Balusters (banisters) are the vertical supports for a handrail on a staircase or landing. In residential properties, balusters are usually wooden, but they can be made of iron, steel, stone, concrete, or other suitable materials. The total construction of balusters and bannister rail is called a balustrade.
Balusters may be have a square cross-section, but they are frequently turned on a lathe to give a wide variety of shapes and patterns. Metal balusters may also be simple round railings or be formed into ornate shapes, depending upon the ingenuity of the designer.
Balustrades are frequently used on the edge of stairways and landings, to provide safety and support. Consequently the balusters must be firmly mounted and able to take the weight of people leaning on them, so a survey report should draw attention to any weaknesses.