What's wrong with this railing?
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  1. #1

    What's wrong with this railing?

    Hi folks, I'm looking for some feedback from some impartial observers on a project we had done in our home about a year ago. I will preface this by saying I know diddly squat about welding (other than dealing with some brazing and laser welding of miniature stainless tubing for my job).

    Here's the deal: We had some steel railings fabricated, both indoor and outdoor. The railings were painted white after installation.

    Within a month or two of installation, we started seeing rust streaks coming from the joints of the outdoor railing. After talking with the railing and paint folks, it was decided that the wrong paint was used, and it was repainted (just the outdoor railing).

    Now we are starting to see some kind of oxidation (I think?) on our indoor railings, right at the weld joints. Here are some pics of a handful of the joints, which to my untrained eye don't look that great. Any thoughts as to what's going on here?

    (thanks for any feedback and you've got an awesome forum here!)

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  2. #2
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    that welding is pathetic..unacceptable esp for a railing...the paint isn't sticking likely due to not being cleaned right before being painted..should've been sandblasted and powdercoated or at least epoxy painted..whole lot of poor workmanship going on there...those welds will rust until they fail...

  3. #3
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    dITTO. Hire a welder

  4. #4
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Front Row...

    Pass the corn


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    What are you all talking about? That's the only way to get railing jobs around here. They hire the cheapest they can. Some people are bidding railings at $40 a ft installed

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  6. #6
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    $40/ft installed? That's insane

    That barely covers grab rail pricing.

  7. #7
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Did the guy have at least one functioning eye ? That's not even half assed . Call the police ! You got robbed !

  8. #8
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Quote Originally Posted by skorskor View Post
    Hi folks,

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    All of these belong in this thread here. https://weldingweb.com/showthread.ph...post-pics-here

  9. #9
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    alright guys- what's the procedure to help him out?

    We all know the welding is a mess but what can be done now?
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  10. #10
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Sand, bevel and get the heat just right toward the point of burning holes. then back it down a little. Much easier to show than explain in words.

  11. #11
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    I see alot of grinding in the near future. Since these are indoors, in a residential home, I would recommend a carbide burr, not an abrasive wheel. Or a helper with a HEPA or quality shop vac to stand by and catch as much debris as possible. I'd remove as much of the original bad welds as practical without tearing up the handrail and mounting plates next to the welds.

    Again, since they're indoors and installed, I would favor TIG welding since there's no smoke, other than the paint burning off from nearby areas. An alternative would be wire or stick welding and a helper with a portable weld fume extractor to keep things inside as clean as possible.

    Once the welds are repaired, some bondo to cover any incidental mars or scratches next to the welds, then re apply paint.

    I'm a little surprised at the pitting corrosion in some of the weld toelines. Either the paint isn't penetrating into these irregular areas, or it's humid enough inside th home for some condensation to form inside the railings and leak out the welds at the bottom of the tubes. Is there direct sunshine on some of the tubes or major temperature swings where they are installed? If so, a few inconspicuous vent holes might be prudent to allow air circulation inside the railing tubes and prevent condensation of accumulating.

    my $0.02.
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  12. #12
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    The only thing I see wrong is the color

  13. #13
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Looks like somebody's piddly welder didn't have the juice to weld the heavier flat bar so they just poo-pooed it up.
    ***********************

    CR

  14. #14
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    How much was welded on site? Looks like flux core filler that was not cleaned well after welding.

    All holes should be sealed. If you are in climate where it freezes the the pipes will burst, if water cannot escape.

    Check all joints for pinholes.

    Hope the fabricated takes care of this.

    What rate did you pay/how much rail?
    Last edited by tapwelder; 12-04-2018 at 08:51 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    We should all thank whoever did that job. Makes everybody else's welds look fantastic!

  16. #16
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Hoe big/long are these rails? I see screws into the flooring of the house, can they be removed easily? If they can I would pull them out, take them to have them blasted back to bare metal, repair the welds, clean again, then paint them right.

    Might be cheaper, easier, and faster to just make new rails if they aren't to big.
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  17. #17
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    That's sad for a railing which is to provide safety. Welding is the fusion of metal, that's not welding. Those appear cold not enough heat.

