How to Remove Dated Spirals From a Railing

3 Materials
2 Hours

I grew up in a house with spirals on the front porch handrails. And quite frankly, that’s not too surprising because there are spirals on about 99.9% of the homes in most Chicagoland neighborhoods, including ours. Apparently those spiral details were quite the trend 50+ years ago!

[For the full step-by-step tutorial, read this blog post.]

However, these spirals were dating our house and I wanted to remove
how to remove dated spirals from a railing
Here's our outdoor hand railing before I got my hands on it.
how to remove dated spirals from a railing
First, you want to grind away the spirals. The side grinder is just like it sounds, a handheld power tool that slowly grinds away metal. It’s a bit intimidating because when it makes contact with metal, sparks fly all over the place. This is why we recommend wearing gloves, closed-toe shoes, pants, and even a face shield to protect yourself.

You’ll want to slowly grind the points where the spirals meet the vertical spindles. Then, file down the spirals to get it nice and smooth.

how to remove dated spirals from a railing
Filing down the spindles will leave you with some exposed steel, which is only a problem if you don’t prime it right away. So, I primed those areas and then did 2 coats of paint.
how to remove dated spirals from a railing
Here's how it looks after! So much better and much more modern. Instead of replacing the entire railing, I was able to save money and transform what we did have. I love when that happens.
how to remove dated spirals from a railing
If you want the full tutorial, check out this blog post with all of the details.
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The DIY Playbook

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Sassy
    on Jul 8, 2018

    Looks great! What did you do with the spirals when you got them off? They would be great for someone with a pool to hang wet towels or pool toys on!

    • The DIY Playbook
      on Jul 10, 2018

      they were in pretty bad shape after grinding them off, so we brought them to a local scrap metal place to be reused in some capacity!

  • Priscila santiago
    on Aug 8, 2018

    What you do with the spiral,do you use un another project?

Join the conversation

2 of 30 comments
  • Sue Sanders
    on Jul 7, 2018

    Im in the planning stage for a hand rail for my front porch. Your rail is a great safety feature for us older folks.

  • Debbie Paul Child
    on Aug 28, 2018

    i loved the way it was. I know the style u are,voing for though. i would use those on a piece,of wood for a coat rack. they are beautiful.

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