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09 Sep

Buyers Guide to Wrought Iron or Glass Staircase Railings

If you are looking for an affordable addition to your home décor which can be both aesthetically pleasing and safety conscious, give serious consideration to the addition of a wrought iron or glass railing to your existing stairway.  Both of these options are gaining popularity over the older, standard wooden railings and are quickly making headway in the home improvement and design realms.  Here are some basic terms and ideas you need to consider before having such a railing installed in your home.


  • Balusters/Balustrade—Balusters are the rails which are positioned vertically in an iron railing and are the equivalent to pickets on a fence.  When multiple balusters are connected at the top and bottom with a footing and hand rail, they are called a balustrade.  The balusters and handrail can be plain or decorative with added designs for a more aesthetically pleasing look.
  • Belly Bow (aka The Romeo and Juliet Railing)—This is a type of railing that is often used on balconies and windows to prevent falls.  It takes its name from the fact that the bottom “bows” out or is curved.
  • Finish—This refers to a process we use in which we give the railing a high pressure phosphate wash and then bake on a powder coat.  This leaves the railing with a lifetime finish in either powder coating or faux finish.
  • Footing—This is the rail that runs horizontally along the bottom of balustrade and can be made of either wood or iron.  Like the posts, these can serve to provide support and also to also look attractive and appealing.
  • Glass Railing—These railings made out of glass are gaining in popularity as they are becoming more affordable and because they are relatively low maintenance.  Since they are made of glass, they add the extra benefit that they do not obstruct visibility as iron railings do.
  • Handrail Cap—The top of the handrail can have an additional piece added.  These can include a rounded design or even a wooden cap which can emphasize the metal work of the iron rail.
  • Posts—Just like at the end of a section of fence, railings have posts that are at the end of section.  These serve two functions.  First, they provide support to the railing and help maintain stability.  But they also can add extra decorative features by being custom designed to match other iron work in the home.
  • Scrolls—These are curled balusters.  Some railings have only scrolls with no vertical pickets while others have a mixture of the two.  The style and design of the scrolls can be customized to match other iron work found in the home.


Once you are equipped with the lingo and jargon of iron railings, it is easy to contact one of our Design Consultants to look at customizing a railing that is just right for your home.