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A simple yet elegant oak and paint grade balustrade design is the perfect compliment to this small space.

A rich depth of color and contrast between Brazalian Cherry hardwood components and paint grade balusters.

The addition of intermittent ornamental iron components will often greatly enhance a balustrade without becoming too busy or overwhelming.

The Less is More attitude of this style balustrade is apparent in its bold and superbly simplistic design. (Mission, Craftsman and Arts & Crafts are often used interchangeable though they have subtile differences)

Custom Wood and Wrought Iron Balustrade and a Free Standing Open Riser Staircase

Wood Handrail with Wrought Iron Balusters


Stair Makeover – Changing Newel Posts

Turned and Box Newel Posts

A newel posts is the largest single component of a staircase.  Because of the size and complexity of newel posts they are also often one of the most expensive stair parts in the balustrade.  It is for this reason that the newel post doesn’t always match the scope and style of the railing system.  Simply put, while you do need a post, you don’t necessarily have to have a large, luxurious one.  Also, because your railing system is near the end of the project if it wasn’t considered early on, you may have gone over budget on the other items and no longer had the money to spend on the balustrade.

Often builders, original owners or even we ourselves may have decided to save a little money by downgrading the newel post.  Usually we tend to financially progress, so while the home we bought at the time may have been all that our budget would allow, we are hopefully  in a different, better position a few years later.  This means that we might be considering a little upgrading and that earlier downgraded newel post may provide a good place to start.

If your balustrade is safe and secure and was a good design to begin with then you might want to upgrade the posts now.  Changing newel posts is an easy and inexpensive method of upgrading the look of your banister.  The starting posts of the stair are the easiest and require very little skill to do.  The existing posts are removed, the new posts are cut to length, then they are installed.  They can be prefinished or finished after installation.

The new posts may be the same style only larger, or  a completely different type  of post.  For example turned newel posts may be replaced with box newel posts or vice versa.

The other posts of a stair are a little more difficult to replace, unless you are staying with the same size post.  For example, when upgrading to a more elaborate or unique design that is the same size.  In this case the new post can replace the old post without altering the handrails.  They may have to be removed to make the switch but then they are just reinstalled as they were.  If, however you are increasing the size of the post then the handrails may have to be cut back to accommodate the new, larger post.

Most often you can achieve a dramatic look by changing only the main newel posts at the start of a stair while leaving the others as they are.  In this case it is important to make sure that the new posts match or complement the existing but they don’t have to be identical.  Often even in new balustrade installation the post at the start of the system, know as the Grand Newel, is larger and more ornate than others down the line.  So if you want to add some flare without replacing all of your stair parts then consider this option to make a statement.

How to stop a baluster from rattling

Iron Baluster Closeup

Today I would like to offer a simple solution to a common problem. We receive calls on a fairly regular basis from customers who want to know how to stop loose balusters from rattling. It is a common occurrence for both dowel top wood balusters and wrought iron balusters and there is an amazingly simple solution, but I’ll get to that shortly.  First, let it be known that even professional installations occasionally result in a loose baluster or two, so don’t be too hard on yourself or whoever installed the balustrade.  If the system as a whole is structurally sound and a quality product, don’t worry too much about one or two loose balusters.  Of course that doesn’t mean you have to live with the constant reminder rattling at you every time you walk up the stairs.

Dowel Top Baluster NailMost balusters, wood or iron, are installed into holes in the floor or shoe plate and also into the handrail.  This is true as long as they have a dowel top.  Usually wood balusters are installed with a small amount of wood glue in the hole, then finish nailed.  Sometimes the finish nail can curve up into the hole and not actually penetrate the handrail or a hard bump can even break the glue joint.  The best way to fix a rattling wood baluster is to simply re-nail it.  This is done by shooting a finish nail into the baluster where it meets the handrail.  The nail goes through the dowel top and into the handrail on the opposite side.  However there is another method if you don’t have a finish nail gun or if you have wrought iron spindles, a toothpick.  Yep, that is the professional secret to securing loose balusters.  Wood toothpicks are perfect miniature shims for this application.

