Your shopping cart is empty.

Help! What rail system ideas/suggestions do you have?

Paola DeValdenebro
October 28, 2013
We recently had our stairs redone, but have yet to complete them as we are not sure how to go about the next step. Trying to do this ourselves, but would love some guidance as to what rail system we could use. We like cables, but it seems that may be a tough DIY project. Any ideas for a modern approach, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, would be appreciated! You can see the "before" picture in the 2nd file. Thanks!

Comments (24)

  • jradnell
    I think cables would look great with your stairs. My husband and I did cables on our deck and it wasn't too hard. We went to a boat shop because they were cheaper and better quality too. I'm sure if you look on YouTube there would be heaps of instructional videos.
  • Paola DeValdenebro
    Thanks for the feedback! Were you able to get all the materials at a boat shop or just the cables?
  • sarah_hallier
    Your new stairs looks amazing! Was the old staircase removed or just redone? Thanks
  • Paola DeValdenebro
    Thank you Sarah! No, not removed basically recovered in wood after taking the carpet off.
  • diyher
    nicely done. I've heard that cables aren't always approved for code in some areas. If it's the same kind of cables I saw posted on houzz in the past, then if someone was to fall and have to grab the cable, I heard it wasn't as safe as a sturdier solution.
    Paola DeValdenebro thanked diyher
  • Tyler Cook
    I think this picture would look good for your new rail system. There are special Kits to make the type of rail system that you want, you just have to look around on different website for DIY projects. Hope this helped :) Good luck!
  • PRO
    A Kitchen That Works LLC
    If you like cable contact AGS (Bainbridge a Island, WA) or Feeney. You might find it easier than you think. You might need to rent a few tools though.
  • Paola DeValdenebro
    Thank you Tyler & A Kitchen That Works. I've looked online extensively, and making a little progress in trying to figure out the kits. There are so many options when you start looking into it, it's kind of hard to understand what all is needed and what goes with what. But we are starting to narrow it a bit! Trying to keep costs down too and stainless still is expensive! Thank you all very much.
  • Tyler Cook
    Have you got estimates on how much it would cost to have it done professionally? If its not that much more it might save a lot of headaches and time then rather to DIY.
  • jpp221
    No solutions, not even a suggestion here. But I just had to say, what a great new stairway you've got there. Really beautiful.
  • Paola DeValdenebro
    Thank you jpp221! Tyler, yup we've gotten 1 pro estimate which was upwards of $3000. I know that is what is costs...but after spending $$ on getting them recovered and putting new hardwoods in our bedroom and hall, we would LOVE to spend a lot less than that!
  • jradnell
    We are in Australia and we got all that was needed including hiring of the tool that allows you to clasp the cables at the end, for a boat supply. The hardest bit will be, in my opinion, is putting in the support posts at the base of the stairs.
  • PRO
    Look at galvanized pipe. There are some really unique applications.
  • nwduck
    I wonder if you couldn't have the frame system (like Tyler's photo) fabricated locally in something like simple black iron, and install/run the cables through it yourselves. Might save some funds.
  • Paola DeValdenebro
    Thanks all! These are some great suggestions and we are researching several options/combinations. Will post pic once we figure it out and finish it all!
  • PRO
    NK Woodworking
    Here's some we just designed/finished in Seattle. Might help you on inspiration. Can't help you on the under $3k thing though : )

    You can see more of our work on our houzz site or website

    We custom design/install work out of state if you end up wanting to go a much more expensive artsy one of a kind route at some point ; ). Good luck with the project, looks like a good start!
  • PRO
    Mitchell Channon Design
    A glass railing would be a nice option for your railing that would maintain the open feeling. It is not, however, a budget or DIY, option.
  • orangecamera
    I really like this one.
    Rural Mid-Century Modern · More Info
    It looks like you could make it yourselves from pipes and fittings.
  • PRO
    Ultra-tec Cable Railing
    http://thecableconnection.com/ultra-tec.html our system is designed for DIY installation. Please contact our office with any questions as we would be more than happy to assist you with any of your questions.
  • PRO
    Paola--Two key issues with choosing and installing the railing system, are maintaining a clear width at the stair, and making certain that the distance btw. the cables or ballustrades meet code. My suggestion is to buy a kit that has offers the structural masts, the fasteners and the cable which, when installed properly, meet code. Ideally, you should opt for a system that allows for the installation of a wood (teak/oak/cherry) rail cap, topping out at the code req'd height. For example, if you chose to implement a system in the picture above, it violates a number of code issues, at least domestically, if you are in the States. No matter which direction you choose to go, research section 311.7 in the IRC to make certain that you are addressing all life safety issues. Happy Houzzing.
  • orangecamera
    DMH, if you're referring to the picture I posted, you're absolutely right about it not meeting code for a staircase. I just thought the idea of using pipes like that was pretty cool.
  • PRO
    Take a look at attached samples of using natural steel with clear coat finishes and stainless steel cables by The Cable Connection. The black steel and contrast with the stainless steel will make the wood staircase look really modern and balanced. Try to find a local metal fabricator / artist to work with on details, cost, fabrication and installation. Seems pretty straight forward for your project! Good luck.
  • J Petempich
    I sail and stainless is so expensive. Unistrut makes a lot of products for building rails without needing a welder but I think their products are expensive and also not stainless. I am looking for myself because I have the same project next year. I think a kit made for the stairs would probably end up less expensive and meet code than trying to buy the parts you need and then paying extra for industrial or boat quality. I am looking forward to what you come up with.
    Paola DeValdenebro thanked J Petempich
  • rozee50plus
    my son (29) is a brilliant woodworker living in Cape Town, South Africa ..... he has recently completed a stunning Oak staircase ......(sending him these photos)

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).