Most modern “wrought iron” stair and porch railings are made of aluminum or hollow steel, and they can rust or become loose as time passes. Repainting imitation wrought iron is fairly easy, and fixing loose railings is typically manageable for the average homeowner. If you have true, solid, forged wrought iron an expert may be needed. Read on to learn more.
Fixing The Fasteners
Metal railings are usually attached to wood with screws, and to other sections of railing with bolts. If your railing is loose, check these connections first and tighten the fasteners with a screwdriver or wrench. If a bolt won’t tighten securely by hand, remove it, check for damage, and replace it with another bolt of the same size. If a screw won’t tighten into wood, try replacing it with a slightly larger screw. If that doesn’t work, find a plastic wall anchor that fits snugly into the hole in the wood and press it into the hole. The anchor will expand and grip the surrounding wood when you drive the screw into it.
WD-40 or Similar Lubricant
If a fastener that you need to tighten or remove is rusted into place, spray it with a penetrating oil and wait 30 minutes. The oil should loosen the connection enough for you to tighten or loosen the fastener. You can buy penetrating oil at any hardware store. Penetrating oil comes in an aerosol can with a plastic straw attachment for precision spraying. Use the straw so you can spray the oil deeper into the connection.
Anchors and Fasteners
If your railing is attached to concrete with fasteners, remove the fasteners if you have a loose connection. Take out screws or bolts with a screwdriver, or pull out nails with pliers. You’ll find plastic anchors embedded in the concrete. If these are secure and in good shape, leave them alone. If they are loose, pull them out with pliers.
Larger Fasteners And Anchors
Pick out some screws, bolts, or nails that are slightly larger than the previous ones, and feed them through the railing post bottom and into the anchors. They will expand the anchors more and may solve your loose railing problem. If necessary, take the old fasteners to a hardware store to pick out slightly larger replacements. If the anchors are damaged, replace them with new ones of the same size.
If the holes in the concrete have become too large for the anchors, fill them nearly to the top with a masonry epoxy. Then insert the anchors, position the railing post bottom, and insert the fasteners. Allow the epoxy to set up as per the package instructions before using the railing. Wipe away excess epoxy with a damp cloth right away.