A baluster is a vertical post that holds up the handrail. It is not only a decorative part of the staircase but also functions as a railing to help prevent occupants from falling off. Since this is a protective element of the stairs it must be built properly. Quad rails are required on stairs if it is over 24 to 36 inches off the ground. There is an industry standard of 4 inches maximum spacing in between balusters but it is recommended to call your local building department to double check and ensure if you have the correct measurement. You can also determine the spacing all by yourself by just having a tape measure and doing some math calculations, simply follow the steps below.
- Measure the length of the staircase between the two rail posts. It is recommended to use inches as your standard of measurement. If you have a semi circular staircase you may get several measurements until you have come up with the total length.
- Once you determine the staircase length and the requirement of the building code in your city in spacing the balusters, next is to measure your chosen baluster's width.
- Now we do some math calculations. For example purposes we will use the standard 4 inch space between each baluster. All you have to do is add the width of the baluster and the space between the balusters together. For example, if you have a baluster that's 3-inches, plus the 4 inch space, that will give you 7 inches.
- Next add the baluster length to the staircase length and then divide it to the sum that you got from step 3. For example, the staircase length is 200 inches plus 3 inches (additional baluster length) equals 203 inches. Then you will have to divide the 203 inches to the 7 inches and it will give you 29 inches.
- If you haven't arrived at a whole number, simply round it up to the nearest whole, and that number will be the amount of balusters you will need for your staircase. So for a 200 inches staircase you will be needing 29 balusters.
- Next, the baluster count, which is 29, will be multiplied to the width, which is 3 inches and that number is 87. You will need to subtract this number from the length of the staircase with additional baluster width, which is 203 inches. And that will be 203 inches minus 87 equals 116 inches.
- The sum that you got from step 5 will be divided to the balusters count, or the sum that you got from step 3 and you will need to add another baluster this time. Since you got 29 balusters from step 3 just add 1 more and that will yield to 30 balusters. For computation 116 inches divided by 30 is equals to 3.86 inches. This number will be the space between each.
Now that you're done computing the spaces for each baluster you have to begin at the middle part of your staircase when installing the balusters and work with the next one using the measurement that you've computed.