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Our Finished Staircase with Horizontal Stair Railing!!

Our Finished Staircase with Horizontal Stair Railing!!

Our Finished Staircase with Horizontal Stair Railing!!

After living months and months (years?) without any railings on our two staircases or the second story of our house (not recommended BTW), I’m thrilled to report our staircase renovation is finally complete! Today I’m sharing all of the details on the staircase reno and horizontal stair railing.

We went through a lot of considerations before pulling the trigger on anything related to the staircase. We debated cable railingtiling the risers, vertical vs horizontal railings, tread coverings, etc. It consumed hours of research and I even thought we could DIY some or maybe even all of the project. In the end, we hired everything out! Staircase work is meticulous and it was definitely the right decision to bring in the professionals.

Check out that sexy before photo! When we bought the house, the second story and the stairs themselves were covered with nasty, old carpet and the railings were orange-y colored wood that I knew had to go. Shortly after buying the house we had new hardwood floors installed in the downstairs living area and entire upstairs. We ripped out all of the old railings upstairs beforehand so they didn’t have to make cuts around the posts that I eventually wanted to remove. The staircase, however, was left exposed until we could tackle it. Once we started the staircase renovation project, finishing the staircase flooring was the first step. Here’s what our two staircases looked like at the beginning of the project.

staircase renovation project stairs before staircase renovation project before photos

There are many ways to go about transitioning previously carpeted stairs to hardwood flooring. Our flooring guys decided the easiest way was to build out the existing stair risers to make it flush with the lip and then install the flooring and new white risers, repurposing our existing skirt board trim. The riser height and tread depth were still within code requirements so we were good to go.

We opted to apply the tongue and groove hardwood on the stairs rather than install treads or retrofit treads (which are made specifically to cover previously carpeted stairs), this way we didn’t have to worry about stain matching or labor associated with applying the stain. Some hardwood flooring will offer matching stair treads but ours did not. (P.S. The wood flooring that you see on the first floor will be replaced with the dark brown hardwood we’ve put in everywhere else in the house – that’s the last and final phase of the flooring and will happen when we renovate the kitchen which is on the same level.)

After about 7 days of work by a team of 2-3 guys each day, the staircase flooring was done and ready for railings. We still need to add trim to the wall along the staircase but we opted to do that part ourselves to save some on labor costs.

Horizontal Stair Railing

We decided to finish our staircase with metal horizontal stair railing. The railings are powder coated aluminum. Powder coating is a process where they spray colored powder onto the metal and then bake it on, essentially. The finish is smooth and extremely durable. We used a local metalworks company, RedArc Metalworks, to custom fabricate the railings. The handrail on the stairs is approx 38″ high and the pickets measure about 3.75″ from each other. The handrail on the second story balcony is 42″ high, a bit above the code requirement to mitigate some of the risk associated with horizontal railings, mainly related to them being a climbing hazard for kiddos.


During the first visit, they did rough measurements so they could give us a quote. We had been in contact with them via email so we knew approximately what the quote would be. Once we approved the quote, they came back a second time to conduct the field measure to get exact measurements and angle of the stairs, etc. then they started the fabrication. About 4 weeks later they came a third time to do a dry fit of the railing frames, to make sure everything fit and determine if they needed to make any adjustments, which they did. The adjustments were made prior to welding in the rails/pickets.

They work off a very detailed diagram based on the measurements and design specific to our staircase.

Once pickets are installed they powder coat each section and then it’s ready for install. A few weeks later, they came back for the fourth and final time and installed all of the finished sections. Installation took 4 guys about 2 hours.

Staircase Flooring & Horizontal Stair Railing Cost Breakdown

The labor for the staircase flooring was $2k. That doesn’t include the cost of the materials, which all depends on what floor covering you use. Hardwood flooring stair noses can be pricey and we needed 30 of them since we have two staircases so our material cost was approximately $3k.

The total cost for the horizontal metal railings was $7,200. We have about 80′ total of railings so it was about $90/foot and included everything, fabrication to install.

Our Finished Staircase with Horizontal Stair Railing

horizontal stair railing horizontal stair railing horizontal staircase railing open living and dining with second story and black metal horizontal staircase railing black metal horizontal stair railing balcony with black metal horizontal staircase railing

So there ya have it! Our finished staircase with metal horizontal stair railings! What do you think of the transformation?

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Hey there! I'm Becky, Tampa-based blogger, stylist and design enthusiast. Follow along as we fix up our eclectic farmhouse and inspire you to live a styled life.

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Comments (27)

  1. Melissa
    Jun 6, 2018

    I can’t believe how much it transforms your house!

