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Our Outdated Oak Baluster

You might remember from my house tour that we live in a bi-level and guests enter our home and come up five stairs into the living room. The stair railing that is at the top of those stairs can be seen in this photo:

My living room recently underwent a major makeover, so let me show you a more up-to-date photograph from a different angle.

Small leather sofa

Now with my updated furniture, this stair railing just had to go. It did not fit with my aesthetic and I had dreams of something more modern and sleek.
Old, outdated DIY stair railing makeover
I found a little bit of knowledge from this blog post that got my wheels turning. They used metal conduit to construct a stair railing and cut it to size, securing it to the wall with MDF.

I didn’t take step by step photos of myself completing this project because I have something even better! I videotaped my stair railing DIY makeover and sped it up for you to see. I do have a complete materials list and cost below, and if you’d like more information about how I did something, please ask in the comments!

You can visit Welcome to the Woods on Youtube and subscribe to see more DIY home improvement videos.

Stair Railing Materials

I designed this stair railing using metal as well as wood in a horizontal orientation for a contemporary look. I chose steel conduit as my metal because I could cut it with an angle grinder to my desired length, measuring about 1/4″ less than needed so I could wiggle it into place.

Steel Conduit four 1/2″ by 10′ poles = $9.32
Black Spray Paint for the Conduit = $2.99 (on sale!)

For the wood newel post, I bought 1/4″ thick MDF and used a brad nailer to attach it to the existing post. I couldn’t access the newel post through the basement ceiling, so I just built off what was already there and I knew was stable. I bought the topper and bottom skirt as pre-made pieces. They were originally meant for outdoor decks, but I didn’t see why I couldn’t have them indoors. Building my own newel post with parts instead of buying a pre-made one saved me more than $100.

2′ by 4′ piece of 1/4″ thick MDF = $4.34
Post Cap = $5.00 (on sale!)
Post Skirt = $1.00 (on sale!)
Another, thicker post skirt = $2.89 (I had to buy & cut to size for the half post against my wall. It looks like the cap on the newel post, sort of.)
1″ by 4″ quality pine board = $2.92

I did have to buy a few tools I didn’t already have, like a caulk gun and the 3/4″ spade bit for drilling the holes. These amounted to about $6 and I’m not adding them into my material total. However, I did buy paintable caulking and liquid construction adhesive. The adhesive was used to secure the conduit bars in their holes.

Paintable Caulk = $1.89
Construction Adhesive = $2.49


Stair Railing DIY Makeover

Now enjoy some photos of the amazing before and after stair railing DIY makeover!

Stair Railing DIY Makeover. This baluster went from old, outdated oak to sleek metal bars with a modern white newel post.
The transformation has been incredible. The look and feel of our house has completely changed when people enter up the steps.

Our new stair railing was surprisingly easy to DIY. Video tutorial included!
Of course, feel free to pin as you please!

Newel Post refacing, how to and video tutorial. I love this modern stair design!
So the newel post has the 1/4″ thick MDF refacing it and the piece inside is where I pre-drilled holes with a 3/4″ spade bit for the conduit to rest. I did drill into the existing newel post itself a tad and cut the conduit to a length where they would go into the post and not just rely on the strength of the MDF to hold them up. Oh and by the way, doesn’t my sign of family values wall decor look awesome in the background!? Everything is coming together so nicely since I painted my trim white and the doors black.

How to use steel metal conduit to create a new stair railing. This diy makeover is unbelievable -- PIN NOW and watch the video tutorial!
After the conduit was inside the post, I used liquid construction adhesive to secure them in place so they didn’t slide. If you watch the video above, you’ll see how I just added some adhesive in the crevices between the hole and conduit.

Beautiful modern and sleek stair railing design done by a young mommy blogger. You have to watch the video tutorial to see this amazing transformation!
It is so beautiful, isn’t it!?
Ok, last photo. Be sure to pin this one!

Before and After Stair Railing DIY Makeover. This mommy blogger transformed an outdated oak baluster into a sleek, modern design!
Thank you so much for reading about my stair railing DIY makeover! This project only took me 5 days from start to completion with a lot of planning and a little help from my kids (as you saw in the video). I worked so hard on it and would be honored if you were inclined to share this project with your friends! Come back soon to see my Christmas decor, I am planning to hang our stockings on the new stair railing!
Signature welcome to the woods

Stair Railing DIY Makeover
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18 thoughts on “Stair Railing DIY Makeover

  • November 25, 2016 at 2:13 PM

    This really opens up your room and your design would work not only modern styles, but also blend with transitional styles of decor. I would gently remind you that seniors and young children would appreciate having the handrail you removed, even though you have a short run of stairs. To save space you could use one made of the conduit pipe. Thank you for the tutorial. I have been looking for an affordable way to update our staircase, What a creative woman you are!

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:08 PM

      Thank you, Joan! I did consider doing a new handrail as well, but I figured I would wait a few months and see if it was missed because I prefer it not there. Come back again!


  • November 27, 2016 at 3:11 AM

    Love it…has the paint on the metal come off at all?

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:05 PM

      Thank you Camie! No, I used Rust-O-Leum spray paint which is oil based and is meant to bond and stick to metal. The link is in my materials list above!


  • December 28, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    Looks great, but is there not a concern that young children will be able to climb horizontal rungs? This is not allowed in our building code in Ontario.

    • December 28, 2016 at 11:51 AM

      Hi Mal! Thank you for your comment. It’s really not a concern for our household as my children don’t climb, are obedient listeners, and are never near the stairs because there is a couch in front of it. I would be more leery to do a project like this at the top of tall stairs, but this railing is protection from just five carpeted steps. The building code in the state I live does not specify against horizontal rungs and this railing does meet spacing as well as weight bearing requirements.


  • December 28, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    Beautifully done video and great update to the room/area.

  • April 16, 2017 at 7:55 AM

    Firstly, you and kids are adorable. The rails look fantastic!
    Have been sooo sick of my yellow oak everywhere. Decided I wanted to make a dramatic change and spotted your reno. Just what I had in mind. I’m going for it, would like to incorporate barn board…..but I’ll leave it to the professionals. Thirty years ago, I might have been motivated to do myself. Not so much now.

    • April 19, 2017 at 8:04 PM

      Thanks for the compliment Monica! Best of luck with yours! 🙂


  • May 4, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Got to love and respect a woman who can wield tools like you do; beautiful job!

  • May 4, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Wow….that’s amazing that you did that all by yourself!

  • May 4, 2017 at 12:25 PM

    Love it! It modernizes your space.

  • May 5, 2017 at 1:19 AM

    I like your stair well railing, it looks nice but I really liked the older look one better.
    To me it looks sturdier . The small railing looks like it wouldn’t take much for someone to push through it.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.


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