor railings. While a little rust won’t affect the integrity and can even add an appealing patina, more serious corrosion can affect its integrity and make it unsafe.
The best way to go about this is to contact a professional. This is the process a pro will usually make use of.
- Gather the tools and materials needed:
- Leg extensions to replace the part that you’ll cut
- Reciprocating saw
- Hammer drill
- Masonry drill bit (3/8 inch in diameter)
- Spray primer
- Bonding adhesive
- Pop rivet
- Rivet gun
- Wet and dry vacuum
- Hydraulic cement
- Pointed trowel
- Remove the rusted railings.
If you can, you can simply bend and break free the rusted railings if they’re at a point wherein you can easily do that. If not, use the reciprocating saw to do so.
There will be pieces left so use the hammer drill with the masonry drill bit attached to drill the remaining pieces out. If needed, drill around the perimeter so you use the pliers to remove the pieces.
- Cut the corroded leg.
Use the reciprocating saw to cut the leg of the railing flush to the railing itself.
- Prime the part where you cut the leg.
Use the spray primer for this. This is to prevent it from rusting.
- Insert the leg extension.
You can have this done at any metal fabrication shop. It has a square part that’s the same size as the post and an extension that will go through the post. Use the bonding adhesive before inserting the leg extension to secure it in place.
Drill a hole through the post where the leg extension is. Use the rivet to secure every leg extension. Use the rivet gun.
- Clear the holes of debris.
Use the wet and dry vacuum to suck out whatever debris is in the holes before reinstalling the railing.
- Dry fit the railing.
Insert the posts into the holes and use a level to make sure that it’s leveled. Secure it in place using wood braces or even duct tape.
- Apply the cement into the hole using the trowel.
Make sure that you force the cement into the hole. Wipe off excess cement using a damp cloth.
- Leave it to dry and cure.
Leave it to dry and cure for at least 2 days. Do this before you remove the brace or duct tape and before using it.
How to Paint Wrought Iron Railing
Paint is very important and can easily be done by a professional painter. It can help prevent corrosion because it serves as a protective barrier against air and water. This is why if you’re noticing paint chipping in your wrought iron railing, you have to repaint it. Here’s what a pro will do.
- Gather the materials needed:
- Abrasive paper
- Steel brush
- Sugar soap
- Clean cloth
- Pruning shears
- Old newspaper
- Masking tape
- Metal paint
- Safety gear (gloves, dust mask and goggles)
- Wear the safety gear.
Paint can be dangerous when inhaled. There are also sharp objects which is why the pro will wear gloves, dust mask and goggles at the very least.
- Remove the old paint.
This is very important because not doing so will affect the new coat of paint. It won’t bond with the metal if there are still old flakes of paint. He will use the steel brush and a lot of elbow grease to brush off the old paint.
- Remove moss, algae and weeds.
They probably added to the corrosion issue so remove them. A scraper can be used to do so. Make sure to inspect every inch including the brick plinth and the bottom bar. Debris can build up here and that can trap moisture and lead to corrosion.
- Prep the metal for painting.
The metal must be roughened so that the new paint will adhere better. The painter will often do this using abrasive paper (medium grade). Wet sanding is more recommended so dust will be reduced. Make sure that you rub all over for a smoother finish.
- Clean the railings.
Dissolve the sugar soap in hot water. Use the clean cloth to clean the railings using the sugar soap solution. In addition to cleaning, this step is to remove the grease and grime that have accumulated. Once done, use another piece of cloth and lots of clean water to rinse.
- Prune the plants and cut down overhanging trees.
The overhanging plants can also lead to corrosion. This is why you should regularly prune the vegetation around.
- Test the paint on a small inconspicuous area.
This is to ensure that it’s compatible. Apply the paint on a small inconspicuous area and leave it overnight. If it adheres properly, then you should be good to go.
Note that some paints, especially gloss, would require a zinc-based primer.
- Do the necessary preparations.
Prop the cardboard against the fence to protect the surrounding plants and vegetation. Tape old newspaper across brick plinths and in places that are not supposed to be painted.
- Paint the railings.
First of all, check the weather to make sure that it’s conducive to painting. It’s best to paint on a warm and overcast day.
Once ready, brush two coats of paint. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can use a spray gun especially if there are a lot of railings.
Steel as an Alternative
While wrought iron presents a lot of benefits as a railing material, it’s not for everyone. It does have its disadvantages like rust and maintenance. This is why a lot of people are looking at steel as an alternative.
Here are the reasons why it’s a good alternative:
- It packs on more strength and durability.
Steel is an alloy that includes carbon with iron. This combination gives it more strength and durability. It’s more damage-resistant.
- You don’t have to worry about corrosion.
Wrought iron can only depend on paint to help it against corrosion. On the other hand, steel railings nowadays can have coatings that help it resist corrosion and even UV rays. This is thanks in part to its protective zinc covering.
If you can find a manufacturer near you that processes steel railings using a combination of a premier powder coat and industrial-grade e-coat, you can have a railing that’s even more maintenance free.
- It can look as good as wrought iron.
A lot of people choose it because of its appealing texture. There are some manufacturers that add texture to their steel railings to make them more appealing and rustic. They even offer options for ornaments like twisted balusters among others.
To summarize, consider galvanized steel that has a premium coating as a good alternative.
Other Railing Materials
Here are the other railing materials that you can choose from:
If you’re only after aesthetics, you’ll love the classic look of wood.
This is another choice that has a classic and almost historical appeal. Granite and marble also fall into this category because they all have that appeal and require highly-skilled manufacturers and contractors to produce and install them.
They come in a wide variety of designs. They’re also very sturdy. The same goes for vinyl.
Getting Free Quotes From Competing Contractors
It’s in your best interest to get free quotes from competing railing contractors. You can use the free service on our site for an easy and efficient way to do that. You just have to fill it out with complete and accurate details and you can expect to get the best quotes from the best wrought iron railing companies in your area.
By using our service, they will know that they’ll be competing with other contractors. This means that they know that they have to send their best quotes in order to get your business. This is why you can expect to receive the best quotes that you can choose from.
Best of all, these are highly-competent contractors that should have the right license, experience and expertise to help you experience the benefits of this type of railing, although you should always find a contractor’s license and verify it. Try it today!