You are well into your home renovation project and you think that most difficult decisions have been made. Have you thought about your balustrade? Most people forget them, and by nature balustrades and staircases are central to your home design.
The structure and shape of your staircase will most probably be dictated by the style, age and size of your property, however, the style of your balustrade will most probably be up to you and the choices you make, can make or break the overall design of a home.
So what is a balustrade? Balustrades comprise spindles (aka. balusters), handrails, base rails and newel posts. The spindles connect the handrails and the base rails and are more often than not, the most decorative part of a staircase. Spindles come in many different shapes, sizes, colours and can be constructed from a myriad of material ranging from wood, to iron, to glass. When selecting a spindle and a balustrade style for your home ask yourself:
Is Your Staircase Closed String or Cut String?
A closed string staircase encloses the stair treads and risers and the spindles are fixed to a base rail at the bottom and a handrail at the top. With a cut string staircase, the stair treads are exposed and the spindles will sit directly on the stair tread. If you have a cut string staircase, you will probably need two spindles on each tread. Cut string staircases will allow you to be more playful with your spindle design and choose spindles that are more decorative at the base and top. Glass panelling for example will work much better with a closed string staircase as it will yield a cleaner line at the base and top.
Does Your Staircase Diminish?
If while going up, your stairs hit the ceiling line, yours is a diminishing staircase. Should this be the case, as the spindles approach the ceiling, they will become shorter. Choose a spindle that won’t look odd if made shorter.
What is the Overall Style of Your Property?
If yours is a period property and you aim to retain its period features, you might choose a wooden spindle more in keeping with the home rather than an ultramodern glass and chrome option. Conversely, if your home is ultramodern, you probably will not choose an Edwardian, dark wood, heavily decorative spindle.
Who Will Live in the Property?
Choose a style that will work for those living in the house. For example, consider choosing a balustrade with sturdy spindles in a hardwearing finish over glass panels if there will be children in the house. Most homeowners who have younger children will shy away from glass panels or chrome as these show fingerprints and smears easily. On the other hand, if this is a home for a young professional, you might want to choose a modern metal spindle or glass panels that better reflect the inhabitant’s personality and style.
Which Material Will Work Best For Me?
There are many options when it comes to materials for balustrades and spindles.
Metal spindles for example are extremely strong and durable. They also require little maintenance and sometimes offer easy installation as some have adjustable lengths and come with adjustable brackets. Metal is a versatile material and can work in combination with wood or other metals.
Wooden spindles are a classic choice, especially if you are working on a period property. Wood is strong and durable and you can paint it with ease should you wish a change in look. When choosing a wood balustrade, keep in mind that there are many options including oak, pine and primed wood.
There are many other factors and considerations that you must take into account when choosing the right balustrade for your home. The shape of the spindles, spacing between them, building regulations, finishing and how each part of the balustrade works with others. Speak with your contractor or interior designer if in doubt. At Dominant Construction we are always eager to help and will be more than happy to work with you to help you choose the perfect balustrade for your home.