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What Is Balustrade?

Balustrades might sound fancy, but they’re actually a lot more common than you might expect. We see them all the time in architecture and even as renovations, but you might not realize that you’re looking at a balustrade or what the definition even means. To keep things simple, a balustrade is simply a row of small columns that are topped by some kind of rail. Both the columns and the rail can be made from virtually anything and there’s no restriction of the type of material being used.

What’s the purpose of a balustrade?

The traditional purpose of a balustrade was to prevent people from falling off a staircase or balcony. However, it has since evolved into something that also doubles as a piece of art. You can create balustrades out of many different materials and there are countless designs to choose from as well, making it a fantastic way to decorate your home. Staircases look amazing with a well-crafted balustrade, and you can even add them as separators in rooms or even along your rooftop.

The original purpose of the balustrade is still being used, but the simple concept and design of a series of columns with a rail on top is such an elegant one that it can be used in a variety of different decorative applications, making it a renovation worth paying good money for.

Differences between balustrades, bannisters and handrails

However, the idea of a balustrade might already sound familiar to you but under a different name. You might commonly use the terms bannister and handrail as a synonym for balustrade, but they’re actually very different things and it’s worth learning the terms to ensure that you get what you actually want, especially when you’re speaking with a contractor about renovations.

As mentioned before, balustrades are made up of vertical columns or posts. These are called balusters and are connected by a rail on top and are spaced evenly apart.

On the other hand, handrails and bannisters are much more similar and typically are not created in the same way. Bannisters, for instance, could describe anything that shields a staircase or a raised platform. It could be a series of metal supports with large glass panels between the supports, or it could be several vertical metal poles that are connected by a much thinner metal wire. Handrails might not even use vertical posts outside of the start and finish of a section, instead opting to use purely horizontal bars.

Summary

So there you have it. A balustrade is simply something used to help prevent you from falling off a staircase or a balcony, and it’s constructed with several vertical pillars and a railing that connects them. Don’t confuse them with bannisters and handrails because it could affect the outcome of what you receive during the planning stages of a renovation. Make sure you understand what a balustrade is so that you don’t just use it as a synonym for handrail or bannister!