Read more about the article Upgrading a Builder grade railing
Finished Hand Rail

Upgrading a Builder grade railing

The problem

Some of our want list had to be delayed to replace a poor quality handrail installed by the builder. Needless to say the railing failed due to poor preparation and material selection. Upgrading a builder grade railing can add value to any home.

When learning how to remodel and build homes, my father always spent the time to hand select every 2×4, 2×6 etc. etc. I hated it. But as I got older I excepted the process and I just do it naturally. The reason I mention this is due to the material that was used to construct the railing we are replacing for this project.

As a force of habit I automatically go to the best quality material I can locate and scrutinize every piece. So this brings us to the choice the builder used. In the vast number of years I’ve been remodeling I have never stumbled across a finger jointed 2×4. This is the wrong choice for an outdoor wood project.

I know the builder chose this material because it is cheap and with a fresh coat of paint who would know. The choice of material is not the only mistake. During installation proper preparation did not occur. The exposed end grain was not sealed and I could not find any signs of a primer being used. Poorly prepped and a low quality paint job and the railing is destined to fail. The failure is the railing had rotted when exposed to the elements.

Rotted railing.

I did paint them after the first year and again a year later, however I could see that replacement was in the future. The picture above shows the paint blistering at the base trim. The lower rail is basically just paint. When removing the post the extent of damage was remarkable.

(more…)

Continue ReadingUpgrading a Builder grade railing