Call: 01473 430963

Balustrades, Handrails & Bannisters – Whats the difference?

Getting a new staircase installed can take a lot of thought because there’s usually quite a lot of decision making. Whether it’s picking the type of material it’s made from, the width and length of each step or even the colour, there are plenty of choices you can make and it can get rather confusing or even overwhelming.

Balustrades, handrails and bannisters for your staircase

One of the many decisions you’ll need to make is related to the type of railing system you use to prevent people from falling off your staircase. The last thing you want is for someone to injure themselves, so it’s vital to have some kind of protection installed. The common types of protection are balustrades, handrails and bannisters. These terms are, for whatever reason, often used interchangeably. In fact, many people consider them to be synonyms of one another, but this is actually very far from the truth.

Balustrades, handrails and balusters actually all have their own purposes and definitions, but they can be bent a little due to the number of fantastic designs out there which are a cross between all three. As a result, it’s often hard to determine what you actually want or how to describe the exact look that you’re after.

Defining a balustrade

The most typical way to define a balustrade is a series of vertical columns attached together by a rail. The columns in older days would be stone pillars and other types of masonry. However, in the modern day, these columns can be something as simple as a metal rod. Balustrades are typically going to have plenty of evenly spaced and often decorative types of columns which are connected by a smooth rail.

This is what gives a balustrade its unique look and why many people love to design and have custom-made balustrades in their home. They’re decorative, they’re unique and they’re also surprisingly effective at their job; keeping people from falling off staircases. However, do keep in mind that balustrades can also be used on balconies and are the perfect solution for any place in the home where safety and beauty are both a concern.

Handrails and bannisters

Now we can talk about handrails and bannisters. These are typically very similar but they’re used to describe railings that run alongside staircases and balconies, or generally anywhere where you’ll need protection from falling over or off something. They can both be used for decorative purposes and can also be used for stability too.

Handrails are, as the name implies, meant to be used by grabbing on to them with your hand. This means that handrails are typically a lot thinner and are much more comfortable to grab hold of than what a balustrade or bannister could offer. Bannisters are generally meant for use as decorations, safety and stability. They’re not always meant to be grabbed or used as supports like handrails are, so they’re used more for form than function.

Hopefully, this article has helped explain the differences between balustrades, handrails and bannisters so that you know exactly what it is you’re looking for.