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In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva rebuilds a corroded, unsafe railing.


1. Remove rusted railings from the staircase by cutting with a reciprocating saw, or simply bending and breaking the railing free.

2. Use hammer-drill and ⅜-inch-diameter masonry bit to drilling out the pieces of old railing left in the concrete staircase. Drill closely spaced holes around the perimeter of the pieces and yank them out with pliers.

3. Cut railing legs flush with railing using a reciprocating saw with metal-cutting blade.

4. Apply spray primer to bare metal at ends of railing legs.

5. Squeeze bonding adhesive into hollow railing legs, then insert the leg extensions.

6. Secure each leg extension with a single 3/16-inch-diameter x ⅜-inch-long pop rivet.

7. Clean dust and debris from railing holes in concrete staircase with wet/dry vacuum.

8. Stand repaired railing into place on the staircase. Use level to ensure railing is perfectly plumb, then temporarily secure the railing to the house with duct tape.

9. Mix in a bucket some water and hydraulic cement.

10. Use pointed trowel to apply cement to hole around the railing legs. Force the cement deep into each hole, then clean away the excess cement from the surface with a damp cloth.

11. Allow the cement to cure for two days before removing tape and using the railing.