Wrought Iron Railings have become extremely popular over the last decade or so primarily because of the great versatility they allow in creating a unique balustrade. Wrought iron as it is known today is basically a mild steel and the term literally means “worked iron”. It has been around for several centuries, although in the past wrought iron railings, fences, gates and furniture were seldom combined with other materials. As far as stair parts are concerned, wrought iron components have evolved from the rough pieces that required special tools and welding into the virtually finished products, ready-to-install upon purchase. Wrought iron balusters are now available with doweled tops, pre-powder coated and with accompanying baluster shoes to make installation into shoe rails or stair treads simple and easy.
The versatility of iron balusters is unparalleled in staircase design. The huge diversity in surface treatment from plain to hammered to patterns in addition to the many ornamental features and shapes allow for a virtually unlimited array of patterns. In addition iron spindles are available in raw steel or powder coated a variety of colors which makes the installation process even more simple and inexpensive. One thing to consider when comparing cost with traditional wood balusters is that typically there will be an additional charge to paint the wood balusters while the iron will be finished upon installation. Wrought Iron balustrades can be rustic, simple and elegant or richly detailed and luxurious.
One of things to come out of this recent trend toward wrought iron stair parts is the doweling of the top and the availability of baluster shoes. The dowel topped iron balusters allows for the installation into a wood handrail by drilling a round hole. Baluster Shoes allows the installer to basically put a “square peg in a round hole”. These two factors make possible the combination of wood and wrought iron in a single balustrade. While wrought iron balusters are much more versatile than their wood counterparts, iron handrails are smaller, colder and have long been regarded as the one major downside to this wonderful medium. The ability to now use wrought iron balusters with larger, warmer and naturally beautiful wood handrails has made this a perfect combination that is sure to withstand the test of time.