What are Balusters?
Balusters are the narrow rods or spindles that provide vertical support for the stair railing. They also act as a protective guard that prevents children from falling through the gap between the treads and the handrail. At StairSupplies™, we offer dozens of baluster profiles in both Iron and Wood varieties, allowing you to find the perfect fit to enhance your home.
Comparing Balusters—Wrought Iron and Wood
All of our balusters are made from either Wrought Iron or Wood. While Iron and Wood Balusters serve the same general function, their forms can vary.
Wood Balusters come in Stain Grade, American Made Painted, or Imported Painted conditions.
Stain Grade Balusters are manufactured and sanded so that they can take a stain or clear finish. These balusters are customizable, so we can make them the size that you need to create your perfect stair rail. The American Made Painted Balusters are created in house out of wood types, such as Red Oak, Hard Maple or Poplar, that are able to accept and hold paint well. These balusters are custom made for you, and they are carefully sanded and painted multiple times to ensure that they are of the highest quality when they reach your home. The smooth finish can be installed without any extra painting, but you may want to apply a coat of paint to them that will match the rest of your home décor. The paint used on our wood balusters is compatible with all paints, though we do recommend cleaning and scuffing them with fine sandpaper before the paint is applied. Imported Painted Balusters are an excellent choice for those seeking a more standard baluster profile at an excellent price. While these balusters are standard, they are not cheap. Our overseas baluster manufacturer uses American Poplar that has been kiln dried to provide high-quality, uniform appearance. As they are manufactured overseas, they cannot be customized.
Wrought Iron Balusters provide a modern, elegant look to your stair railing. Wrought Iron Balusters can be found in ten different design series, allowing you to find the ideal match for your home. Many of these balusters are available in either hollow or solid forms. Hollow balusters are lighter, which can make cutting through them simpler. Solid balusters are heavy and give extra support to your railing system.
All of our Wrought Iron Balusters are 44” long and are designed to be cut down on the job site to the desired railing height. Each baluster series has its own width, with the most common being 1/2” and 9/16”.
StairSupplies™ sells Straight and Angled Aluminum Shoes to accommodate both of these sizes. While StairSupplies™ always recommends putting shoes at the base of your balusters, installing them at the top is up to you and your style preferences. When looking at our Wrought Iron Baluster selection, you will notice that most of the balusters come in a variety of colors, including our five most common finishes: Satin Black, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Oil Rubbed Copper, Antique Bronze, and Silver Vein. Some of our wrought iron balusters come in additional finishes like Brushed Bronze and Ash Grey, while other balusters stick to the more traditional finishes–Oil Rubbed Bronze and Satin Black.
Our Wrought Iron Balusters are high-quality products, and they are also stock items, meaning that they will ship from our facility within 24-48 hours of you placing your order. That means that you can have sleek, modernized stair railing parts at your fingertips within a short window of time.
Are They Balusters, Spindles, or Balustrades?
Over time, people have used many different words to describe stair parts and components. This has been especially true for what the industry calls “balusters,” or the vertical pieces that provide support to handrails. Two other words that are commonly used in association with balusters are “spindles” and “banisters.” Though it is not the industry word, “spindles” is not associated with any other stair part, so most contractors and manufacturers can direct you to balusters when you use this term. A “banister,” however, refers to the railing system as a whole, or the balusters and handrails joined together. While it often does not matter what term you use to describe balusters, knowing the industry term can help streamline your purchasing experience.
Baluster Style and Design
When it comes to selecting the right balusters for your home, it helps to find out which series of baluster suits your tastes. Our Stain Grade and American Made Painted Balusters are offered in six different series—Victorian, Colonial, Marion, Hampton, Modern, and Regency.
StairSupplies™ also offers a wide range of Wrought Iron Balusters, with style options extending over ten unique series. These series are Twist, Versatile, Gothic, Scroll, Designer, Aalto, Spheres, Endecor and Forged.
The Twist Series, a best seller, is comprised of five styles of ½” square balusters. This series is made up of single, double, and long twist balusters as well as single and double basket balusters that also incorporate a twist into their design. A baluster from the Twist category will fit in seamlessly with balusters from the any of the other series. These balusters are also widely purchased in the hollow style, which eases the installation process while maintaining the strength and beauty of the iron finish. This is the most popular series in our warehouse due to its simplicity, versatility, and affordability.
