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Old 08-13-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


Hey all - we're soon replacing our white, builder-grade round wood balusters with decorative iron. Of course, you epoxy them in place. Then you have the little foot which has a hex bolt in it to secure it to the iron and further keep it from moving.

We have 3 young kids. I'm worried that somehow they would work something loose. Some of these balusters might be the decorative kind with swirls or S shapes. Easy to grab/pull twist by little hands.

Any thoughts? Is that epoxy super strong? What if it got hard and cracked over time?

On that note - any suggestions on the best/strongest/longest-lasting epoxy, or any other suggestions to strengthen the project?

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Old 08-13-2012, 01:50 PM   #2
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


Do you have to bolt AND epoxy them in place?

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Old 08-13-2012, 02:53 PM   #3
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


The commonly used method is just to stick the baluster in place (with "foot" piece loosely on) and epoxy the top/bottom holes where the baluster goes up into the railing then down into the stair step. Then you slide the foot to the bottom, and tighten the single little screw. The foot hides the old larger hole and looks decorative. And I suppose it does add a little strength.

Maybe that rock solid and effectively permanent and good for the life of the house. I mean, since this is how it's done, there must be inspection rules/laws/code for this stuff. I'd think given the danger of a fall, that code would be strict.

I'm just wondering if I should just do it like this and I'm 100% good/safe. Or - if this is more largely a decorative thing and balusters (especially when tugged on by little hands) might come loose.

My current white wood ones appear wood glued and have a single brad shot into the top and bottom. Maybe this is already better than that.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante View Post

Maybe that rock solid and effectively permanent and good for the life of the house. I mean, since this is how it's done, there must be inspection rules/laws/code for this stuff. I'd think given the danger of a fall, that code would be strict.


.
Codes generally stipulate either a minimum horizontal load a balustrade must be capable of sustaining, or refer to a specific standard which they wuld accept as complying.
Does the manufacturer's literature declare compliance with any standard?
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


I'm sure however it's done is to code as baluster replacement is so popular and there only seems to be this one installation method.

Maybe I should have asked my question differently

Does anyone have those black iron balusters? If you were to pull, tug, kick or throw a linebacker shoulder into them - are they going to hold? And think they'd hold up after repetitive balls, boxes, toys and toddlers bang into them?

I'm considering drilling an angled hole in the bottom of each and running a 3 inch screw through. A tornado couldn't knock that down. But this idea would make installation and my ability to keep them perfectly level/straight much harder.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


If you do a Google search for Red Head Anchors or Hilti anchors, you will find lots of info on their profesional epoxy anchor systems. These will tell you minimum strength you can expect using their product, depending on how deep you go. Normally the rod is threaded so that the epoxy has something to "bite" to. And the anchor rods are normally specified to resist rusting. If you are using the epoxy from the HD's adhesive section, who knows what you get ?
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


i have a staircase like this, a real show stopper.....professional grade 2 part epoxy...make sure you mask everything.

its stronger than the wood, once it is set, the only way the iron is comming out is if it takes some wood with it....once they all dry as a system it is unbelievably strong. far far stronger than wood balusters.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


Back on this project - I watched a how-to vid on Youtube - and the guy used black caulking vs. epoxy.

My neighbor who did this project with epoxy - he said he pre-taped the tops of the iron balusters for when the epoxy ran down. I can imagine epoxy being tough to work with.

But the guy in the vid - that black caulking seems to make some sense. However, he had "feet' with their set screws not only at the bottom - but also at the top. That's an added cost of about $1-2 per baluster as that's the cost of each foot.

If I don't use iron-like epoxy and used black caulk instead - I'd think I'd need the top foot. After all, the baluster is a length where (pre-epoxy/caulk) it can be lifted up and out. Without that top foot - caulk would be easy to pull out from....

Thoughts?

I really want to avoud having to mask every single baluster top if I use epoxy.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:02 AM   #9
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safety/strength of epoxy for iron balusters


Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante View Post
caulk would be easy to pull out from....
Isn't that considered a problem?

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