Balustrades available from Pear Stairs

The term ‘balustrade’ refers to the combination of handrail, spindles (or ‘balusters’), baserail and newels, which together form the railing system that encloses one or both sides of a staircase.

Balustrades for stairs  

The handrail is the part of the balustrade that sits on top of the spindles. This is the part that you hold as you climb up and down the stairs.

According to UK building regulations, the minimum acceptable handrail height in a domestic dwelling is 900mm on both stairs and landings.

For a public staircase, the minimum height handrail on a landing is increased to 1100mm, while the minimum handrail height for stairs remains at 900mm.

     Click to Shop for Staircase Parts                                                                                              Click to Design and Buy Staircase
Balustrades with over the post handle  

If desired, the handrail can be continuous, passing over the newel posts (known as an over-the-post system), as opposed to the standard handrail which is interrupted by newel posts and caps (a post-to-post system).


The spindles in a balustrade support the handrail and prevent users from falling through the space between the handrail and the stairs.

UK building regulations state that all spindles must be fitted close enough together to prevent a 100mm sphere being able to pass through any openings in the balustrade. This is to avoid small children becoming trapped.

Balustrades with base rail  

A baserail sits on top of the string (or ‘stringer’) on a closed string staircase and holds the spindles.

The baserail is grooved on the top and bottom to accommodate the base of each spindle, and the top of the string. Where excess space remains between the base of a spindle or the top of the string, infill strips are used to fill the remaining area, ensuring that the string or spindle is wedged tightly into the groove.


We would not recommend fitting a baserail that is grooved on the top to an exterior staircase - this could allow rainwater to collect in the grooves, causing the wood to rot. Instead, exterior spindles can be fitted to the baserail using either screws or dowel joints.

  Balustrades diagram

A cut string staircase doesn’t require a baserail; here, the spindles are fixed directly to the steps using a dowel joint.

StairCreator Build your staircase now

Newels support the strings, handrails, treads and risers on a staircase, and are themselves comprised of three separate parts:

Balustrades with newel post  

The newel base provides the structural support required and is the part into which the newel post is fixed.


The newel post is the central section of the newel. This connects the newel base and newel cap, and supports the baserail and handrail. These in turn support the spindles.


The newel cap (or ‘finial’) is the ornamental top section of the newel. It can be produced in a number of shapes including flat, pyramid and acorn. You can also get highly decorative, hand-carved designs. Most newel caps are made from wood but metal ones are also available for a more contemporary touch.


The balustrade enclosing the staircase itself is called the ‘rake balustrade’; one which encloses the edge of a landing is called a ‘return balustrade’.

You may be interested to know that the word balustrade originates from the 17th century French word balustre, which itself originates from the Latin balustra, ‘wild pomegranate flower’, referring to the decorative, curved shafts of early balusters (spindles).

 Click to   Shop for Staircase Parts

Balustrade examples from Pear Stairs

As one of the leading staircase and stair parts manufacturers and suppliers in the country, Pear Stairs sells every balustrade component in a range of designs to cater for all tastes. Here are some examples of the designs and stair part combinations chosen by our customers over the years:


Grand Oak Staircase

For this stunning European oak balustrade, our client chose a square cut newel design with carved artichoke-style newel caps (finials).

Because the client wanted their stairs to make an impact, they ordered large 70mm turned Heritage spindles, as opposed to the standard 35mm, for a grand, imposing effect.

The handrail is our pear design, unique to Pear Stairs.


Softwood Staircase

Because this staircase was to be painted and carpeted, our client chose to use pine as the primary timber.

The delicate volute compliments the elegant surroundings, with Georgian spindles and newel posts reflecting the period of the property, while the cut strings bring a modern touch.

The baluster is topped by a low profile staircase handrail in American white oak.


Elegant Oak Staircase

For this stained American white oak staircase, our client chose a simple yet elegant balustrade of slim 32mm stop chamfered spindles.

These are paired with turned Georgian newels for an element of traditional style.

The newels are open-capped to accommodate the continuous handrail.


Oak and Metal Staircase

For this central staircase, our client opted for a balustrade of Boston metal spindles with American white oak newels, baserail and handrail.

This staircase incorporates a return balustrade on the left hand side, finished in the same style as the rake balustrade.

The newels are plain square cut with square caps, while the handrail is the unique pear design.

All wooden components were finished with Fiddes hardwax oil after fitting.


Double Winder Whitewood and Metal Staircase

In this case, the client chose to alternate between Madison (first) and Charleston (second) spindles.

While the staircase treads and risers were made in whitewood and carpeted, the client opted to use pine for the balustrade’s wooden components, for a more attractive overall appearance. These were then treated with Osmo translucent white wood wax oil, for the lighter finish shown in the picture.

The newels used are plain square cut with flat newel caps, and the handrail is our deep profile design.


Pine and Metal Staircase

This balustrade incorporates alternating Madison (first) and Beaufort (second) spindles.

All wooden components are in pine.

The newels used are Oxford fluted newels with a ball cap.

The spindles are topped by a plain square cut handrail.


Oak, metal and glass staircase

These exceptional open riser stairs helped the house in which they were installed reach the finals of the Grand Designs Award.

Our client chose to mix glass, timber and stainless steel for a truly striking visual impact.

On the left hand side of the staircase, the customer opted for a balustrade of stainless steel spindles topped with a Fusion rounded oak handrail with stainless steel end caps.

On the right hand side, string-to-ceiling glass panelling (sourced by the client) was used.


Oak and steel staircase

For this client, Pear Stairs supplied brushed stainless steel spindles, square cut newels with flat caps, and our unique pear handrail.

The choice of stainless steel spindles highlights the modern elements of the staircase design; such as the steel spine, missing string and half open risers.

To contrast, the pear handrail and capped newels bring an element of traditional staircase design to the overall appearance.


Continuous sapele handrail

This softwood staircase is distinguished by its contrasting, polished sapele handrail.

The client opted for a continuous handrail – fitted using handrail components which sit on top of the newel posts, to give the appearance of the handrail passing over them.

The handrail components used are a vertical turn (pictured left), a horizontal cap turn, a volute and two up ramps. For more information, please take a look at our Stair Parts page.


Metal staircase

This statement-making staircase combines oak, glass and stainless steel to give a high impact appearance. The balustrade consists of two panels of 13.5mm toughened and laminated glass, which is fitted using stainless steel discs.

The clear glass panels are topped by a continuous oak handrail, specially designed to be used with glass balustrading. This type of handrail features a slot on the underside to house the top edges of the glass panels.


Redwood, metal and glass staircase

For this modern-traditional combination staircase, our client chose to mix redwood newels and handrails with glass panels and stainless steel spindles for a unique look.

The panels are made from 10mm toughened glass, fitted using stainless steel glass clamps. The newels are stop chamfered and are paired with pyramid newel caps for an elegant appeal. The handrail is our own pear design.


Stainless steel and glass

This display staircase shows what can be achieved by mixing stainless steel elements with glass panelling. The result is ultra-modern, clean and truly stylish.

The handrail and glass clamps are stainless steel, which has been brushed to a satin finish. The panels are made from 10mm toughened glass, featuring pencil polished edges.

To complete the look, redwood newel bases have been drilled to accommodate stainless steel tubing, giving the appearance of a stainless steel newel post.

As well as supplying locally, we are also able supply them throughout the UK including in Birmingham , Cornwall , Dorset , Hampshire , Kent , Somerset  and Warwickshire .

If you are interested in balustrades, please contact our friendly team on 01938 553311. You can also try out our new StairCreator, a free online planning tool that lets you experiment with different designs and produces an instant price estimate.