Building rules in the United States require that balusters have no more than a 4-inch space between them. This close spacing allows for vision between spindles while also acting as a safety precaution to keep tiny toddlers from being caught between spindles or slipping between the balusters. If you are building a new home, this spacing can be adjusted based on personal preference or building code requirements. Otherwise, leave this space at its default setting.
The recommended maximum height for a railing is 16 inches, but some buildings have regulations about how high fences can be. Building codes generally require that there be at least 3 feet of clear space above fencing or decorating around a property for fire safety.
If you want to build a fence that is lower than 16 inches, consider installing railings that are less than 4 inches apart. You would need to make sure that children cannot squeeze through these spaces, so use caution not to make the gap too small.
There are several types of railing systems available on the market, so it's important to select one that fits your needs and has enough strength to support people who might be tempted to walk along the fence. Post and panel is the most common type of system used for residential fences. It is affordable and easy to install. But it is weak compared to other options if you plan to regularly load the fence with items such as toys and pets.
Calculate the distance between the balustrade's end supports. Assume it's 13 feet 5 1/2 inches, or 1612 inches, for this example. Divide that length by four to get the number of gaps you'll need while keeping a minimum distance of four inches between balusters. In this case, you'd need 14 gaps.
The easiest way to determine how many times to space the posts is to use your eye as a guide. If you can see over the top of the balustrade when standing at the midpoint between its ends, then you're looking down at about the right height. Otherwise, try placing string or rope along the line where you think the baluster should be and cut it accordingly to mark the posts' locations.
The finished width of a staircase is called its rise. The rise includes the steps, if there are any, and the landing area in between. The rise also includes any trim around the perimeter of the staircase, such as crowns, edges, or brails. In this case, since your balustrade is flat, its rise is just under 16 feet. You can divide that number by two for the number of posts needed to span the gap.
Posts are set into concrete footings, which are filled with cement to hold them in place. The distance between posts depends on what kind of railing you choose. Traditional wooden railings require wider spaces than other options.
The term "baluster" has evolved to refer to any brace that connects a railing system's handrail and footrail (or string). So the banister is actually the spindle, and sliding down the "baluster" would not be as smooth. Many people currently refer to the entire structure as a banister, and anything between the rails is referred to as a baluster.
In its most general sense, a baluster can be defined as a slender post, usually with a round cross section, used to support a rail or network of rails. This definition makes no reference to the material from which it is made or its purpose. A banister is a specific type of baluster; it is the name given to the upright posts located well within reach of the handrail in order for their ends to be tied together at various heights to form a stairway.
The word "banister" comes from Middle English: bander(e) \+ stave, post. The band part of the word refers to a thin strip of wood, metal, or other material used to make a step or stair. The term "stave" comes from Old Norse and means a post or pillar.
In America, balusters are commonly made of wood, but they can also be made of steel or aluminum. If they are made of wood, they may be stained or painted to match the rest of the house or left as-is.
A space of about 1/8 inch at the top and along each side, and about 3/8 inch at the bottom, is ideal. If you can't get to that size, then at least make sure that whatever size you do use gives you enough room to work with your tools.
Some builders like to fill up their panels completely, which looks great but can be difficult or impossible to open. If this is you, then try to only use materials that will fit through the opening once closed.
It's also important to remember that people are different sizes. No matter how much space you think you'll need, it's best to allow just a little more than you think you might need. This way you don't end up with a doorway that isn't wide enough for someone to pass through.
And lastly, keep in mind that if you make your doors too narrow, you may have to buy multiple sets of panels to finish them off.
The overall width of a panel set should be no wider than 36 inches, so if your door opens 24 inches or less, you'll need at least three 8-foot panels to close it fully.