Balusters, Balustrades and Banisters

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What are they and what are the different types of Balusters, Balustrades and Banisters

oak baluster

burnished oak baluster

They’re not all synonyms. So, what’s the difference?

A “baluster” is a molded shaft that most often supports the handrail of a staircase, but also can be used to support a parapet, which is a wall-like barrier often at the edge of a roof.

Balusters often are made of stone or wood, and sometimes made of metal.

A “balustrade” is a sequence of balusters that support a handrail.

A “banister” — also spelled with two “n”s — is another name for a staircase baluster, but many architects and interior designers prefer to reserve the word “banister” for a narrower, more-modern support.

Here in the United States, we also tend to use the word “banister” to refer to the handrail of a staircase.

So, in general:

– “baluster” refers to the support of a staircase handrail.
– “balustrade” refers to a series of balusters.
– “banister” refers to the support of the handrail.

And still know, some will use “banister” to refer to the staircase handrail!