Read more about Balustrades:
- What are balustrades?
- Steel Balustrades
- Tensile Wire
- Wrought Iron
- Timber Balustrades
- Glass Balustrades
- Uses & Manufacture
What are balustrades
Typically a form of a railing, a balustrade is commonly used
for safety in homes and offices. Yet besides being a safety
feature balustrades have long been created as a thing of
beauty, adorning their space and often standing out as works
Of course their most important aspect, as mentioned above is
their security potential – after all one cant install a
balustrade that someone will fall through with little effort
and even the most beautifully crafted balustrades must be
strong, durable, reliable and last the distance.
A lot of their security features has to do with the
materials used in their construction. It’s obvious that while
a material such as aluminium would be easy to craft and meld
into intricate patterns, it simply wont provide the safety
needed, its too flimsy. This is why most balustrades we see
today are crafted from wood, steel, wrought or cast iron,
tensile wire and even glass.
Because of the nature of their application most balustrades
are custom made to fit the space, and unless you are building
a series of identical buildings, the chances are that most
balustrades will be a unique feature, designed and crafted not
only to fit the space, but also fit the theme of their
surroundings. After all a high-tech tensile wire and stainless
balustrade would look out of place in a Victorian period home
as much as a hand tooled old fashioned wood balustrade would
look out of place in say a high-tech office block.
They must look good, blend into and enhance or compliment
their surroundings and be strong.
YSteel balustrades are reliable and can be extremely beautiful.
Steel can be shaped or cut into a variety of shapes or designs
and when polished can fit into either a high-tech environment or
when down skilfully, can compliment a contemporary setting, even
rustic. They can be as simple and straightforward as you want or
as elaborate as you want, it’s your choice and your budget.
The beauty with steel is that is can be painted, galvanised,
powder coated or scored in order to create a rough, modern
A fairly new innovation, this style balustrade is perhaps
better suited for areas that do not require high levels of
safety. Generally their construction consists of nothing
more that few line of wire run horizontally between two
supports and then winched tight. This leaves fairly large
open gaps between them and if you are standing on a 10th
floor building, perhaps they are best avoided.
However, there is a use and need for these balustrades, and
once installed can give a very minimal, modern look,
high-tech finish to a space.
Wrought iron balustrades offer many options and can also be
tooled into intricate, thought provoking styles and shapes.
Usually considered quite rustic, wrought iron balustrades
are able to fit into many décor schemes perfectly and their
natural colouring has an appeal of its own.
Timeless beauty and elegance, timber balustrades over time
can become a much sought after item to have. Whether you are
after a straight up and down pole or a hand carved frieze,
timber will definitely increase the value of your home both
aesthetically and in terms of financial gain.
Timber is versatile, easily tooled and can be left in its
natural state (which should be encouraged if you are using
an exotic or beautiful wood), stained or painted.
It is unfortunate that the use of timber has lessened, but
perhaps people’s awareness of the environment makes up for
this loss. In its place many suppliers offer timber
look-a-likes in the form of polymers which are economical,
look great and can also be crafted into interesting designs.
A fairly new idea, glass balustrades are for many the number
one option when a view is at stake. A glass balustrade can
shape the look of any staircase or patio and is one material
that can withstand the elements with ease. Of course glass
used in this construction is not your normal window glass;
this is glass that has been toughened exponentially in order
to ensure safety.
The illusion of space a glass balustrade will give you is
extraordinary compared to their denser counterparts, glass
balustrades will not block our light or a view, or you could
elect for acid etched designs or sandblasted or tinted
finishes which still allow light through, although somewhat
While possibly one of the most intriguing if not
aesthetically pleasing choice in a balustrade, glass does
come with a price. Glass by its natures is capable of
shattering or chipping which can lead to potentially serious
injuries or damage to property. For this reason the glass
used in their manufacture has to go through a process of
toughening and strengthening in order to cope with everyday
use and wear.
Talking about wear and tear, glass is not a great idea for
high traffic areas, and is capable of giving those who have
to clean it a great big headache. Glass shows the dirt
really quickly and as their main feature is the clear vision
they aim to provide, it is imperative that they remain
sparkly clean at all times.
Uses & Manufacture
While it is usual for balustrades and their handrails to be
constructed from the same materials it is not unusual that
they aren’t. For instance many balustrades today can be seen
teamed with materials such as stone or plaster and even
marble, even a mixture of wood, steel and other man-made or
natural materials. The sky is the limit!
The materials used in design and manufacture should take
into account where the balustrade will be placed as some
materials just wont wear well outdoors while other materials
are impervious to the elements, take galvanised steel vs.
timber for instance.
The most common shapes seen in balustrades is geometric, yet
with most materials it is easy to curve shapes to suit your
need and space, but this does have an effect on price.
Designing a balustrade leaves plenty of room for
imagination, and while some take the form of a series of
straight up and down pillars, other comprise intricate cut
out motifs that are welded together to form a story, or hand
carved majestic wood that speak of past eras. Whether you
choice is geometric or more creative, your design will need
to depend on the design and architecture of your building,
while a borderless sheer glass façade may suit a particular
setting, it may not suit lets say a rustic home set in the
A balustrade is not something most of us dwell on, yet the
absence of one is instantly noticeable. If you follow some
simple rules in your design and safety selection, you will
have a fitting that will last as you need it.