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  • Writer's pictureUp Stairs Rails

Railing Material 101: What Every Homeowner Needs to Know Before Installing


different styles of wooden balusters on a display wall

Your Guide Through the Railing Material Maze

Hi there! Selecting the appropriate type of railing for your house? Like being at the start of a maze, it's exhilarating but also a little intimidating, isn't it? I'm here to help you through it all, minus the jargon, with a dash of fun and expert advice. Because, let's be honest, while style and safety are important, so is taking pleasure in the process of making your house shine.


The Inside Scoop on Mass-Produced Railing Materials

You've seen those stylish railing materials on the shelf that seem like they would be a great deal, right? The truth is that some people may not be as good as they seem, even though they may appear to be. In actuality, a lot of them are similar to a mystery meat sandwich in that, while they may function, you're never exactly sure what's inside. They may seem good, but at their foundation, they're made of materials and fillers that won't hold up over time—or at a particularly rambunctious family gathering.


Why Pros Prefer the Real Deal: American-Made, All-Wood Materials

Like your friendly local investigator, except for railing materials, that is what I do as a contractor. I've done the research, observed what works and what doesn't, and I only use high-quality, entirely wood products created in the United States. Why? They are authentic. Firm, dependable, and devoid of surprises. We choose materials that we can personally attest to, guaranteeing that your railings are both elegant and robust. It's all about providing you with the assurance that your railings are made to last and look excellent while doing so.


balusters on a wall and an elderly womans hand touching them

Navigating the DIY Material Temptation

Did you know the best railing material suppliers often reserve their treasures for contractors, not the general public? It's not about exclusivity but ensuring that these high-caliber materials are in experienced hands. However, here's a plot twist: while you might strike gold with quality materials online through diligent research and sharp questions, the local big-box stores often stock their shelves with the mass-produced, not-so-golden variety from far-off lands. The DIY path is tempting, with visions of savings and satisfaction. Yet, for professionals, installing homeowner-supplied materials can be like navigating a minefield blindfolded. Why? Not all materials meet the mark for safety, durability, and compliance with building codes.


The Contractor's Seal of Approval: Quality Materials

Why do professionals like us sleep soundly at night, confident in the work we've done? It boils down to our unwavering commitment to using premium materials. We're talking about the American-made, all-wood champions that don't just talk the talk but walk the walk. These materials aren't just about creating a visually appealing space; they're the guardians of your home's safety, offering durability that's as reliable as a sunrise. We avoid the filler-fluffed materials that big-box stores might offer, opting instead for the real McCoy – quality, through and through.


It's not just a matter of professional pride; it's our promise to you. While it's possible to uncover some gems online, the convenience of local stores often comes with a catch – lower quality, mass-produced materials that might not stand the test of time or keep your loved ones safe. That's why, when a railing project has our name on it, you can bet it's built to last, marrying aesthetics with the assurance of safety and quality.



a man in a wood shop, holding a wood baluster and inspecting it


The Backbone of Professional Guarantees: Quality Materials

One cornerstone principle among railing installers is this: if we can't stand by the material, we can't stand by the work. It's not just a motto; it's a commitment to excellence and safety. The heart of our ability to guarantee our installations lies in the materials we choose — specifically, high-quality, all-wood materials sourced from suppliers we trust like family. This isn't about being picky; it's about ensuring that every railing we install is as solid and reliable as the reputation we've built. For more information on wood material and standards check out the American Wood Council (AWC) guidelines or resources on wood durability and safety standards.


When homeowners bring materials they've purchased, it puts us in a tight spot. Not because we doubt your taste or choice, but because we can't guarantee the solidity or quality of materials outside our vetted circle. Our guarantee is our bond, ensuring your railings' longevity and safety, and that guarantee starts with the materials we trust and know inside out.


Choosing the Right Material for Your Project

Navigating the sea of railing materials can feel daunting, but fear not! Here are a few tips to help you pick the perfect match for your project:

  • Aesthetics Are Key: Look for materials that complement your home's style. Whether it's a modern minimalist vibe or a classic, rustic feel, the right material can enhance your home's character.

  • Maintenance Matters: Consider how much time you're willing to invest in upkeep. Some materials may look fantastic but require more maintenance to keep them looking that way.

  • Durability for the Win: Think long-term. It's tempting to go for the less expensive option, but evaluating the material's durability ensures your investment stands the test of time, weather, and wear.


Pro Tip: Check out House of Forgings Stair Artist Tool. This nifty program let's you design your stair railing with a large variety of materials to choose from, click here to start designing your indoor railings now!

railing installer, sanding the underside or railing

Partnering with Your Installer on Material Selection

Your installer is more than just a contractor; they're your guide to ensuring your railing project is a success. Here's how to make the most of this partnership:

  • Open Dialogue: Share your vision, preferences, and concerns. A good installer will listen and offer insights based on their experience.

  • Leverage Their Expertise: Use their knowledge to understand the pros and cons of different materials. They can help you balance aesthetics, maintenance, and durability.

  • Trust in the Process: Remember, if your installer hesitates to use materials you've found, it's not a reflection of your choice but a commitment to ensuring the best outcome for your project. They aim to use materials that guarantee safety, quality, and satisfaction.


wooden balusters staked on top of one another in a large pile

The Keystone of Railing Projects: A Closer Look

Choosing the right railing material transcends mere selection; it anchors your home's safety and enhances its aesthetic charm. Opting for high-quality, all-wood materials is not just a choice but a commitment to the enduring beauty and steadfast protection of your space. These materials are tested by time, weathering life's storms while maintaining their grace and reliability.


In this architectural symphony, your railings play a critical role. They are not just functional barriers but sculptural elements that define spaces and underscore your home's character. This is why the guidance of seasoned professionals is invaluable. They bring a wealth of knowledge on how different materials behave in various environments, advising on options that align with your lifestyle, climate, and design ethos. Trust in their expertise to navigate you through choices that ensure your railings are a testament to durability, elegance, and your well-being.


Are you envisioning railings that weave together strength and sophistication, standing as a testament to timeless design? Up Stairs Rails stands at the ready to turn that vision into reality. Our repertoire includes a selection of the finest, all-wood railing materials, chosen for their unmatched quality and aesthetic versatility. Our team, a blend of artisans and experts, dedicates itself to crafting spaces that reflect your unique taste while prioritizing your safety and the lasting integrity of your home. Contact us today for a free estimate! We look forward to providing more in depth knowledge to help you make the best choice for your interior railing needs. Until next time folks!


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