REPAIRING A RUSTED HANDRAIL OR RAILING
As exterior iron handrails or railings age, problems generally occur in one of five areas:
- Rusting posts
- Loose concrete or mortar around posts
- Loose mounting plates at the base of posts
- Rusted brackets or wall lugs
- Broken or rusted screws on wall lugs or post base plates
Most of these problems can be easily fixed with a few inexpensive items that can be purchased at a local hardware store.
FIXING A RUSTED RAILING OR HANDRAIL POST THAT IS MOUNTED IN CONCRETE OR MORTAR
When a railing post in concrete is completely rusted at the base, the only way to safely secure the rail is to cut the existing post off and weld a new post in its place. This requires some expensive hardware and welding skills and should be fixed by a professional. Most local railing or welding shops are equipped to do on-site repairs.
FIXING A RAILING WITH LOOSE CONCRETE OR MORTAR
If a railing has relatively little rust on the posts, and the mortar or concrete around the posts no longer secures the railing, the easiest method is to reapply hydraulic cement.
- Hydraulic cement
- High-pressure water hose sprayer
- Props – broom sticks or any firm poles will be sufficient
- Steel or brass wire brush
- First remove any loose chunks of cement by hand.
- After removing the larger loose pieces, take a water hose with a high-pressure spray nozzle and thoroughly spray directly into the hole around the posts.
- Continue to spray until dirt and debris stops coming out of the holes.
- Prop the rail in a level position BEFORE applying cement into the holes; hydraulic cement sets rapidly, especially in warm dry weather.
- Pour hydraulic cement into the holes around the posts.
- As you pour the hydraulic cement into the hole, gently tap on the base of the post with a hammer to ensure the hydraulic cement settles completely into the hole.
- Monitor the hydraulic cement closely after pouring.
- Keep a water hose and metal wire brush ready. Hydraulic cement sets rapidly, usually setting in about 5 to 10 minutes. As the cement hardens, use the water hose and wire brush to remove any spills or unwanted cement. Timing is critical. If you clean up the excess cement too early, you will wash the cement out of the holes and weaken the set. If you clean the area too late with the water hose, the concrete will be too hard to remove. So you want to spray when the cement just firm enough to withstand a mild spray, but firm enough to withstand a direct high-pressure spray.