How to paint iron rails in the house?

The rails start at the door to the 2nd floor. It’s a raised ranch home. My decor style is contemporary.
1- What color would give the rails a more modern look?
2 - what is the best way to paint them. Looks cumbersome!
3- what type of paint?
4- what finish?
5- any other options besides removing or painting?

q painting iron rails in the house
  11 answers
  • This is strictly my opinion but I might experiment with a small section first. I love the new look of metallic paints. (I am especially fond of Fusion Mineral paints). I would use an old glove (or even a sock) and rub the metallic all over your black rails. Even if you don't cover the black entirely (it will look a bit aged, I think) it would look so much more modern. Taking the rails off would be a bit of work but if you do, you could then probably spray paint them instead.

  • Jennifer Ritchie-Trush Jennifer Ritchie-Trush on Aug 10, 2018

    I would remove them first and take them outside. Give them a good cleaning with a degreaser then use a Rust-Oleum spray paint. Make sure you don't spray too close or too long on one spot to avoid dripping. You can always go back over a lighter spot later. My opinion a brushed nickel would look nice. You can go over with a clear coat when your desired color is achieved and dried. Give it a day or two at least to be sure.

  • Jason T. Lee Jason T. Lee on Aug 10, 2018

    Sorry I can give color advice but I can tell you that the best way to paint them is to spray them. If you spray them the best idea is to remove them and do your painting outside or in a garage. I would suggest that you consider a hammered finish to give them more depth. Check your big box hardware store for color options.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Aug 10, 2018

    The best bet is to remove the rails and spray paint them in the garage (or yard). You have too much carpet, walls, and tile that can get screwed up. There are many available spray paint colors and texture (including a hammered look). I might try a brown of other color that complements your carpeting or furniture.

    You could also remove the metal and install a wooden handrail and possibly build a half wall along the end of the room.

  • Ted Rowland Ted Rowland on Aug 11, 2018

    SPRAY PAINTING IS OUT! Go to the paint store and ask for a painter's mitt. It is rubber mitt inside, with lamb's wool, or synthetic lambs wool on the outside. (It is material like a good paint roller). Then, whatever paint you buy, made for metal, pour a little into a roller pan, and flatten your hand and dip just the flat side of your fingers into the paint. Come up to the flat angle side of the pan and pat off the excess paint, to keep from dripping. Now lightly grasp the rails and move from top to bottom. As you use the mitt longer, it will coat better because of paint saturation. If you are using a latex - acrylic paint, you can wash out the mitt in the laundry tub later with some dish soap. Just be sure to rinse and rinse. I have successfully used these for up to 5 years when using the mitt 3-4 times per month. (Painted professionally in a crew for awhile, and we maintained and reused all our brushes, rollers, and other equipment).

    As to the color, the colors I see on the floor, walls, and trim, and also your furniture, leads to the following, Satin white, or copper. Personally, I would repaint the green wall, the same as your wine colored furniture. First buy a gallon of KILZ, or Zinser, and have it tinted to that color. Without it, the wine colored latex will have you painting over and over, because it bleeds out easy. I would put 2 coats of KILZ, then a single coat of the wine, (eggshell or satin finish). Then, whatever copper color of paint that I use for the rails, I would use a feather duster or sponge, and create a random pattern on the wine colored wall. The feather duster you lightly touch the wall with a sweeping motion, (short strokes), the sponge you lightly dab. You could also use the painters mitt and dab light, random patterns. This will make that entrance just pop.

    As a note, I would use an inch and a half sash brush to paint the top and bottom of the rails. You want the kind of copper paint that has metal in it. It doesn't have to be metal flake, they can be much smaller.

    It goes without saying that you will want to remove the heat register, and tape off the white trim.I don't usually recommend painting the heat register, but you can if you if you use your tinted KILZ or Zinser first, then your wine color. You can sponge, feather, or mitt copper on this too, and it will just fade into the wall. But remove it, not just paint in place. You can reinstall it, and then apply the copper to keep the right pattern.

    I hope this helps.

  • Jod21357333 Jod21357333 on Aug 11, 2018

    painting outdoor rails without removing?

  • Kris Kris on Aug 11, 2018

    I have seen these rails where they remove every other up right rail. It adds a whole new look and doesn’t seem to weaken the rail. If you have little kids I’m not sure I would do it though. I agree it needs to be taken off and painted outside. Nowadays you can buy about any color you can imagine. Just be sure to do the prep work required. Clean, sand, clean again!

    • Ted Rowland Ted Rowland on Aug 11, 2018

      The new code is that all rails for a staicase, landing or porch, that is 36 inches ore more, shall have spindles where used placed not more than 2-3/4 inches between. No space, including the space from the bottom of the rail to the tread, shall exceed 2-3/4 inches. This is a Federal code, and exceeds all state and local codes. This is to prevent babies/children from falling or getting there head stuck between the rails.

  • Beth Beth on Aug 11, 2018

    If they are still neat and smooth, go with one of the previous suggestions. If they are a mess, remove and have them stripped and POWDER COATED. This is a professional job that is well worth paying for, they will look BRAND NEW.

  • Kris Kris on Aug 12, 2018

    I didn’t know the codes even existed for inside railings like yours, that why I mentioned small children. Good to know.

  • AndradeTea AndradeTea on Aug 13, 2018

    What is the color scheme and style you're going for in your home? This will help direct the color and style input.

  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 13, 2018

    I would remove the rails and take them to an autobody painter to paint your choice of color.... maybe paint them the same color of the wall to get them to disappear as its hard to take a standard railing and make it look contemporary.

    The only thing I can think of to make it look contemporary would be remove the spindles, and install resin sheets either in a solid color or some the new ones that have grass, bamboo etc. in the middle.... then paint the rail itself maybe a nice mirror chrome.....

    Most contemporary railings have horizontal bars or cables and are chrome, brushed metal finish, or black. You might look to a railing replacement company to see if you can find some horizontal bars or simply use steel cable and drill some holes through the upright supports to feed the cable through. I did this with a friends 70s house with wood railing, removing all the spindles, left the upright supports, drilled holes evenly using a template.... and strung steel cable after painting the wood gray to go with the walls. Looked quite smart and modern.

    • DDawson DDawson on Aug 14, 2018

      Sharon. I think that’s a good solution overall. Great ideas!!