Shoptalk: baluster

What is a baluster?


One of the number of short vertical members, often circular in section, used to support a stair handrail or coping. A row of balusters, plus a railing, form a balustrade.



Balustrades are often used on ornamental parapets around roofs,  as railings at balconies, bridges or terraces and are commonly used at stairways. The general shape, which resembles a chess pawn, can be dated back to the Roman Empire. The name is derived from the swelling form of a half-open pomegranate flower which in Italian is balausta. Over the years the shape has changed based on the era, but the purpose has stayed the same. Whether ornate or simple in design, balustrades can be created out of a variety of materials including metal, wood, and stone.


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