    Wire wheel , grind high spots, then weld over . It appears that in the second photo they didn't weld all around others weld is laying on pipe .

    It's gonna take more time to get them prepared to reweld then make new as mentioned. Maybe post your location and a member may be able to help.

  18. #18
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Mexicans are taking over a lot of the low end stuff. I quoted a fire escape completed per code and the cheap labor did it for half the price. They have no problem spending all day cutting a 1/4" st dp the 8 foot way with a 1/4" grinding wheel.

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  19. #19

    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Thanks for all the responses! I talked to my contractor last night, including sharing some of your quotes...
    Call the police ! You got robbed !

    ... he agreed that these look like crap.

    Apparently some of the uprights were welded onsite at install where the railing goes around a corner. These are the ones that look particularly horrible in the pictures - most aren't quite that bad. They must not have cleaned them properly which is causing the paint to peel.

    I'm not sure of the price on the railing (this was done as part of a major remodel) but I do know my contractor had used this shop many times over the years (he tends to stick with subcontractors), I don't think this was a case of lowest bid gets the job. That makes it especially disappointing that they did such a crappy job.... take some damn pride in your work, people.

    Unfortunately I don't think the welds are going to get re-done but my contractor agreed to have the bad ones ground with a wire wheel, cleaned, and repainted. I could make a fuss about it but our project has dragged on for a VERY long time (18 months since it started) and at this point, all my wife wants for Christmas is to be able to delete their number from our phones.

  20. #20
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    I don't think a wire wheel is going to get down to the root of where it is rusting....

    I think you will need to grind down so all the rust is gone..... OR it will eventually start again under the new paint..... sooner or later.

    no easy fix... grind/reweld / clean/ prime/ paint.

    good luck with the wire wheel.
    at least the wife will be happy for a short time....
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  21. #21
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Quote Originally Posted by skorskor View Post
    Thanks for all the responses! I talked to my contractor last night, including sharing some of your quotes...


    ... he agreed that these look like crap.

    Apparently some of the uprights were welded onsite at install where the railing goes around a corner. These are the ones that look particularly horrible in the pictures - most aren't quite that bad. They must not have cleaned them properly which is causing the paint to peel.

    I'm not sure of the price on the railing (this was done as part of a major remodel) but I do know my contractor had used this shop many times over the years (he tends to stick with subcontractors), I don't think this was a case of lowest bid gets the job. That makes it especially disappointing that they did such a crappy job.... take some damn pride in your work, people.

    Unfortunately I don't think the welds are going to get re-done but my contractor agreed to have the bad ones ground with a wire wheel, cleaned, and repainted. I could make a fuss about it but our project has dragged on for a VERY long time (18 months since it started) and at this point, all my wife wants for Christmas is to be able to delete their number from our phones.
    Your contractor is screwing you over. You should be able to nail him on safety codes for railings. That stuff is a joke and should be replaced.

  22. #22
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    No way I would let them clean and paint over the first two and the last. The third and fourth are maybe a tougher call.

    Obviously they are all sub-par, but it is hard to know who to blame without knowing what was communicated.


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  23. #23
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Save his number in at least one of your phones for when the railing fails and someone gets hurt so you can easily give the contractors number to the lawyer.
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
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  24. #24
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Your contractor is screwing you over. You should be able to nail him on safety codes for railings. That stuff is a joke and should be replaced.
    You might give building and zoning a call . Have a inspector come out and red tag it ?

  25. #25
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    Re: What's wrong with this railing?

    Quote Originally Posted by skorskor View Post
    Within a month or two of installation, we started seeing rust streaks coming from the joints of the outdoor railing. After talking with the railing and paint folks, it was decided that the wrong paint was used, and it was repainted (just the outdoor railing).
    Do the welds on the outdoor railings look as bad as indoors? I certainly agree that your contractor is screwing you over. Since the railings are (presumably) a safety item, I think it would be worthwhile to get a lawyer involved if you have to, to get this work done right. Legalities notwithstanding, if somebody gets hurt...

    Tim

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