By Gene and Katie Hamilton

To upgrade a home with a metal railing on the second floor landing, consider using a new hardwood railing. It’s sure to be noticed for its traditional good looks. The project requires some woodworking skills, but the job is made easier using a post-to-post stair system. It is called post-to-post because the handrail runs between the posts, unlike an over-the-post system with handrails running over the newel posts using fittings on the handrail.

A carpenter will charge $308 to remove a metal railing and replace it with a 5-foot-long, 32-inch-high prefinished oak railing and balusters on the second-floor landing of a house. This includes the labor and material. A handy homeowner with carpentry skills and tools can do the job for $140, the cost of the railing’s components, which include a wooden railing with balusters (sometimes called spindles), a newel post, wall brackets and the hardware fittings to install it. The fittings are bolted to the posts with lag bolts and the balusters are screwed down to the floor. To help you through the measuring and design process, go to, the website of a stair component manufacturer that’s very useful for a budding carpenter with a stair railing project.

That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to replace a stair railing lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.

Cost updated 2013

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