Old metal rails on your home can rust out over time and need replacing. Building a new metal railing to replace an old one is a project most homeowners who are good with tools can do themselves. If you have an old railing that needs replacing, and you want to do the job yourself, here is how to weld together a new metal railing for your steps or balcony.
You Will Need:
- Wire Feed Welder
- Flux Core Welding Wire
- Welding Helmet
- Chop Saw
- Saw Horses
- Long Carpenter Clamps
- 2 long pieces of wood
- Square Metal Tubing
- Metal Balusters
- Flat Iron Pieces
Measure Old Railing
If you want the new railings to match the size of the old railing, you should measure the lengths of the hand rail, balusters, and bottom rail.
Take the pieces of the new rail and cut them to the size of the old rail with a chop saw.
Place New Rail Parts on a Jig
You should build a jig big enough to hold all the pieces of the largest rail section together.
Take a couple of saw horses and space them a few feet apart. Take a couple of long pieces of wood (2"x10" boards will work well) and lay them over the top of the sawhorses. Place the hand rail on top of one of the boards, and put the bottom rail on top of the other board.
Place the balusters between the top rail and bottom rail along the jig – make sure the rails are spaced evenly apart to create a uniform look.
Hold everything in place with a couple of long carpenter clamps. Put the clamp ends over the edges of the top and bottom rails, and tighten the clamp until everything is snugly held together.
Weld Parts Together
Insert the wire into the handle of the weld gun. Pull the trigger on the gun a couple of times until the wire sticks out of the tip on the weld gun.
Place the ground clamp on the welder to the metal rail.
Turn the machine on and test the welder on a piece of waste metal to make sure it's working properly.
Set the wire into the seam of the two parts being welded together. Press down on the trigger of the weld gun and gently pull the wire backwards over the seam. Pulling the wire backwards gives you a nice thin weld that won't be very noticeable.
Make sure to turn the welder off every couple of minutes to let it cool down or you could overheat the machine.
Flip the railing over once you have completely welded all the seams on one side and repeat the process on the other side.
You can install the railing in place on the stairs or balcony once it is completely welded and the seams have cooled down.
If you don't have the skills or supplies to pull this off, contact a company like Checkpoint Welding & Fabrication for help.