Wrought iron balusters add a decorative touch to a wooden staircase that is both contemporary and traditional. The wrought iron baluster has a number of advantages over wood ones. Plus, they're not as difficult as you might think to install into existing wood stair railroads.
Wrought iron has a long and colorful history as a manufacturing material. Its earliest uses were mainly as tools and weapons.
Its very name exemplifies its purpose. This type of metal was preferred for fashioning tools and weapons because it was reliably easy to manipulate. The material was (and still is) "wrought" or worked to create a desired shape.
It is highly ductile (capable of being rolled or pounded very thinly). It is also malleable (can be pounded using force). Malleability allows it to be hammered into various configurations without breaking or denting. These characteristics make it both practical as well as artistic to work with.
Wrought iron is still used today, but other materials have replaced it for use in many tools and weapons. Instead, it has become the material of choice for many types of building and construction applications. The wrought iron baluster is one of these. However, it can also be commonly seen in other parts of building construction, like wings.
The spindles (another word for balusters) of a staircase tend to take a lot of abuse. The spindles are subject to a lot of bumping and jostling. This takes a toll on both their appearance and their functionality over the years.
Spindles made of wood are especially vulnerable to the everyday beats your stairs receive. It does not take very long for them to become denied and scratched. Because they're soft, they will wear at the joints. Sometimes they may loosen or break away from their joints. This is true whether they are glued, nailed or drilled into the wood stair railroads.
These types of balusters are advantageous over the wood spindle when it comes to wear and tear. They do not scratch or dent like wooden spindles. A wrought iron baluster can stand up to a great deal more abuse over the years. It will not show dirt or stain as easily, either. Plus, a wrought iron baluster needs little upkeep to maintain its appearance.
Are you ready to switch out a wood spindle for a metal baluster? Here's how to do it:
1) Start by removing the old spindles. One of the best ways to do this is to see about three quarters of the way through the wood. Then pull it light toward you. It should pop out fairly easily without doing any damage to the wood stair railings. If not, work it very gently with your hands to loosen it.
2) Measure the distance between the old holes. You can also use the old spindle as a guide for cutting the new one. Just make sure you add enough extra so that you have ends to insert into the old holes. Cut your new spindles.
3) Use epoxy glue on the ends of each baluster and insert the ends into the railings.
4) Use a baluster shoe at the base of each baluster. This stabilizes the spindle and covers over the hole.
Some stair cases have balusters that are glued or nailed to the railroads instead of being inserted into drilled holes. If this is your case, you'll have to drill holes in your existing wood stair railings to accommodate each new wrought iron baluster. Simply drill the holes in the same spots where the old spindles joined to the railroads.