Iron Baluster SecureAmazing how simple this is isn’t it.  You just need a small wedge to hold the baluster secure so that it can’t move and rattle as you walk by.  Although any toothpick will do, the best type are the flat versions.  You simply add a little wood glue to the toothpick (on the side facing the wood rail if you have iron balusters) then push it into place.  You can wedge it as tight as you can with your fingers then using a utility knife, place the sharp edge against the tooth pick 1/8” or so down from the handrail as if you were going to cut it.  Don’t cut through yet though, instead use the utility knife blade to further slide the toothpick up into the hole.   Once it is deep enough and the baluster is secure (this may take more than one toothpick in some cases) you simply trim the toothpick shim flush with the bottom of the rail, wipe off any excess woodglue, and you are done.

You can use this method top and bottom and as long as the loose balusters are intermittent and the guard rail is secure there should be no worries with the overall strength of the system.  If you have any questions or are looking for a similar trick of the trade don’t hesitate to give us a call anytime at 888-390-7245.

Combining wood stair parts with wrought iron balusters

Alder and Wrought Iron Combination Balustrade

If you are considering a wrought iron baluster pattern you may be wondering, like many of our customers, whether you should choose a full iron balustrade with handrail and posts as well as the balusters or a combination of wood stair parts with wrought iron balusters.  Of course I cannot tell you what will work best for your particular project but perhaps I can help you understand the differences so that you can make the best choice.

Here I am referring primarily to interior balustrades where sun and weathering are not an issue.  I think the best way to address this choice is to first consider the stylistic aspect as a whole then to delve deeper into the individual components.

Wrought_Iron_BalustradeSo, first let us consider a full iron balustrade which includes handrail, balusters and newel posts.  Wrought Iron has been used for decorative purposes since the middle ages (prior to that it was used primarily for tools and weapons).  In early 1900’s true wrought iron was gradually replaced by the less expensive and more easily produced “mild steel”.  Mild Steel has many of the properties of wrought iron and is what virtually all wrought iron stair parts are made from today despite the fact that they the term wrought iron was erroneously retained.  I assume that this is due to marketing considerations because “wrought iron balusters” sounds more appealing than “mild steel balusters”.  Anyway, as far as we are concerned here, if the architectural style of your home harkens back to an earlier period to which you want to remain true then a full wrought iron balustrade may be the obvious choice.  Wrought iron balustrades in interior spaces are stronger, durable and will last indefinitely.  Of course, this may only apply to the structural capacity, because aesthetically this may not be true.  A perfect example is the wide spread use of wrought iron during the late 60’s and 70’s, primarily for cost purposes, that are often very dated today.  The reason for this is that they were typically “cheap” designs that made little or no attempt to stand on their own creative or artistic merits.  While full iron balustrades are not nearly as common today as wood and iron combinations, there are many situations in which this style is preferable.  These include, as I mentioned, maintaining an authentic theme in a home where wrought iron is perfectly matched or in many contemporary designs such as modern or semi-industrial perhaps using horizontal iron balustrades.

Full wood balustrades are comparatively more recent in their popularity but similarly may be perfectly suited for specific home styles such as Craftsman, Traditional, and Victorian.  Wood balustrades are typically more bold because of the larger components as required to insure their inherent durability.  For example, a ½” wrought iron balusters with an intricate “basket” component would fall apart if made from any wood species.  So the wood components are typically larger and have more subtle differences.

Wood and Iron Balustrade

Wood and Iron Balustrade

Now let’s look at combining of these two materials into a balustrade.  This is the most common type of wrought iron based balustrade system built today, and for good reason.  Wrought iron balusters offer the widest range of design possibilities.  Where a single wood baluster is often just repeated through the balustrade, several wrought iron balusters are combined to expand on the individual baluster design into extensive patterns.  So for those wanting a more unique and visually larger impression, iron balusters are definitely more versatile.  The use of wood handrails and newel posts is often preferred over their wrought iron counterparts for two reasons.  Wood handrails are typically much larger and warmer to the touch than steel.  They create a more substantial top boundary to the balustrade and may help integrate the balustrade with other wood components of the home, such as hardwood floors, moldings and doors.  Wood Newel Posts are available as Turned or Box Newels and are likewise substantially larger, offer more strength and are visually more commanding for this largest architectural feature of the balustrade.  For interior use, wood and wrought iron combinations are often the best of both worlds: varied intricate and unique baluster patterns with larger handrails and bold newel posts that add warmth and contrast to the balustrade.  Additionally, wood stair treads, skirtboards, and accompanying moldings help further the integration of the stair and balustrade with the other architectural features of the home.

