Back to Blogs

Your Guide to Understanding Balustrades and How They Can Transform Your Staircase

A staircase renovation can become a home transformation with endless opportunities. Understanding the integral parts of your staircase design is the first step to finding and perfecting a bespoke staircase solution that is unique to your personal style and requirements. One of the most important parts of your staircase while renovating is the balustrade. It has the capacity to completely transform the look of your stairway and here’s what you need to consider.

Cut string glass balustrade: before and after

What makes up the balustrade?

The balustrade is the railing and baluster that prevents you from falling over the edge. It’s also the collective name for the complete assembly of handrails, including spindles and newel posts. These can be highly decorative; turned, carved, forged, or even replaced by wooden or glass panels. They sit between the handrail and stairs and are also known as balusters.

While its main function is to provide safety when ascending or descending the stairs – it is the most important design element when renovating a staircase.

Handrail: This is the part of the staircase we use for support when going up and down the stairway. It sits on top of the balustrade.

Spindles: Spindles (also known as balusters) sit in between the handrail and the baserail, while serving as protection from falling off the edge of the stairs. The spindles offer the most flexibility when it comes to design and can be a hugely decorative element.

Baserail: The baserail sits on your string and has a groove which accepts the spindles. Should you want a cut string staircase there would be no need for a baserail as the spindles enter the treads.

Newel cap: This is the ornamental cap that sits on top of the newel post.

Newel post: The newel post is a structural element that extends below the floor and subfloor and is bolted to the floor joist.

What materials are best for the balustrade?

The beauty of the balustrade is that glass, timber, and steel can create equally stunning features for your stairway, and all serve as a safe and secure option.

Timber Transformations

Choose from a wide range of timbers including oak, sapele, maple, beech and walnut and add beautiful finishing touches to create a perfect entrance and an elegant first impression.

Slim Oak Spindle

Glass Creations

Glass can give the impression of your staircase gracefully floating. It’s a wonderful choice for both vast and compact spaces as it allows the light to flow through the entire hallway. It’s a contemporary choice that can complement many home styles.

Cut String Glass and Oak Staircase

Steel Combinations

Our steel staircases are available in a number of design styles and finishes that are unique to Neville Johnson. Steel can look dramatic with forged spindles or you could opt for minimalist chic, combining brushed steel with glass.

Opus Steel Staircase Design

For more information on your staircase renovation request a brochure here, or book a design consultation with one of our expert designers here. Alternatively, you can call us directly on 0161 873 8333.

Discover the different types of stairs or view more of our staircase designs today!