Asked on Apr 09, 2015

Old style 1970 stair railing

Julie Bernard
by Julie Bernard
Hi there- I need help! I have an old style stair railing- wrought iron with plastic protective covering - picture included. What can I do with this to improve the look? Paint? It has to be cost effective.
  13 answers
  • Rustoleum hammered bronze (it's a black with bronze highlights) to the rescue! Remove them to the driveway/garage with newspapers underneath. EASY update. If you want to go further, add decorative insets inbetween a couple of the rails.
  • Julie Bernard Julie Bernard on Apr 09, 2015
    OMG! YOu are brilliant!!! I am going to try it this week-end!!
    • See 1 previous
    • Claire Gourlie Claire Gourlie on Nov 06, 2018

      Sooooo what happened Julie, I have the same top plastic railing and am determined to change it......I'm wondering about using a "gripper" primer and then "krylon fusion" as a top coat......

  • You may need to wipe all the surfaces down with alcohol, thinner or something like that. Read the can directions and/or talk to a paint professional at your local paint store so you're successful. Good luck! Can't wait to see the "after" pictures.
    • Stephanie Ingersoll Stephanie Ingersoll on Apr 06, 2020

      Wire brush and some nontoxic paint remover will help prep any metal surface for paint. Should remove anything that you don't want on their then just wash with soapy water rinse and let dry for a few days. Wire brush will also scuff it up a bit so it's not to smooth and the primer and paint will hold better.

  • Julie Bernard Julie Bernard on Apr 10, 2015
    Thank you so much for the amaing tips and advice. So helpful!! I will post an after picture when I am done.
  • Patti Patti on Apr 10, 2015
    Hi, I have the very same stair rail. I sanded the plastic top, wiped down well and painted with oil based semi gloss ivory paint. Did th same thing to the metal rails. Looks much better. You could also paint the top a different colour to work with your room colours I gave it 2 coats. Lasted about 5 years. I just redid it again.
    • Stephanie Ingersoll Stephanie Ingersoll on Apr 06, 2020

      I believe you can actually get a role of the vinyl top cover on Amazon. They are heat formed on useing a heat gun. You would have to heat it to remove it as well. I am thinking of removing mine and useing some kind of spray on coating but i haven't decided yet.

  • Julie Bernard Julie Bernard on Apr 10, 2015
    OMG!!! Excellent suggestion....Never thought of the 2 tone idea- I love that!!
  • Betsy Woolford Betsy Woolford on Apr 10, 2015
    Rustoleum paint covers anything! Great product. I painted some shiny brass picture frames with oil rubbed bronze and some forest green plastic lawn with taupe. Covered and worked so well, I tell everyone I know about it.
  • Monica Krainer Monica Krainer on Apr 10, 2015
    All of these answers are great. I would definitely paint the whole railing as suggested, then, if your budget allows, you may even want to add a wooden handrail onto the top. This would give it a more substantial appearance. This can be picked up at most big box stores. It looks as though you may need to make a couple of angle cuts to the wooden handrail which can be done with a hand saw and a miter box. The wooden handrail can be secured to the existing (metal) rail with a bracket, or strap, like those which hold metal pipes or electrical conduit to walls, etc. This type of bracket doesn’t screw into the metal railing; it just goes around it and screws into the wooden railing. To give it some overall visual balance, remove part of the metal railing that touches the floor and insert a block of wood (a little larger than the new railing but not too much) to act as a newel post. Your metal railing can be cut with a hacksaw. All of the wooden parts could be painted or stained to match. You could also put some quarter trim at the floor to give it a finished look. This is just a thought. It is a little involved but could be done in a day or so, with minimal investment of supplies or tools. Whatever you choose to do, please post your “after” when done! Have fun!
  • Moxie Moxie on Apr 11, 2015
    ...and I would stencil an amazing design on the landing and stairs lol please share pics when you are done!
  • Karen Larche Karen Larche on Dec 25, 2019

    Is there a way to completely remove the plastic top?

    • Candise Miller Candise Miller on Feb 19, 2020

      I ripped mine off, and just used pliers to get under it and then dragged on it all the way out the front door. Gonna repaint it and maybe top it with a more decorative piece, not plastic lol

  • MOOSE MOOSE on Dec 01, 2023


  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 01, 2023

    Use Sticky backed plastic on railings .