  2. ashley@biggerthanthethreeofus
    Aug 6, 2018

    This turned out so great and thanks for providing all the budget/price information!

  3. Carly
    Nov 26, 2018

    Did you go with a matte powder coat finish?

  4. Joe Slonaker
    Dec 17, 2018

    Hello!! I’m planning on doing something similar to this in a rental. (Not nearly as long of a distance.) I can’t find any code anywhere saying you can or can’t run the balusters parallel to the slope of the steps; only that it isn’t recommended because of children climbing. I assume since this company did it, it is okay?
    Thanks!! Looks great.

    • Dec 29, 2018

      Hi there! I’d check with your local building codes/authorities but in our case, it is allowed, there’s just code requirements on the distance between the railings as well as height of the handrail.

  5. Jill Jones
    Jan 10, 2019

    Hello! We are in SW Michigan and have received very expensive quotes to fabricate horizontal railing. They have also told us it cannot be powder coated due to the size and configuration. Any suggestions?

    • Jan 12, 2019

      Hi Jill, I’m sorry to hear that. Our railings were in about 9 pieces to allow for powder coating and easy install. Are you getting quotes from metalworks companies for aluminum railing? Aluminum is much less expensive than iron. I’d keep looking for a company/metal works contractor until you find one that’s a good fit. Good luck!!

    • Joselyne
      Jun 17, 2019

      Hey Jill,

      Check out Nacy Engineering & Fabrication, LLC!

      Not sure your exact location but it’s in Metro Detroit

    • Shannon Nelson
      Jan 5, 2021


      If you still need someone, I have a guy out of Waterford that does amazing work and honestly has great prices (probably doesn’t charge enough). Let me know if you want his info.

  6. Karen Friesen
    Jul 22, 2019

    Hi Becky! I came across your beautiful railing while searching for a similar style for our deck. Can you tell me the dimensions of the posts as well as the horizontal rails? I would really like to copy this look!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Aug 1, 2019

      Hi Karen! The posts are 1.5″ square and the horizontal rails are 3/4″! I hope that helps!

      • Nina bel
        Jul 12, 2021

        Hi Becky, Your staircase is so beautiful! We are in the process of having a local welder build a similar staircase for us. I was wondering the same things as Karen but I was also wondering the dimensions of the handrails? Are they the same as the posts? Lastly We have 7 steps just like in your bottom picture. However, we have a closed staircase not open like yours. I have been debating about weather or not we should put a post in the middle. The guy who is going to be doing the work said that if we have 1″ pickets that we don’t need the extra middle post. Please let me know your thoughts! Thank you so much, Nina

        • Nina Bel
          Jul 12, 2021

          One other question. The person we are working with paints the the steel instead of powder coating. Do you know anything about this? Thanks again for your help!

        • Jul 13, 2021

          Our handrails are 2″ wide and 1″ deep. Our posts are 1.5″ squares. It’s impossible to make a solid recommendation re: the post without seeing it. If it’s going to look different than the rest of your post spacing then I’d keep it but if the rest of the posts are spaced similarly I’d leave it.

    • Jul 13, 2021

      Posts 1.5″ square. Rails are .75″ square.

  7. Leslie Reinert
    Feb 26, 2020

    Hi Becky,
    Gorgeous staircase design !
    We are also doing a steel staircase, and I was wondering how “ clean” the welding lines are where horizontal meets vertical.
    The guys doing my stairs are craftsman, so I trust their work, but the welds seem a bit more “ messy” than I expected. I am sure when all is done, I won’t notice. I was wondering if yours are the same, and if you have a close up picture?
    Thank you!

  8. Kat McMahon
    May 4, 2020

    Love the stair where can i find or purchase railings like that?

    • May 23, 2020

      We used a local metal fabrication company to make them custom.

  9. Laura
    Sep 3, 2020

    What was your approximate cost per linear foot? Thanks!

    • Sep 30, 2020

      Hi Laura, all of this info is in the blog post including total cost and cost per foot.

  10. James Desilva
    May 1, 2021

    Hi I’m interested in this railing kit

    • May 1, 2021

      If you read the blog post then you would know that it isn’t a kit. We had them custom fabricated.

  11. Susanne
    Mar 10, 2022

    Love the railing. I live in Tampa. Can u please tell me where and who did your railing? Thank you

    • Mar 10, 2022

      We used RedArc metalworks, I think they’re now called Fl Fab Works. I have heard from other readers they are very unresponsive and others have not had luck reaching or hiring them.

  12. S wallace
    Mar 10, 2022

    Please give me the company you used for the railing. I love in Tampa

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