Staircase railing

Professional Help vs DYI When Replacing A Railing

Railings are all over our homes – the stairs, balconies, and even patios, and we usually don’t pay much attention to them. While they have the side benefit of stopping us from falling, railings today are used for their aesthetic values and traditional charm (railings were all the rage during the Victorian and Gothic eras). The only time we probably think about the railings in our homes is when we need to fix or replace them. The question is whether you should replace the railings yourself or let professionals handle it. There are significant impediments to doing it yourself, but also some undeniable advantages – this article will shed light on both sides, so you can make an informed choice. 

What are the Impediments of DYI Railing Replacement?

Practical Knowledge on How to Do It 

Reading up on how to replace the railings or watching a YouTube video on it is very different from actually knowing how to replace railings. Especially since it requires a certain degree of muscle strength and accuracy, practical experience is extremely important if you want the replacement to be successful. That’s why if you don’t see yourself successfully doing it, you shouldn’t push your luck and call the professionals. 

The Tools You Need 

Replacing railings is a long and arduous process that requires a lot of different tools to perform successfully. Depending on what type of railing you need to replace, the list of tools you need is potentially limitless, but at the very least you need the following tools: 

  • A saw to properly cut off the railing – preferably well-maintained and sharp to minimize the effort required.
  • A drill to fix the new railing in place – You need one with a variety of screws to give you the flexibility to do the job well. 
  • Clamps – although, you might not think you need this, clamps are necessary to hold the joints together as you work on the railing. While you can do without it, it is quite unsafe and not recommended. 
  • Hammers and Screws – the primary way to fix the railing is with hammers and screws. The screws should be top quality, and the hammer should be powerful enough to properly fix the railing in place but not heavy enough you hurt yourself with it. 

The Help You’ll Require 

Railings are heavy, large, unwieldy, and it’s almost impossible to replace a railing alone – aside, maybe, from very small railings installed in your balcony. You usually need a helping hand or two to ensure everything goes smoothly. And not just any helping hand – you need someone who has a decent bit of muscle strength and knows how to help. 

The problem is that most people don’t have a person or two around offering to help them. You can always rely on your friends or family, but is replacing the railing worth asking for favors?  

The Risks Involved 

Working with a heavy piece of metal or wood while using hammers, screws, and saws is, surprisingly, not safe. There is a lot of potential for accidents, even some severe ones. While taking some safety measures like wearing chainsaw safety gloves will help to an extent, you might still face a hazardous situation, especially if you’re new at replacing railings. 

If you’re sure of yourself and understand the risks and still want to do it yourself, then you probably should. If, however, you’re someone who is starting to become uncomfortable with the idea that you might possibly get hurt while doing it, maybe you should leave it to the professionals. 

What are the Advantages of Replacing a Railing on Your Own

Of course, there are some advantages to undertaking the task yourself that you shouldn’t overlook. Still, whether they are worth it or not is up to you to determine.  

Greater Flexibility 

When you replace the railing yourself, you’ll be in total control, and this gives you greater flexibility: 

  • You are free to choose how to fix the railing, which screws to use, and where to drill – while a specialist will listen to you in some cases, you still won’t have as many choices as you otherwise would. 
  • You’ll be able to work on it in your own time and whenever you feel like it. You might not be free or feel comfortable with someone working inside your house for a certain duration. Doing it yourself means you can even start working on it at 3 am (not recommended, very unsafe).

Potentially Less Expensive 

The obvious advantage is that you won’t need to pay someone, and it’ll be less expensive if you do it yourself. This is generally true, and if you are really tight on money, maybe you should consider replacing the railing yourself. 

There’s an important caveat, however. You’re not exactly saving all the money you’d otherwise have to pay to a specialist, but you have to take into account all the extra implicit and explicit costs. The implicit cost of spending your own time replacing the railing, while you might be doing something more valuable. Not to mention the cost of all the tools you need to successfully replace the railing. If you think that, even with these costs, it is still worth it to replace it yourself, then go for it. 

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