There is one final consideration, and that is cost.  The difficulty with this is that there is so much overlap that there is now clear differentiation between full iron and wood and iron combinations.  The best way to evaluate this if you  intend to have your balustrade professionally installed is to have your project bid both ways.  If on the other hand you are a do it yourselfer then your skill set may determine the direction.  Wood and iron combinations are relatively simple for anyone with basic woodworking skills.  Full Wrought Iron on the other hand requires welding, grinding and if you are dealing with curves, then rolling the steel.

Whatever you decide, or if you need additional help from design through completion don’t hesitate to contact one of our stair specialists any time at 888-390-7245 or  By: Jeremy Trimmer

Do I need a professional Railing Installer?

Wood and Wrought Iron Balustrade


One of the most common questions our customers ask is, “Do I need a professional railing installer?”  This is a loaded question based upon the complexity of your stair and railing system, your understanding of the simple mathematics and your carpentry skills.  A full balustrade installation can be compared to piecing together a gargantuan jigsaw puzzle with a variety of tools and using pieces that have a specific position but require some modification to get that perfect fit.  If you have zero woodworking experience then you should avoid all but the most simple of installations such as adding a wallmounted rail, etc.  Unfortunately we cannot answer this question for you but help you to find the answer for yourself.

To do this you must first evaluate your particular system and the individual components that comprise it.  The level of completion of specific components can vary based on the manufacturer which can make the installation more flexible for the professional but may also require more skilled craftsmanship.  If you are not an expert, choosing stair parts that most closely fit your banister will make the installation process simpler.  The stair specialists at are always available to help you identify the best components for your project.  Feel free to call us any time 888-390-7245

Next look at each component individually and ask yourself, “Do I have the right tool for this job”.  For example if you are installing wood balusters for stairs you will probably need a saw and a drill.  While you may not own the specific stair installation tools you may be able to borrow them from a friend or neighbor.  A large portion of stair and railing installation requires very little skill, such as screwing, plugging, sanding, etc.  So, if you know someone who is skilled in woodworking and has a few of the larger tools, they can often help with the more difficult tasks leaving you with those that require less skill.  Also, there are tool rental companies and many of the large home improvement stores have rental departments as well.

The next question you must ask is, “do I know how to use the tool correctly?”  If the answer to this is yes then you probably have a do-it-yourself banister project.  There is some simple math required for layouts and angles but there are a number of calculators available online to help you figure out quantities, layouts, angles and so on.

Remember stair and railing installation is not an easy process but if you have the tools, basic carpentry skills, a good eye and some patience most people can get the job done.  Not only can you save some cash on the installation but you will also know that sense of accomplishment from building a beautiful and permanent piece of furniture in your home.  This is not to say that a professional stair builder or railing installer should not be considered.  A professional craftsman with good references and portfolio will often do the job in a fraction of the time with a beautiful finished product.


Types of Stairs


There are several different types of stairs that are used in architectural design.  These vary for a variety of reasons, two of the most important being their visual appeal and consideration of space.  Stairways can occupy a rather large footprint in a home but through some creative design this footprint can be substantially reduced when necessary when space is at a premium.  Here are the six basic stair shapes and their uses in a home.

Straight Stairs are the most common type primarily because they are very practical while being the most simple and inexpensive type of stairway.  A straight stair is basically one that travels from one floor to the next without changing direction or curving.

L Shaped Stairs are basically two stairs that connect at a landing or by winder treads at a 90° turn.  These are most often used when space is more limited and a full straight flight cannot fit.  The intermediate landing or winder tread area of the stair may be centered between the two straight flights or nearer the top of the bottom.  Winder treads are pie shaped treads that increase the number of treads in the “landing area” when space is even more limited.

