Interior stair balusters (wood vs. iron, spacing, etc.)

minneapolisiteJune 17, 2012

First off, I JUST returned my Not So Big books to the library and forgot to revisit the baluster section. Does anyone remember the stairs with the balusters spaced like this?

Anyway, we need to decide between iron balusters and wood balusters. Thoughts? Inspiration pictures?

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Make certain before building or purchasing that type of set up that it will pass code as those ballusters may be spaced to far apart to pass.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:37AM
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What is the style of your house? We have a very traditional home so decided against the iron balusters, even though they are very popular around here. In fact, our builder automatically spec'ed them out and we had to change it. Not sure if this is helpful, but here is how ours turned out.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Our house is a traditional style ranch. Here are the stairs to the basement. I like the iron spindles but love the look of white spindles with darker wood. Our house was a spec. home so it wasn't our call.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Thank you for the pictures! I think I prefer the look of wood balusters over iron. My husband says his style preference for wood is either all white or all wood (not wood with white accents even though I love nini's stairs!) :)

Here is a picture from the model home...

Our kitchen cabinets and great room built-in are "Winds Breath" white.

I'm thinking square wood balusters, maybe like one of these pictures:

Traditional Staircase design by Other Metros Interior Designer Kirby Maronda

Modern Home Office design by Calgary Interior Designer Cardel Designs

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Will the stairs be carpeted or wood?

Are you sure you can remove the red outlined posts? They look structural to me.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:53PM
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The posts are decorative, not structural. Builder already confirmed we can remove them.

The stairs will be carpeted as shown in the first picture. We have little ones. :) In 10+ years I might have them redone to be wood with a carpeted runner.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:06PM
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If I were you, I would go with all stained wood, then, not your Dh's other choice of all white...I would NOT paint the bannister white...even with the best paint job all those hands on it would become quite icky! Our newell posts are oak painted with oil based semi-gloss and I have to wipe them regularly due to stickly fingers...I would hate to have to do that with the whole rail!

I was a little worried about our children running up and down the stairs, but they adapted well and definitely hold that bannister tight!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Is this maybe a steel-framed house??? The clear spans you will have if those support posts are both removed look awfully long for traditional LVL joists.

I can imagine maybe taking out the post next to the stairs but seriously, that other post looks like it HAS to be structural. Builders sometimes make mistakes. I would definitely insist that my builder put it in writing that that post is merely decorative and that he had checked with an engineer to verify that it is not structural and can be removed. Otherwise you'll be midway thru the build and he'll come back telling you "gee sorry, turns out I was wrong and those posts have to be there after all." And at that point your only option will be to let him put the posts in or have the second floor cave in on you.

Trust me, I've been there, done that... and the span where I had to put in a totally unwanted support post is not nearly as wide as yours looks.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:14AM
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nini, that is SUCH a good point about dirty fingerprints on a white railing. Stained wood it is!!!

bevangel, it's possible the newel post at the foot of the stairs can't be removed. I need to talk to the builder to confirm which posts will/won't be there. He did say "all of these posts can be removed" but I should make sure we are talking about the same posts.

Back to the stairs---what do you guys think of this look, where the balusters are in "pairs?"

Is it safe? Is it too trendy? Have you seen such a thing in person?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Since you're thinking of going with the plain square balusters, I like the idea of spacing them in pairs like that. It gives some sense of rhythm to what would otherwise, to me, look rather bleak... like prison bars. Not too "trendy" at all.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Thanks bevangel! I truly appreciate your insight. :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Woot! Builder says no extra charge for the balusters. :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 4:20PM
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