Baluster – Our Word of the Week


Baluster – You and nearly everyone has seen a baluster before, even if you might not have known what it was called. But rest assured, you’ve seen plenty of them. In fact they usually come in groups – they don’t travel alone.

A baluster is one in a series of vertical posts that support a handrail or bannister. Look at any staircase, and you’re likely to see a baluster. Whether you call it a post, a picket, a spindle or a stair stick, these vertical members (collectively forming a balustrade) are often decorative. Balusters can be made of any of a variety of materials, but usually wood or wrought iron, depending on the theme of design.  The design and shape of balusters can vary greatly, from a classic, ornate shapes to a simple square or tapered post. Balusters are an important part of the aesthetic style and design of a railing. But they also serve an important practical function. They make stairs and balconies safer by preventing people from falling through the railing!


Bonus architectural trivia – The term “baluster shaft” is also used to describe candlesticks, chandelier stems, furniture legs, or any upright support.

Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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