Stair Railings: The Most Underappreciated Craftsmanship

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There are so many skill sets needed by the professionals on our projects. The strength and stamina displayed by the crews working with concrete forms is truly remarkable.

They handle an 8-foot wall panel with ease, as if it were made of Styrofoam. A framing contractor's mastery of geometry would undoubtedly impress their high school or college professor. Electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors bring technical expertise to the table. Meanwhile, drywall finishers and painters boast decades of experience and instinct, bringing forth the final judgment points of quality that are discerned by the naked eye.

Every trade possesses its unique strengths, but one that particularly stands out to me, yet often receives minimal recognition, is the stair rail installer.

A skilled finish carpenter can hang doors plumb and level, execute flawless miter cuts on casing, and seamlessly join crown molding into perfect corners. However, ask that same carpenter to install a stair rail, and you might witness a moment of hesitation.

Some unique railings we have masterfully installed into a few of our homes
Properly installing stair rails is incredibly challenging.

It demands a deep understanding of geometry, angles, and the precise placement of fittings with names like goosenecks and up-easings. I once attempted it myself and fared decently, but I couldn't guarantee that my balusters were perfectly plumb.

A proficient stair rail installer can assemble 200 or more parts at various angles and curves in a manner that seems almost incomprehensible. A well-crafted railing, well beyond code requirements, often becomes a defining feature of a home - although one that we often overlook or take for granted.

Today, I want to take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge those who have mastered the art of stair rail installation. In my opinion, they are the true and often unheralded craftsmen of our industry. I’m thankful to have some of the best stair rail installers on my team who make Natelli Homes look amazing, each and every one that we build!