U or Switchback Stairs are two flights (often of differing length) that run parallel and joined at the top of the lower flight and the bottom of the upper flight by an intermediate landing.  The landing itself may also be partitioned into two square landings or several pie shaped winder treads to reduce the length of the straight flights and thereby reduce the overall footprint of the U shaped stair.  Ideally, there is a space between the two parallel flights to allow room for skirt boards, stair tread overhangs and clearance between bypassing handrails.  This distance may be as little as 6” to upwards of 12”.

Winder Stairs consist of pie shaped treads instead of a true landing.  A stair may be constructed of a series of these treads for its full flight, or as described above the steps take the place of intermediate landings.  Winder treads involve several specific codes such as minimum width, walk line run, etc. which must be taken into account.  Additionally, winder treads often add additional expense to a stairway due to the necessary inclusion of a Newel Post at the turn or handrail fittings required to make the transitions.  Winder treads can be a valuable tool as substituted for intermediate L shaped or U Shaped stair landings when space is limited.

Circular staircases are technically winder stairs with the specific requirements that they curve around a center point or central axis and that they do not have a center post or column.  They are large and sweeping and are available in several types.  Freestanding circular staircases span between floors without intermediate attachment.  They are basically attached to the lower floor and upper floor only.  Hanging circular staircases are attached top and bottom like free-standing but they are also attached to one wall for their full length.  Usually this is the larger radius with inside radius open and complete with a sweeping balustrade.  The third option is basically supported its entire length as well as top and bottom by walls.  These walls may be beneath the stair so that it has open balustrade on one or both sides or the walls may completely enclose the stair so only a wall mounted grab rail is required.    Regardless of the type, circular staircases are the most luxurious and elegant style of staircase available.  Still, they are often not substantially more expensive than L shaped, U Shaped or Winder when the balustrades are considered.  This is because a typical circular stairway does not require a series of handrail fittings or newel posts at an angular turn.

Spiral staircases are circular staircases that curve around a central post or column.  They are extremely popular because they are relatively inexpensive and occupy very limited spaces.  They can be constructed from steel, wood or a combination of each.  Exterior spiral staircases are typically constructed from steel and powder coated or painted.  There is a wide variety of price ranges for this type of stair, from cheap one-size-fits-all kits to custom manufactured architectural works of art.  The price range reflects the materials, quality and functionality.  For some, cheap service stairs are all that is required and flex and movement aren’t a problem.  Some situations demand a more durable and aesthetically appropriate stair and balustrade.

Finally, there are many grey areas of stair design.  For example, stairs may be circular to straight, double L Shaped, elliptical, flared and more.  This fusion of different styles is intended both to maximize space and perhaps more importantly to accentuate the design capabilities of these unique architectural features.  Our advice when planning your staircase is to be as creative as your budget will allow and consider the entire stair/balustrade unit when evaluating that budget.  As I mentioned, circular stairs are often considered “more expensive” even by experienced builders.  The fact is that while this is true in most cases, it is not exorbitantly so.  A circular stair and balustrade is often only slightly more than a U shaped or Winder stair.   In my opinion the beauty and elegance is often well worth the small additional cost.  Most professional stair and balustrade installation companies, including will happily provide you with a quote containing both options.  So why not check it out before you build.  If you have any stair or railing related questions give us a call any time at 888-390-7245.

Stair Parts Glossary of Terms


Stairs and banisters in general and stair parts specifically, compose a large assortment of terms that describe the many unique components used to create these elegant architectural features.  In order to make this blog more helpful, to better assist our customers in making informed decisions and as a general information resource, we’ve created a very detailed glossary of stair and balustrade terms.  In addition to the definitions we’ve also provided links to many of the items so you can see images.