Our Versatile Series balusters, which are also a ½” square design, blend well with other balusters. The Versatile series contains the plain straight baluster, which is perfect up against some ofLarge Scroll Balusters with impressive, prominent features.the more elaborate balusters in other series. It also has the single and double square knuckle balusters, and an ovular basket baluster that offers a little more flair to your rail design. These balusters can be purchased in solid or hollow rods.
The Gothic Series is made of four, 9/16” balusters that bring you back to a look of classic European elegance. In this series, you can find a straight hammered baluster, along with a single and double knuckle baluster and a single basket baluster. In contrast to the Versatile series, the knuckles on these balusters are spherical, and the basket too takes on more of a spherical design, rather than the ovular shape found in the Versatile and Twist series basket balusters.
In the Scroll Series, you will find some of our most decorative balusters that can be used as accent pieces on your stair railing. These are ½” balusters that feature scroll and wave designs that bring out the best in a curved staircase or fluid architectural designs. The scroll iron balusters are often best when there is a long span as they can be used every 5th baluster. Straight, knuckle, basket, or gothic balusters are often found in between the scrolls, which can be aligned symmetrically, with the scrolls facing each other, or asymmetrically where the balusters begin and end randomly.
The Designer Series is home to our ½” single and double circle balusters that can be used to make a myriad of eye-catching, creative patterns. It also includes the triple bar baluster that can bring diversity to your design. This series is most often found in large homes or commercial spaces with open stairways that give the balusters room to make a bold statement.
If you’re wanting to bring a more geometric look into your home, you are likely to find what you’re looking for in our newer Aalto Series. This series contains 1/2” hollow balusters that feature large, geometric shapes including squares, ovals, and rectangles that bring modern flair to any stairway.
The Sphere Series has our only three balusters that come in a 5/8” round width. These balusters feature small, spherical knuckles and can give your home a simple, elegant feel. These balusters are unique as they do not require a shoe given their round design.
Forged Series iron balusters are a 9/16” wide series that appear aged and show off superior craftsmanship. This series is perfect in period homes and homes with distressed features such as distressed stair treads, distressed handrail, and flooring. During the forging process for the balusters, they are heated, hammered into shape, and coated. Each baluster is made individually, giving each piece character and variations from the baluster next to it. The variation is understood by the eye and creates a feeling of individuality and interest. The forged balusters create simple patterns using the interest of the baluster itself to provide beauty to the stairway.
While most people choose only one wood baluster profile for their stair rail, many people decide to mix and match the wrought iron balusters, making building their stairway a creative process that will give them a sense of ownership over their home when their project is completed. Envisioning a mixed-baluster design can be difficult before holding the products in your hands, but at StairSupplies™, we eliminate that frustration by offering our Iron Baluster Design Tool, which allows you to drag and drop balusters into a virtual stairway, giving you a clear picture of your layout before you buy. If you would like further advice or assistance with iron baluster designs, feel free to consult one of our stair experts by calling 1 (866) 226-6536 with any questions that you might have.
Completed Wood and Wrought Iron Baluster Projects
StairSupplies™ offers several resources for installing your stair parts, including this downloadable PDF for installing iron balusters. We provide service and expertise over the phone on custom stair parts, and even offer iron baluster articles from our blog like how to clean wrought iron, for your stair railing.
Q: What is the proper baluster spacing?
A: The generally accepted answer is three balusters a foot, but the answer may change if you’re using a metal or wood baluster and location.
Q: How tall are the balusters? Can I get them in different heights?
A: Stain Grade and American Painted Balusters are customizable. Wrought Iron Balusters are all 44” high, and Imported Painted Baluster heights vary from profile to profile.
Q: Do I need Baluster shoes at the top and bottom of my stairway baluster?
A: It’s always suggested that you put shoes at the base of your baluster to protect the baluster and stair tread/floor. Whether you put one at the top is up to you!
Q: How do I fit the new baluster into the hole of my old one?
A: Many people use fillet pieces or sawdust-like material to fill in any gaps, then use the epoxy to secure the baluster into its new position. You can also consult our installation guide.
Q: What angle do the angled shoes accommodate?
A: The angled shoes come in 45 degrees, but they have up to five degrees of added or subtracted tolerance in their natural state. If you need them to go at a sharper or shallower angle, they can be shaved down on site to fit your needs.
Q: What is the biggest difference between hollow and solid balusters?
A: Hollow balusters are easier to install, while solid balusters offer extra support to the handrail on your stairs. Both hollow and solid balusters look great and would be functional for your project.