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Style Guide: Choosing staircase balustrades

One of the most integral pieces of the design process for clients here at Multi-Turn is selecting suitable and stylish staircase balustrades. After all, it isn’t just looks that come into play – regulations, durability and maintenance should all be considered.

To put you one step ahead in making your choice, we’ve combined a little technical research with our own design know-how to share some of the options available to you.

Firstly, what are balustrades?

Essentially, a balustrade is the complete system that connects the baserail and handrail of a staircase and fills the gap between the two. It traditionally supports a row of balusters (or spindles) but, as trends have changed, a variety of styles and finishes have been developed. More on this later!

What regulations are there?

  1. For staircases wider than 1000mm, you need to have a balustrade on both sides. Anything less and one side will suffice.

  2. The height of the balustrade should be 900mm from the pitch line of the stairs and on the landing (unless it’s a communal staircase, in which it should be 1100mm on the landing).

  3. As with all parts of a staircase, there should be no gap within your balustrade or between your spindles through which a 100mm sphere could pass.

  4. Balustrades need to be connected to your stairs when they reach 600mm off the ground. You don’t need a balustrade on the first two steps, for example where curtail or bullnose bottom steps are incorporated.

What styles can you choose from?

Glass balustrade

Unsurprisingly, glass is now one of our most popular balustrades of choice. This on-trend design makes for a fantastic statement feature in contemporary homes, helping to maximise the flow of natural light to give the sense of a brighter and larger space.

Glass can be used both alone or in combination with another material, such as wood. The result is a timeless finish that will impress for many years to come.

While it has many positives, on the flip side, glass panels are a little more costly and will show up every fingerprint and smudge, so it requires far more maintenance than the other options.

Wood balustrade

Wood balustrades are versatile, strong and adaptable, which is often what sets them apart from alternative choices. You can choose between hardwood and softwood styles depending on your budget and will be able to customise them through various shapes and paint options to suit the interior of your home.

Within a wood balustrade, you have various styles of spindles to choose from too, including:

  • Square spindles – the most simple and economical option available, suited to understated and sleek designs.

  • Stop chamfered spindles – take a square spindle and chamfer the edges of a central portion to add an extra flourish to simple designs.

  • Turned spindles – typical of the Edwardian style and available completely bespoke to you and your style.

Metal balustrade

Though a more popular material of choice for outdoor staircases or balconies, metal balustrades can be a striking and unique addition inside the home. The team here have worked with both seamless stainless steel and intricately designed spindles that take pride of place in a trendy home.

Whilst these are the main options available to our customers, if you’re looking for something a little different then get in touch! Our expert team are on hand to discuss your requirements and offer useful advice. Give us a call on 01962 712299 or send your plans to

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