Take for example one of the words I just used above, balustrade.  If you  are uncertain what the word balustrade means then you are not alone.  This is a widely know term in our industry but is used infrequently beyond it.  This is because it is very specific stair related word as you  can see from the following definition as included in our Glossary of Stair Terms:

Balustrade – The combination of Handrails, Balusters, Newel Posts, and Tread Caps that serve as a Guardrail of a flight of stairs or Balcony. (Also Known as a Banister or Railing System or less accurately a Handrail)

More specifically there are many stair parts with very unique names, such as volute, easing, newel, baluster, shoe rails and so on.   These terms are also relatively unknown to most people outside of our industry.  Instead of asking for a part by name we are regularly asked about the “curly-q” thing at the bottom of the stair or where a customer can find the “pickets” on our website.  These two terms are volute and balusters, respectively.  We are hopeful that our glossary will help you  find what you are looking for.

Additionally, there are several relatively common words that have very uncommon meanings as related to stairs and balustrades.  For example, the term apron has a very unique definition in our industry that is unrelated to its definition as an article of clothing.

Apron – A wide decorative board attached to the wall under any Balustrade or above the treads on a Closed Stringer also known as a Skirtboard.

Perhaps you are designing a balustrade for your home, in which case our glossary of stair terms will insure that you are able to have an accurate and informed conversation about the project.  Or, if you are looking for a specific stair part this will help you to ask for it by name or search for it specifically online.  Whatever capacity you need this information we hope it helps you.  As always, if you need more information give one of our Stair Specialists a call anytime at 888-390-7245 or email us at


Outrageous Stairs in an Outrageous Homes – in HGTV’s Top 10 Outrageous Homes

Grand Circular Staircase

HGTV’s most outrageous homes will feature an $11 million house in Riverton Utah on its “Top 10 Outrageous Homes” this fall.  Woodstairs is a proud, behind the scenes, contributor to this amazing project through the stair parts supplied to one of our customers, Titan Stairs of Utah.  Titan Stairs has been a WoodStairs customer for half a dozen years now and we have worked on many amazing projects with them.  They are true craftsman whose projects include some of the most elegant and richly detailed custom stairs and balustrades in their area.  Of the many professional stair & balustrade and trim companies in Utah, Titan Stairs (with branches in both Salt Lake City and St. George) is widely regarded as the best.  We highly recommend them and are glad to see their work showcased in this article and the upcoming episode on HGTV.  The acclaim is well deserved.

There are many features of this home that helped to warrant it’s inclusion in HGTV’s “Outrageous Homes” episode.  Of course our interest is specific to the stairs and railings.  So what exactly make the stairs themselves stand out as outrageous?  The answer is in fact, nothing.  The stairs and banisters are not unusually extreme.   Still, there is something about them that helps to enhance the overall extravagance and uniqueness of the home.

In fact, were every aspect of the home over the top it would probably not be recognized as the beautifully luxurious home that it is.  According to John Pickett, of Titan Stairs, the thing that makes this home and it’s several stairs and balustrades stand out as extraordinary in his mind was the “integration and attention to detail.”  Paraphrasing, John, the designer, Julie Stuehser, was meticulous in creating each space as a collection of details that perfectly defined the whole.  So, in his opinion, while there were many unique and amazing features it was the overall integrity of the design that Julie, the builder, Upland Development and the homeowners envisioned, that made the home in its entirety something special.  Passing from one room to the next, as you can see from the images, the design are completely different but according to John, “It is as if they could be from different homes, but the transitions are seamless.”

Traditional Wood and Paintgrade BalustradeThe home has several staircases, each with different balustrades that reflect the specific style of the room.  The entry consists of a grand circular hanging staircase by Titan Stairs.  It includes Solid Stair Treads with Paint Grade Risers.  The Balustrade itself is an elegant continuous system with Victorian Style 2015 traditional turned balusters and 3015P newel Posts.  Again, extraordinary only in the perfect complementarity and symmetry of the stair and balustrade design with the rest of the entryway.

Craftsman Wood and Paintgrade BalustradeMoving from the entry to the great room in the rear of the home, you  will encounter another balustrade that is very different from the entry though with threads of similarity that insure a fluid transition.  The handrail, like the main stair, is a traditional alder but the balusters and newel posts are now craftsman.  The stair is still clad in solid treads with paint grade skirtboards.  Traditional Wood BalustradeStill other systems in the library and basement maintain the profiles of the stair parts while replacing the lighter and contrasting paint grade with richly stained alder components.  These rooms tend to be warmer and, if it can be said of an $11 million mansion, homier.

