Is there a project linear footage minimum or dollar value minimum?
Yes, in recent years we have had to put a minimum on our project sizes. The sheer number of projects in our production schedule at times would cause a backlog in residential projects as much as 10-12 months. In order to keep our backlog reasonable so we can provide better lead times, all new customers must meet the project minimum which is $2500 or 18-20 feet (or more) of our standard railing, standard fence and/or standard pedestrian gates. Please see our Step rail gallery photos #25/#53 or our Fence gallery photos #8/#51 as examples of standard materials.
This minimum linear footage is only a guide line and “does include average installation” labor. The minimum footage may not be relevant if a more decorative or forged style is chosen that requires more labor hours to custom fabricate. Note that the layout of the project, design difficulty and the total number of posts can affect the overall linear footage price we charge. Nothing is premanufactured, all is made to order to accommodate your residential spaces.
How do I get an estimate on a wrought iron fence, railing, gate or balcony?
Please stop by our showroom or contact us either by phone or email to discuss your project. We can get your contact information and make an appointment to stop by to measure the area and we’ll then provide a free quote. We can use your dimensions and photos and prepare a budget quote; dimensions will be verified in person before fabrication.
Can I submit my own design or ideas?
Sure. We encourage you to provide a picture, sketch or info on what you are trying to achieve. Our galleries are just one source of inspiration. A computer-generated drawing after final measurements are taken will be emailed to you later in the production schedule for your approval prior to fabrication. In a 12 week schedule, drawings would be provided near the end around week 8 or 9.
How long does the estimating process take for a wrought iron project?
Classic Metal Craft will provide a professional typed estimate usually within a week or two depending on current workload. Sometimes it can be longer in the busy months.
Do you have any stock items such as fences, railings or gates?
No. We custom fabricate all of products. We do have numerous railings, fences and gates on display in our showroom .
How long does it take to fabricate and install my project?
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, we will do our best to meet any schedule required. Our typical turn time after receipt of order is 8 to 10 weeks, however, during summer & early fall we can be as much as 14 to 16 weeks because of extra volume in our workload.
What are your payment terms?
Upon acceptance of our estimate, we require a 25% down payment payable by check, credit card or cash. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. We will then invoice you for the balance upon the successful completion of your project. Credit card transactions of $2500 or more will incur a 3.5% processing fee. $35 bank fee for returned checks.
Does wrought iron rust?
Eventually. However, we painstakingly go through numerous steps in our cleaning and painting process to produce a long lasting maintenance free finish. Our rule of thumb is 5-7 years before re-painting is recommended. The first place you will see rust appear is near the bottom of the posts and the lower horizontal channel. Water, ice and snow will sit at ground level, and the prolonged exposure to moisture will affect the life of the paint. In-ground sprinklers and the salt you throw out at winter time also deteriorates the painted surface. We suggest that you inspect and touchup your iron annually to prolong the life of the finish.
Do you have alternatives so my wrought iron fence or railing does not rust?
Yes. There are additional operations available, such as hot dip galvanizing. Galvanizing will extend the life of the painted surface significantly with little or no issues of future rusting except possibly where posts get welded to fence sections during installation. Galvanizing adds about 30% to the bottom line
Do you work in aluminum?
Yes. Most designs can be fabricated in wrought iron or aluminum, however, custom aluminum fabrication can cost more than wrought iron fabrication and it doesn’t look and feel as sturdy as iron. If you want a maintenance free solution with custom made “solid” material iron fence, railings or gate, then we suggest galvanizing.
Does Classic Metal Craft install outside the St. Louis Metro area?
Classic Metal Craft installs in the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Illinois. Installations of distances over 45 mins from our shop, can be done but extra costs will apply.
Do you fabricate custom mailboxes or service the repairs to mailboxes?
For years we have fabricated custom mailboxes and have been a dealer of Imperial brand mailboxes, but we no longer choose to sell mailboxes. It’s not our core business and it’s always something people need quickly and we are not able to provide timely service for this product. However, if a damaged mailbox can be brought into our shop for repair, then we will provide service for in-house repairs. If we supplied you a New Cambridge mailbox in recent years, we will replace it only if we still have one in stock, but we will not handle installations any longer. If we have provided you an Imperial Mailbox in recent years and it is damaged by a car, we will provide the parts for a new box, but not the re-installation. All other mailbox products are not being fabricated or serviced for repairs as of April 2019.
Do you do repairs on existing wrought iron fences, iron gates and iron railings?
