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The smart way to find your Tradie


If you are building a 2 storey house or putting on a second storey you will need to have a staircase of some description. Any stairs or balconies will by law require balustrading in some form or another. Raised decks, porches and verandahs may also need balustrading. The balustrading will be influenced by the type of stairs you choose.

simple timber treads and handrail    Wrought Iron balustrade    Timber Balusters with carpet treads

For example an open tread staircase will have differing balustrade to a poured concrete staircase. Most new homes with a suspended concrete slab will have poured concrete staircase, where as a framed second storey extension will have a timber framed staircase with a stringer. Balusters are the individual vertical supports of the balustrade, these can be attached directly to the stair treads or be attached to a base rail. Whilst at the top there will be a handrail (timber or metal), and end posts where the balustrade starts, stops or changes direction. The large timber post at the bottom of the stairs is called the newel post.

Types of balustrade

Plastered walls with nosing or handrail


Framed glass

Semi framed glass

Frameless glass

Stainless steel

Powdercoated welded aluminium

Wrought aluminium

Wrought Iron


Cost wise (as a general rule)

  • The least expensive options are normally plastered walls, powdercoated aluminium and framed glass
  • Others will be more expensive and price will depend on how ornate you want your balustrade to be.
  • Metal handrails are less expensive than timber handrails.
  • Curved will always cost more than straight sections.
  • Frameless glass needs to be quite thick in order to be safe, this used to be very expensive but imported glass has driven prices down over time.

All balustrading must conform to BCA standards (Building code of Australia) Standard tread height and depth must be maintained even after timber flooring is installed.

If your home has a suspended concrete slab some of it will be visible as you go up the stairs. Where the slab meets the brickwork cracking happens due to different materials meeting. This join is normally covered with a painted timber nosing called a stringer.

Balustrading is normally installed after the floor coverings are completed,- temporary balustrade can be installed prior to this for safety. You will need to advise your manufacturer of the final floor finish (timber treads on concrete steps are thicker than carpet).

TIP: Think about your family situation. Whilst the building code dictates that balusters must be close enough together to prevent a child falling through, currently you can have horizontal bars on your balustrade........this creates a ladder for little children to climb and fall over the top of.....go figure!