Mark McCullough makes a homeowner’s concrete steps safer for their young kids by installing an iron railing.
Just because a set of steps is within code and doesn’t require a handrail doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from one. When this was the case for a homeowner’s backdoor, he decided to call the team at Ask This Old House for help. Mason Mark McCullough helps install a wrought iron railing to make the steps safer and add some classic, durable style.
How to Install an Iron Railing on Concrete Steps
- Measure the existing steps to give the iron shop the measurements they need to create the railing. This should include the number of steps, the rise and run of the steps, and the depth of the top landing or step. Order the railing.
- Once the railing is delivered, have a helper hold it in place on the stairs. Make sure the railing won’t be in the way of the door and will provide plenty of room for getting in and out.
- With the railing positioned correctly, mark the location of the posts on the top and bottom steps using the lumber crayon. Remove the railing.
- Hook the coring machine up to a water hose. Drill through a bucket lid with the core drilling bit. Position the bucket lid hole directly over the post location, stand on the lid, and score the surface with the coring drill.
- Remove the bucket lid once the surface is scored and place a boot down on the steps to prevent water from spraying. With the boot in place, drill into the concrete to the depth of the railing posts. Remove the cores from the holes and clean the holes out.
- Place the railing posts in the holes and check their fitment. Just small scraps of wood to hold the railing plumb and straight.
- Mix hydraulic cement with water in a small pail. The consistency should be soupy. Once completely mixed, pour the cement into the holes around the railing’s posts. Fill the holes completely and bevel the tops of the cement with a trowel to prevent water from collecting at the base of the posts.
- Wipe the railing posts with a sponge before any hydraulic cement cures.
- Leave the handrail alone for at least 24 hours to ensure that the hydraulic cement cures completely while the railing is plumb.
Mark uses a coring drill to install the railing to drill two holes in the top and bottom concrete steps.
Once the railing is dropped in, Mark and the homeowner pour the anchoring cement into each hole. They then clean up any excess cement with a damp sponge. Mark double-checks that the railing is level before it cures.
Special assistance is provided by Forte Iron Work Specialist Inc.
You may choose to rent the coring drill if the job is for one railing.