Do you have a favorite DIY home project? The project that makes you smile when you see it or talk about it. One of our top 5 DIY projects had to be the decision to update our wood spindles with wrought iron.
Our original balusters (spindles) were the builder grade wood with high gloss white finish. It was one of the few projects where we were ahead of the trend. Just like this DIY project.
I refer to our home’s layout as a “brownstone in the suburbs.” We have five levels in our house which mean lots of steps and spindles. Like 141 spindles. This was the view from our top level.
When our kids were younger they entertained themselves by throwing bouncy balls, socks and Goldfish crackers from the top of the stairs to the basement. The dogs loved to chase all of it! #memories #iblinked #memories
While searching for wrought iron spindles at big box stores and online retailers, we learned every retailer has a different name for the different staircase parts. Here is a quick photo to explain the parts needed for the wrought iron spindles.
We broke this project down into steps (literally). When we got a contractor’s quote to replace the wood spindles with wrought iron. His quote came in just under $5000. This was right after we had purchased a manufacturing company with a large business loan attached, we ran the numbers and decided to do it ourselves.
Each of these decisions impacted the price. Remember we had 141 wood spindles to remove and 141 wrought iron spindles to install. It was worth every day of the five months, over the course of the holidays, to complete this project. We completed this project with an out of pocket expense of around $1300-1500.
Here’s how we did it!
When we calculated the price we were lucky because we did not want fancy, scrolled spindles. We preferred the single, straight spindles over the twisted spindles. Which was great news because a bar with a “twist” added more money to the price than the square or round spindles.
We went with 141 square spindles.
The second decision that impacted price was the number of “knuckles” on the bar (see image above). We decided to alternate the bars with a one-one-two-one-one-two pattern. I have also seen staircases where the spindles had no knuckles. This option would reduce material and/or labor costs.
Again, the price is per knuckle so it adds up depending on the number of stairs.
The final attachment was the “shoe.” The shoe secured the spindle to the base or the “shoe rail.” This was the last step of this project. Every “shoe” had to be tightened with a little screw. We let our kids help with this project and over the course of a few weeks we tightened and double-checked all 141 spindles.
Another consideration is to go with hollow or solid bars. We quickly decided with 141 spindles we did not need the solid bar.
And, finally, another way to reduce the costs is to buy in bulk with neighbors or friends who want to replace their spindles. And, the best part is that we did not have to pick the same spindle style to get the bulk discount. And, we got free shipping when we mailed all the spindles to one of our addresses.
We love the look!