How to Remove Dated Spirals From a Railing

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 them to make our outdoor railing look more modern and contemporary. With a little hard work, and a few supplies, I removed them on a budget! This project is extremely inexpensive and almost immediately brings the railing out of the 1950’s and into the 21st century.
Time: 2 HoursCost: $30Difficulty: Medium
  • 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.

Suggested materials for this project:

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