As timeless and sophisticated as wrought iron railings are, they can fall out of favor due to safety reasons. For instance, small children can get their heads stuck between the metal bars or hurt themselves with the railing spikes.
In some cases, the reason is simply that you’re no longer a fan of the aesthetic. Whatever the underlying cause may be, complete replacement isn’t always the option, given how the cost for such projects can be as high as $500/linear foot.
So, how to cover wrought iron railings without breaking the bank? Read on to discover ingenious wrought iron porch makeover ideas.
Ways to Cover Wrought Iron Railings
1. Permanent fixtures01 Glass
One method to cover wrought iron porch railings and modernize them at the same time is using glass, particularly stained ones. This way, you don’t have to worry about the railings looking outdated in your contemporary home.
Depending on your preferences and desired effects, you can either go for clear or tinted glass. While the former offers a minimalist and modern aesthetic, the latter can hide the metal columns better and still lend a touch of style to your interior decor.
In any case, here’s how you utilize glass for covering wrought iron porch columns:
- Measure the railings to determine the required dimensions of the glass panels.
- Determine what glass you want and choose clamps according to its thickness.
- For each square meter of glass panels, install four clamps—two at the top and two at the bottom. Note that the clamps should be placed near the balustrade enough that when the glass is installed, there’s no more than 99 mm between the two.
- Check to see if the clamps are even and level.
- Slide the glass into the clamps, then tighten them to 8 Nm.
Whereas glass is modern covers for wrought iron columns, wooden panels are a better choice for older homes with a traditional design. Considering these panels are available in various grain patterns, colors, and finishes, it wouldn’t be hard to find ones fitting your home.
When you update old wrought iron railing outside with wood panels, you need to choose ones with excellent weather-proof properties like western cedar. Otherwise, the material can absorb water and warp. There’s also the issue of wood discoloring under prolonged sunlight exposure to take into consideration.
To add wood to wrought iron railing, here is what you need to do:
- Measure the railings to see how large the wood panels need to be.
- Cut the panels according to your measurements, then try placing them flush against the railings to see if they fit.
- To be sure, you should place all the panels against the balustrade without gluing them in. See if you’re satisfied with the setup before permanently gluing the panels.
- Once you’ve determined nothing needs changing, apply the glue and install the panels. For best results, use metal-to-wood glues such as Adiseal, Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue, or Original Gorilla Glue.
- Let the glue set according to its manufacturer’s instructions.
You can also box in wrought iron columns with wood panels. If wrapping wrought iron porch columns this way, you should use clamps to keep the panels in place while the glue dries, then screw the wood board to the wrought column.03 Stone veneers
Stone veneers are note-worthy ideas for wrought iron railings for anyone who wants to bring a touch of nature into their home without sacrificing their interior’s modern style.
Another reason I’d recommend this approach is that you can also apply stone veneers on your walls, pillars, etc. This way, you can pull off a uniform scheme and bring a sense of depth to your interior design.
One thing about stone veneer installation, though, is that it’s best left to the professional. Should you insist on doing the task yourself anyway, here’s the instruction for updating wrought iron porch columns and railings:
- Pressure wash the wrought railings to eliminate all grime and rust.
- Cut a panel of wire lathe according to the dimensions of the railings and tack weld it in place.
- Lather the wire lathe with mortar mix.
- Create grooves in the mortar surface by dragging the toothed edge of a metal scraper across it horizontally.
- Wait 48 hours for the mortar mix to set.
- Think about how you want to lay out the stone. It’s best to envision what result you want so that you can cut the stones accordingly in advance.
- Apply an 0.5-inch-thick layer of mortar on the back of the stones.
- Start placing the stones. Start from the bottom corner to the other and gradually go all the way up.
- Fill the joints using grout, then brush the stones clean. Finish the surface with a sealer.
For easy-to-install and low-maintenance railing covers for stairs, consider using vinyl panels. These are available in a wide range of options, from planks with grooves and tongues to ones with adhesive backing for peel-and-stick application.
As peel-and-stick panels are easy to install, I’ll just go briefly over how to cover metal columns with vinyl planks:
- Fasten a vinyl plank to the staircase’s post, making sure its groove is facing outward.
- Angle the second plank so that its tongue will slide into the first one’s groove.
- Keep repeating the process until you reach the staircase’s other post, by which point you should fasten the last plank in place with screws.
2. Temporary01 Artwork
Concealing interior wrought iron railing can be a time-consuming and physically taxing process, so it’s understandable that you’d want to opt for something simpler. In such a case, hanging artwork along the railing would make an excellent alternative.
The advantage of this approach is that your options are pretty limitless – feel free to go for any pictures or paintings you like. And as the decorations aren’t permanently fixed, you can switch them out for new ones whenever you want.
To mount these artworks, you can use nails and screws or stick the decoration in place with strong adhesive tapes.02 Fabric Cover
Another quick and easy way to cover wrought iron railings is with fabric. Again, this method is advantageous in that you can pick whatever design you want, thus giving you countless options when it comes to railing decoration.
If you’re not particularly crafty, you can easily find custom-made ones online, which lets you choose what fabric you want and its dimensions. The cost for such covers isn’t too expensive, with the price range being around $50 to $140.
Making one yourself isn’t hard either; just cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the stair. Then sew straps on the fabric’s corners so you can tie the cover to the railing’s posts.03 Plants
Bring some lush green into your home by hiding the iron railings with plants. Personally, I prefer hanging plants and vines, as I feel they can cover the metal better.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with going for any cultivar you like, as long as you can meet their care requirement. For instance, spider plants are ideal low-maintenance options indoors. However, they must be kept in indirect sunlight, and the ambient temperature must be between 55℉ and 80℉.
How do you modernize a wrought iron railing?
As pointed out above, you can modernize your wrought iron railing by covering it with glass or stone veneers. And while wood is best for older homes, it can fit in just fine with contemporary interior designs. In this case, I’d suggest choosing carved wood with clear grains to highlight your railing’s beauty.
Painting wrought iron stair railing is another way to modernize it without spending too much money. This method is especially effective if your wrought railing is so old that it’s lost its sheen and the paint is peeling off.
What can I do with an old wrought iron fence?
Below are a few suggestions for repurposing old wrought iron fences:
- Mount a section of the railing to the wall so you can hang pictures on it.
- Paint and decorate the railing, then use it as a headboard.
- Turn the wrought iron railing into an accent piece in your garden by staking it to the ground. You can either use it as a trellis or flower bed border.
- Install the railing upside down from your ceiling or porch for hanging plants.
- Frame the iron fence into a circular shape and mount candles around it, effectively turning it into a chandelier.
How to cover wrought iron railings? Possible options range from temporary solutions like using fabric covers to permanent ones like installing stone veneers. As such, I’m certain you’ll be able to find a method that best suits your needs and budget.
In case you do decide to remove the iron railings, try determining whether they’re antique fences first by contacting local salvage yards. If you have an antique piece, it can fetch a hefty price, which will save you quite a lot of money for your renovation project.