We took the plunge and replaced our wooden stair banister and railing with a black iron one! The result is beautiful...better than I imagined!
Here is a before photo of our old wooden banister that we painted white:
It wasn't that the white didn't look good, it just didn't function well for our house. It showed dirt terribly and got scuffed and scratched a lot. I've been seeing a lot of metal railings on home makeovers and knew it was the perfect solution for us.
In order to save about $600 we opted to do the demo and replace the base board ourselves. We purchased a couple of 16', 1"x6" boards of primed of MDF since this material is harder than solid wood and won't dent as easily. We purchased them from a local lumber supplier who delivered them for free. The fact that it was primed help cut the painting time in half too!
Here are a couple of photos from demo day:
Here is the new, painted base board that we installed ourselves:
Colorado got hit with a snow storm the day that they were supposed to install our new railing so it got delayed by a few days. We had some dressers lining the upstairs so there were no accidents, thank goodness!
The installation only took an hour or so and everything went smooth as expected. Here is what it looks like now:
I highly recommend Colorado Custom Iron Works if you're looking to replace your stair railing!