Project Description

Wooden Balusters, Spindles and Columns

Wood Balusters and Wood Columns

H.A. Stiles provides finely crafted turned architectural wood pieces in a variety of species for both exterior and interior use. We custom make all of our products to your specifications.

For over one hundred years, stair parts, furniture parts, architectural wood pieces and many other unique and custom items have been our specialty. Design your own balusters, refer to images above for ideas or send us images from a magazine or website that gave you inspiration.  Simple changes with custom woodwork makes a statement about you and your home, something that has been missing in recent building trends, but important and typically present in older homes made with attention to detail and craftmanship. We also supply custom stair parts and railings.

The Parts of a Staircase

What is a Baluster?

The baluster is the vertical component of a stairwell, balcony or deck and serve in a decorative and a security capacity. The term “wooden spindles” is interchangeable with the term “balusters”. The handrail and foot rail are attached to columns or more commonly newel posts to secure in position. In large scale production, these wooden balusters are turned on back-knife or Mattison lathes.  More complicated and custom balusters can be made on CNC and duplicating lathes.

Exterior wooden balusters/spindles are needed on entry stairs, but also have further applications around porch rails.  These too can be simple, though often are more ornate in showcasing a house for curb appeal.

Interior and Exterior Wooden Columns

Whether you are looking to create curb appeal, structural parts or staircase design, wooden columns are a versatile option.

Wood Species

We can produce your individually crafted columns and balusters in virtually any domestic and a few imported species for interior or exterior applications in paint or stain grade.  There are only a few species recommended for exterior use, based on weather resistance.

Restoration / Replacement

In exterior applications, much of the work we do is replacement of wooden balusters and columns that have outlasted their life, which is a factor of original species, installation and mostly maintenance.  We can match existing profiles for partial or complete replacement staying with period designs.  Interior work typically involves remodels and restorations of homes or institutions.  We can match from CAD, scale drawings or paint encrusted samples, we’ve seen it all.

Installing stair balusters

There are many sources online with tutorials on how to DIY and install your own staircase parts, such as baluster replacement.

Commonly asked questions:

What are the best exterior grade woods for my porch columns and balusters?

There are several options on exterior paint grade woods to use, though a few stand out as some of the best.  African mahogany and Spanish Cedar are excellent choices based on durability and hardness. While the wood is more expensive than other choices, it is typically not that much more when you consider labor to produce and install, especially if it avoids replacement in your lifetime.   Old growth cypress , redwood and red cedar were great choices, though old growth is not available any longer and the second / third generation trees available today are not quite as durable.

One of the biggest factors in any wood chosen is to prevent moisture from penetrating and staying in the wood, fostering decay by fungus and then insects.  Part of this occurs in the design / building process and the balance is in keeping a good coat of finish to block moisture. There should always be a barrier between the wood and concrete.

What is a good interior paint grade wood for balusters, newels and columns?

Paint grade typically suggests the cheapest wood, since you will be covering it.  Many think pine to be  a good choice, though clear pine is more expensive than many hardwoods and the knots and pitch  lines start to show a few months to a few years, somewhat regardless of surface preparation and priming.  Poplar is probably the most common paint grade woods for interior, as cost effective, machines well and  takes a finish nicely.  In areas that may be high traffic or get banged about, soft maple might be a good choice as it is about 40% harder than poplar.

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