If you are an existing customer and we made your railings, we will provide repairs to those railings for an additional fee if after the 1 year warranty. If it’s a wrought iron railing of unknown origin from another manufacturer, we can provide repair service if our schedule allows and if quick service is not required. We reserve the right to decline repair projects if our backlog is significant (Summer and Fall months especially). We do not do any repairs on pre-fab fencing or pre-fab railings.
Can I install my own exterior step railings and have you just fabricate them?
Yes, you can install your own depending on the level of difficulty of the particular project. Our experience is that not all homeowners have the tools to do this, but there are many people that can install their own railings and save money. If you install, we depend on you to provide us all the necessary measurements for fabrication (rise, run, drop, diagram, photos etc). When we install exterior step rails, we either core drill the posts or ground mount in concrete filled piers. If you do not have the tools to do this, you may ask us to provide either mounting shoes or weld flat mounting plates to the bottom of the posts. However, when using screws to mount rails to concrete and/or stone, screws can loosen up over time so that is not the preferred method of installing posts for long term stability. For mounting posts to wood decking, flat mounting plates and screws are the preferred method for mounting posts.
Can CMC replace the wood balusters on my interior staircase?
If you plan to keep the wood cap-rail across the top and also keep the wood newel posts and “only replace the balusters”, then we recommend you call a wood stair company for that. Removing the old balusters and replacing them with iron balusters requires a carpenter’s skill-set, not a iron fabricator’s. If you want to do an entire iron panel including iron cap-rail that will mount between the existing newel posts, then we could fabricate and install that, after a carpenter removes the wood cap rail and balusters.
When I replace my "tread mounted" wood balusters with "tread mounted" steel balusters, will you be able to use the same holes in the wood stair treads? (This means the existing wood staircase has the balusters terminate into the wood treads, rather than a horizontal wood piece across the bottom or slanted knee-wall.)
The answer is almost always no. Most of the time, the wood baluster spacing is not the same as iron baluster spacing. For instance, the spacing between the vertical balusters needs to be 4″ or less to meet current code. When the wood balusters are removed, it leaves behind holes in the treads. Our steel balusters are usually 1/2″ thick, so the center-to-center distance between holes needs to be 4-1/2″ or less. The C-to-C distance between wood balusters is usually more than that, resulting in us not being able to use the same holes with the steel balusters. So check the C-to-C distance between the baluster holes. If it’s more than 4-1/2”, you would need to refinish the wood treads or paint them prior to installing iron railings. If you go with thicker steel balusters than ½”, then the C-to-C spacing would increase by the additional thickness.
Does Classic Metal Craft do the removal of existing railings prior to installation of new railings?
Sometimes, depending on the project. If the existing rails are iron, then we usually can remove and dispose of them prior to our putting in the new railings. We do not uninstall existing wood railings. That needs to be done prior to our installation date by either yourself or another contractor.
Do I need to get a permit to get new handrails?
That varies from township to township and you have to call your city office in each situation. Or sometimes your neighborhood homeowner’s association wants to be involved, probably just to make sure you are not doing something that doesn’t meet local code, or change the acceptable curb appeal of your house. Either way, it is the responsibility of the home owner to handle the permitting and approval process. Whether you get a permit or not, we will always make your rails to meet current code and are familiar with the variations in code between the local townships. If your city or HOA needs photos of the style of the rails you are purchasing or detailed CAD drawings showing the layout and dimensions, we can provide that for you to submit to them after we have a signed contract and the deposit with you.
Can I get my deposit back if I change my mind?
Yes, in most circumstances we will give your deposit back if we have not started on the shop drawings yet. Sometimes our production schedule is backlogged and we understand if you have found another solution in the mean-time, but if we have done the shop drawings and sent them to you, then we will not refund the deposit. Shop drawings are done about half way through the projected turn-around time we note in our estimate to you. So if we predict the total wait is 12 weeks, then shop drawings may occur around 6-8 weeks. The timing of completed shop drawings could vary from that estimate based on workload.
Why does it takes so long to order a simple handrail and why do you not stock any step rails?
Our products are not-prefabricated in any way; they all are made in-house; fabricated from raw steel materials and/or bought components. Shop drawings are also created for all new projects no matter how small. We do our best to always fabricate orders in the order they are taken, however, it takes several weeks for new iron projects to work their way to the top of our production schedule. We also do our best to project the approximate wait for new orders to be completed; we make note of that projected turn-time in the initial bid. This estimated turn-time changes often as we are awarded new work. It takes a skilled craftsman to fabricate our products, even a simple step-rail, because it is made to fit the pitch your steps, making few if any alterations at installation.