Check out this local news article to read about and see the many amazing features of this home.  Woodstairs would like to congratulate Julie Stuehser, Ryan Taylor of Upland Development, Titan Stairs and of course the home owners, Mr. and Mrs. Ewell.  The recognition for the immense artistry, design and craftsmanship that goes into such awe-inspiring project is well deserved and is happy  to have contributed in our own small way.

Stair Makeover – Adding a Wood handrail to Wrought Iron

Upgrade your full metal stair by simply adding a wood handrail.

Adding wood handrail to a full wrought iron balustrade can literally heat up your railing system without the expense of replacing the entire banister.  Wood handrails are typically larger, warmer to the touch and the eye and more comfortable in your hand.  This is one simple and inexpensive way to perform a stair makeover of an existing full iron banister.

Over the last 30 years or so, what were once two separate railing styles are often combined.  Wood and wrought iron balustrades allow you to have the warmth and comfort of wood and the versatility of wrought iron balusters.  Wood stair treads, newel posts, handrails and moldings are generally larger and tie in better with the other wood features of the home such as base, doors, moldings and furniture.  Wrought iron balusters on the other hand are far more versatile.  Rather than repeating a single baluster over the entire balustrade, multiple wrought iron balusters are combined to create patterns within the larger pattern of the banister.  Relatively new advancements (say the last 20-30 years) in wrought iron balusters have made this merger possible.  Doweled tops for installation into wood handrail instead of having to be welded to an iron rail and baluster shoes that conceal the holes in the landing tread are the two most prominent of these. 

Still, you may have a perfectly good fully wrought iron balustrade but lacks a little something.  You can of course replace the entire system or you could just add a wood rail on top of the existing wrought iron rail.  This is especially easy if your top rail is square or rectangular with a flat surface, in which case the new handrail can be screwed directly on top of it.   If you have a more detailed profile handrail the wood handrail can be plowed so that the iron rail recesses into the wood handrail, thus concealing it.  Most wood handrails are available plowed to several standard dimensions; however you may need a custom width or depth to fit your particular situation. can custom plow any of our wood handrails at no additional charge.  You might also consider several other methods of enhancing your existing balustrade in addition to simply adding a wood rail as described here.  For example adding stair treads, newel posts, or painting.  Feel free to mix and match as well.  There are often a variety of ways to get a beautiful system out of what you already have without having to start from scratch and replace everything.  Give us a call and we will help you with all of your stair and balustrade questions.  888-390-7245.

Stair Makeover – Adding Stair Treads

The dramatic effects of adding stair treads and risers plus a little paint to your stairs.

Adding stair treads to a stairway can have a dramatic visual impact that adds value to your home.  While we have not had the chance to speak with all of our many customers who choose this option, those that we have heard from have raved about the results.  The few we’ve talked to who did this to help sell their home have been unanimous in their belief that this either helped to sell their home faster or that they were able to ask for more than they would have otherwise.  Basically, the stair treads more than paid for themselves.  This same sentiment is true on most of the home flipping shows on television.  Old and outdated stairs are always addressed through some renovation and stair treads is one of the best and easiest.

Adding stair treads and a little paint can totally transform your stairs.

Adding stair treads and a little paint can totally transform your stairs.

This is because the stair treads offer a large area to upgrade and that the difference is dramatic.  Even the most luxurious carpet is no match to the beautiful natural texture and patterns of the wood grain in solid oak stair treads.  Also, while installing stair treads does require the balustrade to be removed and reinstalled, the components are reused.  So, you don’t have to spend the additional money on handrails, newel posts, balusters, etc.  The installation is also far easier than it was to begin with because everything is already cut to length, the layouts have been done and you only have to remove those balustrades on the stairs themselves, not the overlooking balconies.  You might want to consider just adding a bullnose stair tread also called a starting step to the bottom step.

