When people decide to renovate their homes, they often forget about some of the smaller things. The truth is, you would do well to take the time to think about all these smaller things first, after all “it’s the little things that count”. With this in mind, try to focus on the railings in your home because you may not have noticed the paint peeling on them, the rust or even the slight wobble that has developed.
Not noticing and fixing these things can give the impression you don’t care about detail, even if the rest of your home is absolutely perfect. Therefore, when renovating your home, make sure you take the time to properly address your hand rails; you’ll find it really does make a difference to the outlook of your home.
1. Removing from their position
If you are not a competent DIYer, it is probably best to ensure you have some help before starting the railing renovation process. Essentially, all you will need to do is remove any of the attached lag screws from the wall (or any other material they are mounted on, such as concrete). You will need to have certain tools to allow you to do this though, such as a wrench or circular saw with a carbon tipped blade.
Throughout this process, you will need to take particular care as you do not want to damage anything, since you will be remounting the railings and need to ensure your supports continue to hold. Some people will try to renovate their railings whilst still in place but this is a mistake. Taking everything off its mounting makes the process a lot easier since you are able to manoeuvre everything about and gain access to everywhere that’s needed.
2. Taking care of any stains the railings have left behind
Without a doubt, once you have removed the railings, you are going to see stains and marks, on the wall and mountings that have built up over the years. Your heart may sink at the sight of all the rust but do not panic as there are a few tricks you can do to remove these.
The first is to get a lemon. The acidity in the lemon juice will help you remove hardwearing stains, such as rust, so give the lemon a squeeze and wait a few minutes to allow the juice to soack into the stain. Be careful not to allow the juice to dry and then give the stain a scrub; ideally using a wire brush. Alternatively, there will be a wide variety of restorer products at your local DIY store, which will help you to get rid of any stains. Look for those you can use on wood, stone and concrete.
3. Removing paint and rust from the railings
Next you must address the railings and this will involve getting rid of all the paint and rust so you are left with only the bare metal. This calls for more tools, such as an angle grinder with a sanding wheel. If you don’t have one of these, it might be worth investing in one to add to your tool collection; otherwise you should be able to hire one for a reasonable sum.
You need to make sure you buy quite a lot of sandpaper, as it may take some time to grind off all the paint and rust and you need to make sure you get a nice smooth finish at the end. Once you have removed all traces of rust and old paint, you need to think about protecting the railings against rust in the future. You will be able to find plenty of metal treatment oils or rust inhibitors at your local DIY store, so make sure you buy some and apply them to your railings before repainting.
Only repaint after you have applied a rust inhibitor or metal treatment oil to your railings and it has dried. When choosing your paint, make sure it is of high quality and buy enough so you can do two coats. When painting, make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area and be sure to remember to put paint sheets down. The last thing you want is to dirty up the walls you have just spent a good time cleaning. Once you have applied the second coat of paint, be sure the paint is absolutely bone dry before beginning to put the railings back where they belong.
5. Reinstalling your railings
If you had no trouble removing the railings from their place of origin, you should find putting them back is fairly straightforward. Fitting railings back onto the walls with lag screws and supporting posts will be one of the easier jobs, however, you might also have to set them back into concrete, so be prepared to get some help from an experienced tradesmen or another competent DIYer.
If you are ever in any doubt about the refit, make sure you get some help, if not for anything else but to ensure your safety and to guarantee your handrails look as good as you planned them to on beginning the renovation.
Laura writes for Seagull Ballustrades. When not blogging about handrails, she can often be found be found trying to convince her husband to buy new ones.