Interior metalwork is complete

Although there are still exterior awnings and deck railings to fabricate, all of the interior metalwork is now complete. Thanks to the precise skills of Pacific Northwest metal master Olda Zinke, I now have interior steel railings all around the house that look like this:

The railing above is from the catwalk, and there are also rails lining two flights of stairs. Photos of those are available in the gallery. It’s a bit unfair to Olda to show these photos at this stage because the railings are still dusty and the stair treads are only temporary (homemade thick bamboo treads will be going in shortly) but I’ll post plenty more shots when everything is all cleaned up and fully fabricated.

If you look through the shots in the gallery, you’ll notice that the stairs are made with one hot-rolled steel stringer on each side attached to the cold-rolled steel railings. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I was expecting a single steel beam down the middle supported the treads from the center. The communication between Build and me could have been a lot better here, but in the end, I think the two stringer system may be a better overall look, especially considering one is recessed into the wall, providing a nice viewport through the treads to the panaromic view behind them.

Costs accrued during this stage:

Interior metalwork (Olda Zinke)$21,765.00
Metalwork delivery charge (Pacific Delivery Service)$316.00

12 Responses to “Interior metalwork is complete”

  1. Kevin E. Says:

    We’ve made sure that edge is well-eased (although it does look very crisp). We recommend that our clients and their guests keep all eyes away from the guardrails also. A little concerned about coming down from drinks in that hot tub though….

  2. Mike D. Says:

    I wear sports goggles full time anyway, so it’s not an issue for me.

  3. Josh Says:


    We ended up doing “homemade” bamboo treads as well. We used countertop material ripped in half and applied Osmo oil. I really like how they turned out.

    Our stringers are essentially the same as yours and while I thought about the single stringer, I am much happier with the double stringer (one of ours is receased and covered by drywall). We don’t have the view you do through the stairs.


  4. Nic Says:

    You may not be thinking about it yet, or at all, but those horizontal stringers make perfect ladders for a toddler. Vertical bars are obviously more effective in this regard, but are probably not a desireable cosmetically. Alternatively the more common wire rope stringers have some spring in them which tends to put off little climbers, although it cannot be relied on, or rather they cannot be relied on to be put off.

    It’s easy to think you can just keep an eye on them, but in practice it’s nearly impossible!

  5. Mike D. Says:

    Nic: Yeah, I’ve heard that those bars can get pretty bent when kids start climbing them. Maybe I’ll coat them with broccoli scented grease.

  6. Nic Says:

    Mike, you touched my funnybone with the broccoli scent. I wasn’t actually worring too much about them getting bent (it’s not my house, sorry), but more about the possibility of a small child climbing and falling from the top. I’ve seen a child clinging on upside down on the wrong side of such a railing before…

  7. Rick Says:


    Great site – thanks for sharing. How are the railings finished? Stainless steel, power coated, other?

    Look like the stringers are finished differently – how were those done?



  8. Mike D. Says:

    Rick: The railings are all waxed stainless steel. The stringers are the same, but they are hot-rolled steel instead of cold-rolled.

  9. Ryan E. Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this great blog. I have enjoyed reading it! My wife and I are currently building and getting ready to have stainless steel railings installed on an exterior 2nd story patio. We really like the finish you have, but our metal fabricator didn’t immediately know what “waxed stainless steel” was. Did you specify a milled finished and then hand wax the stainless? Any help would be great. Thanks again and nice job!

    With Regards,
    Ryan E.
    Grand Rapids, MI

  10. Mike D. Says:

    Hi Ryan. Yep, it’s just cold-rolled steel. We hand wax it about once a year or so to protect it from rust and other things.

  11. Ryan E Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thx! Just two more quick questions. Is it stainless (vs. plain steel) and what type (brand) of wax do you use?

    With Regards,
    Ryan E.
    Grand Rapids, MI

  12. Mike D. Says:

    I think it’s just regular steel. For the wax, any old paste wax will do. I use SC Johnson.