What is a baluster? As you begin the process of building your own rail, you’ll need to know the various components of a railing system: the posts, the shims, the spindles, the balusters, etc. To help you understand what a baluster is, what it looks like, and how it benefits the anatomy of a railing, today we’re delving into the details. So if you’ve been wondering what a baluster is, you’re in the right place! Let’s dig in . . .
What Is a Baluster?
A baluster is “a short pillar or column, typically decorative in design, in a series supporting a rail or coping.” Its form is cut from a rectangle or square, and it is one of many types of spindle available. When many balusters stand in a row, they form a balustrade, which is a railing supported by balusters. Finally, when balusters are used on a stairway, they are typically referred to as banisters.
Baluster comes from the Latin word balausta, which is a wild pomegranate flower. It was named after the flower because the pillars sometimes resemble the curve of the flower’s calyx tube.
Balusters have several purposes within the overall structure. First, they support the coping or handrail. Second, they close the gaps between posts, acting as a safety feature by eliminating excess space through which someone could fall. Third, they provide additional style and structural flair.
Many people confuse balusters with spindles, so we’d like to clarify that these two terms actually describe the same structure. In fact, balusters are often called spindles. They are sometimes called pickets as well, though the term pickets more accurately refers to wooden stakes driven into the ground (typically to form a fence).
Balusters come in countless styles and shapes, though most tend to follow design precedents that were established in the arts of woodworking and ceramics. Sometimes they resemble vases, stacked atop one another, and sometimes they have a twist-turned structure.
Typically, the space between each baluster is at least as large as the size of the square bottom section. Although placing balusters far apart can save you money, it lowers the aesthetic appeal and diminishes the safety of the structure.
Balusters are a part of many different railing systems, including some formed from wood, stone, concrete, plaster, iron, metals, and plastics. In fact, balusters are used in some of the most common and covetable railing systems on the market today, such as aluminum and vinyl. Durable, long-lasting, and low-maintenance, you can’t go wrong with aluminum or vinyl railings.
Understanding the different parts of a railing is crucial if you want to successfully build your own railing. Now that you know what a baluster is, are you ready to get started? If you’re interested in purchasing a new railing, do yourself a favor and check out MMC Fencing & Railing. In our online shop, we sell aluminum and vinyl railing in a variety of styles and colors. So no matter what you’re looking for and no matter how large or small your budget, you’re sure to find something beautiful. Give us a call at 1-866-931-5002 to get started.