Balustrades 101: what is balustrading?
Often used as a fall prevention barrier, a balustrade is another name for a railing.
Under the National Construction Code a balustrade is required where someone could fall one metre or more from a floor or accessible roof of a building. Balustrading must be provided alongside any stairway or ramp, floor, corridor, hallway, balcony, veranda mezzanine or path of access to a building that isn’t bound by a wall.
Queensland is famous for its traditional ‘Queenslander’ style home, which is typically high-set with casement windows and open balconies and verandas. In Queensland there are strict requirements for the design and construction of balustrades.
When building or renovating it’s important to understand the safety guidelines pertaining to balustrading, which relate to the actual balustrade design and also the substrate it’s fixed to. It’s also important to consider the style of your home and the other materials adjacent to the balustrading.
A balustrade design solution should suit the style of home – whether a traditional home or a modern home. In both cases there are many options in each category depending on the materials used and the level of craftsmanship involved. Below are some categories and examples of balustrading.
Traditional balustrade design will include traditional materials and craftsmanship using timber, wrought iron, caste iron and stone.
Timber can be raw or painted and can create a number of looks depending on whether you want traditional timber profiles of turned balusts, or the timber balusts are in a design consistent with a traditional home such as the Hampton's style balustrade below.
Modern balustrade design includes materials such as glass, stainless steel wire, powder coated aluminium and timber.
Glass will generally give the most modern aesthetic particularly if the glass balustrading is frameless or features stainless steel fixings, posts and handrails.
Stainless steel wire under tension has also been a popular modern balustrade design and as it meets the regulations.
Powder coated aluminium is a common, affordable balustrading option and will not require any additional engineering to ensure it meets with the regulations.
In the case that privacy is required then a good balustrading option is using a combination of materials such as balustrading atop a dwarf wall.