The word baluster comes from two different languages, the first of them, baluster, originates from the Italian language and means pomegranate flower, the second, balaustium which comes from the Greek language . If at any time you have been near a balcony or have climbed concrete stairs, it is very likely that you have been next to one without realizing it. It is a type of architectural element that can be used for decorative purposes , although it also works to give greater security to stairs or railings.


What is the baluster?

It is a post that is placed vertically and that has the function of being able to give a better support and stability to a staircase, mainly those that can be seen on balconies . They come in different shapes and are attached to a rail for added security.


Baluster Features

There are several characteristics that can be observed in a baluster, the main ones are mentioned below.

  • They are decorative elements that are supported by an upper and a lower element.
  • They are located at the waist level.
  • They can be found in any type of building , even in churches and places where palaces still exist.
  • They can be built in a row, and when this happens, it is known as a balustrade .
  • They can be designed and built using different types of materials, the most traditional being wood and stone , although it is also possible to find designs made of metal .
  • The position of this type of structure is vertical and in addition, they must be attached to the rail that supports them.
  • They are separated from each other by the same measure since placing them separately can cause the aesthetic appeal to be lost .
  • Wooden balusters can be contoured thanks to a device known as a lathe .


Many experts consider that the balusters were born during the 14th century , when the architecture of the Renaissance had an important growth. It is believed that they were born in Florence, Italy, although many historians also claim that they were present in Assyrian palaces. It is also believed that the inventor Giuliano da Sangallo was the first to use the baluster on terraces and stairs. It was widely used in Spain and Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries.

During its origin and development, it was common to see the vasiform baluster , which had a similarity to a vase because its body was wide and its neck quite narrow ; on the other hand , there was a symmetrical baluster , in which it was possible to observe the similarity and the proper balance between the lower and upper part of it. In other countries such as the United States , the carved wooden spindle baluster was widely used, it was extremely elegant but at the same time quite simple.

Baluster types

There are several types of baluster that can be constructed and used in buildings. The most important are:

  • Turned baluster : this type of baluster is made of wood as the material is easier to contour. It is widely used in railings, buildings and stairs. Its main contribution is to give stability to the structure as well as to provide greater beauty to the structures where it is placed.
  • Metal baluster : as its name implies, it is made of metal , and can usually be found in public areas with easy access to everyone. They can also be placed in rooms where balconies or second floors are present.
  • Wood : using wood can tornear the baluster personal taste. They are widely used in rustic and classic places adapting to the needs of the client. In addition to providing greater warmth, they provide important protection and greater security. The pine , the oak and cedar are three types of wood used for the construction of the element.
  • Stainless steel : Currently, stainless steel is used for the construction of balusters and these can also be combined with other materials such as wood and stone. In this type of baluster it is necessary to use clamping hinges which must also be made of steel.
  • Made of cement : this type of baluster is most often used for the exterior decoration of buildings or houses. They have the advantage of being waterproof , resistant to fire and the heat of the sun. They are generally made by hand and fiberglass reinforced concrete is also used to give them greater durability.
  • Aluminum baluster : as the name implies, they are made of aluminum and are usually accompanied by glass or resistant plastic. They are quite linear designs and can be used as railings, partitions in offices, outdoors and terraces.


The different parts of a ballast are essential for it to provide the security and stability that is required. For this, they are formed or composed of several important parts which are the head , the neck of the baluster, the belly and the foot . However, when they are placed on stairs, their parts must always be the following:

  • Lower base or low base
  • Baluster , which is itself the decorative part of the staircase and the one that provides security
  • High base or higher
  • Gripping material which is placed between the high base and the handrail
  • Railing


The main function of all types of balusters that are built is to provide adequate support to a given frame, in order to provide better support ensuring that the structure remains immobile, especially when they are placed on railings and stairs. In other words, the baluster allows the person to walk very safely avoiding the risk of falls and accidents.


The importance of this element is not only focused on providing beauty to the structures, however, this is also an important point since they provide the ability to decorate places with different geometric shapes giving greater lightness and elegance . They are important because in addition to providing security to the person who walks near them, it also gives greater strength to the structures where they are placed.

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