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  • Writer's pictureGlass & Mirror Solutions

Glass banister or glass balustrade: What's the difference?

Know your glass banister from your balustrade? When it comes to renovation projects you may hear these words a lot. The question is: are glass banisters different from balustrades and if so, how? Let’s take a look…

The origins of the banister

When you think of banisters, the chances are you think about the staircase handrail you slid down as a child!


You may be surprised, then, to know that the word ‘banister’ (which can also be spelt ‘bannister’) comes from the word ‘baluster’, which refers to any kind of brace between a handrail or footrail on a railing system.


A more commonly used term than baluster, a banister is what supports the handrail rather than the handrail itself.


Now for the slightly confusing bit…

Banisters and spindles

You could be forgiven for thinking that a banister/baluster sounds a lot like a spindle. Indeed, banisters and spindles perform much same function in a railing system by supporting the handrail.


There are some differences, however. Banisters usually rest on a footing such as a step, floor or deck. Spindles, on the other hand, are supported by a horizontal rail at the bottom that is attached to the newel posts.


What banisters and spindles have in common is that not only are they decorative, they also support the handrail and prevent us from walking too close to any unsafe edges.

Where do balustrades come into it?

In general, the handrail, footrail and banisters/spindles are all components of a balustrade.

Therefore, strictly speaking, ‘balustrade’ refers to the railing system as a whole and is what you will see fixed to staircases, balconies, mezzanines and garden decking.


Made from toughened glass, balustrades are an attractive design solution that can be used in a variety of domestic and commercial settings.


Safe, durable and easy to keep clean, they are ideal for both internal and external renovation projects.

"But I’ve been describing my glass balustrade as a glass banister. Help!"

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Nowadays, many people call the whole railing system a banister. Infact, many people refer to everything between the rails as ‘balister’ – which can be confusing to say the least!


Help is at hand though. If you are planning a renovation project for your home or business, talk to experts like Glass & Mirror Solutions who will discuss your requirements and ensure you get the precise design solution you need.


With a range of handrails, fixtures and fittings to choose from, aswell as a number of styles including frameless and painted glass, our balustrades are measured, supplied and fitted to meet your specifications.


Whether you called it glass banister or a glass balustrade, once you see the results you will simply call it stunning!


For a no obligation quote, get in touch today.

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