Rail Terminology 101: The Purpose Of Each Part

Whether you are focused on the safety or aesthetics of your home, railings are an essential part of a stairway or steps. You can find railings in homes as part of a variety of different structures, such as staircases, balconies, bridges, porches, and decks. They serve an array of purposes, including their aesthetic appeal, safety, and support.

Several parts make up a railing system that is safe and secure. Below is a detailed list of the parts of a railing.


This part of the railing is the main component since it serves as a place that people can hold onto while they are going up or down a set of stairs or an entire staircase. The primary purpose of the handrail is to provide plenty of stability and support for people while they are navigating stairs and steps.


The balusters of a rail system are also known as spindles. These are vertical posts or rods that run between the handrail and typically the floor. Not only do they provide the structural support that a railing system needs but they also help to keep people from falling off the edge of a stairway, especially small children or pets. The balusters are evenly placed and can give a stairway a unique and beautiful aesthetic.

Newel Posts

These types of posts are larger than the normal-sized vertical posts and they act as an anchor for the handrail at very important points of the railing system. These points include the top and bottom areas of the stairs or even the corners of the stairs. They are used to provide more security and stability to the railing system and can also add an aesthetically pleasing look and style to a staircase. One example of a newel post is a box-style newel that many staircases feature.

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