False tread caps and balustrade upgrade

False tread caps and balustrade upgrade

Or, if your stairs are fully carpeted you can also choose to add false tread caps to the sides of the stair, creating a carpet runner effect.  This is a less expensive option that still gives the additional beauty of wood to the system.

In addition to the stair treads, you might use this opportunity to upgrade some of the other components, such as wood to wrought iron balusters, etc.  Still, the tread addition is often enough to make a huge difference without the expense of replacing the entire system.

Whatever you decide to do to enhance your existing balustrade, the Stair Specialists at can help.  Give us a call anytime at 888-390-7245 or email us at

Stair Makeover – Replacing Wood Balusters with Wrought Iron Balusters

Upgrading from outdated to wood iron balusters can make a dramatic visual impact.

Replacing wood balusters with wrought iron balusters is one of the most common methods of upgrading an outdated balustrade.  This is not to say that wrought iron is superior to wood in general but sometimes wood balusters may have been damaged, broken, or they are simply outdated.  You  may be able to remedy this look by refinishing which I discussed in my previous post, or you can swap out your wood balusters with wrought iron as I will described today.

There are three basic methods to replacing wood balusters with wrought iron balusters, I’ve named these the Up-and-Down Method, the Secure Method and IronPro.   There is a fourth option in which you can replace the entire balustrade with the balusters this still involves one of the three methods listed above.  In fact these three methods are the same when installing a new balustrade from scratch.  Today, I don’t intend to go through the specifics of each method but rather to consider the reasons for and the possible results you can achieve by upgrading shabby wood balusters with wrought iron.


Changing only the balusters allows you to save time and money by keeping your the wood components intact.

Changing only the balusters allows you to save time and money by keeping your the wood components intact.

If you are interested in this option and would like more information on the details I’ve written a series of articles here that explain the processes and the pros and cons of each. 

For our purposes, let’s look at the two primary reasons you may want to upgrade your existing all wood banister to wrought iron.  The first is structural.  While wood railing systems are typically as strong as wrought iron and wood combinations, an older balustrade may have weakened through use and abuse over time.  In this case if you want to upgrade this may be the perfect time.  If you have a weak banister you may have to re-secure, reinforce or even replace a few damaged balusters.  Depending on how bad your system has weakened over the years this could take a fair amount of work in itself.  Also, you may find it difficult to exactly replace balusters that may have been discontinued.  Of course offers custom turnings and can match any profile in any wood species, but the cost is slightly higher due to the custom nature of this process.  So, if you are going to be working on the system anyway, you may decide to replace all of the wood spindles with wrought iron balusters instead.

If your other components, such as handrail and newel posts, are in good shape then you can usually save these and replace only the balusters.  The costs associated with this are dramatically less than replacing the entire system.  This brings me to the second and far more prominent reason that people elect to upgrade to wrought iron balusters, appearance.  Wood and wrought iron balustrade combinations are relatively new to the residential building scene.  This combination originated in its popular form about 25-30 years ago and not only has it survived the test of time but has expanded dramatically to include virtually unlimited patterns.  This is the greatest advantage that wrought iron balusters have over wood.  In a wood system a single profile of baluster is usually repeated over and over.  Wrought iron balusters on the other hand are combined to create varying and unique patterns.  For example more simple patterns of alternating Single and Double Wrought Iron Baskets or Knuckles are often combined with an Iron Scroll Baluster that creates an ornamental focal point.  This versatility

Another way to save money with your stair renovation is to find discounted balusters in an iron balusters sale. offers discounted wood and iron stair parts that are overstocked in our Steals & Deals category.  If you don’t find what you are looking for be sure to check back often as this category is constantly changing and being updated with new items.


IronPro is just one of the ways you can make this transformation.

IronPro is just one of the ways you can make this transformation.

Finally, you can always mix these renovations, for example replacing your wood balusters with iron and re-staining.  Or, while you have your balusters out, you may consider upgrading carpeted stairs with hardwood Stair Treads.  This option may not be for everyone but if it is something you are interested in the removal of the wood balusters is a great time to add them and save a little on the installation.  I will post some more articles in the next few days but in the meantime if you have any questions give us a call at 888-390-7245.  Article by: Jeremy Trimmer