Railing Glass 

Railing glass continues to rise in popularity in modern home design, with elements that are both visually appealing and structurally suportive. There are a variety of glass railing systems and methods available, each with their own distinctive features. There are two main distinctions between systems. Most glass railings can be categorized as either “glass panels” or “structural glass.

Glass Panel Railings

With glass panel railings the structural support comes from a frame of either wood or metal. Glass panels are custom cut and inserted between railing posts either as one panel or as multiple smaller panels clamped together. This is a minimalist approach to classic railings and bannisters, replacing the need for any spindles or balusters. Glass panels highlight the characteristics of other components.

Glass Panels

Glass Panel Railings

Wood Frame Lift & Drop


Structural Railing Glass

Structural glass is thicker and sturdier, removing the need for newel posts or frames. The glass is entirely self supporting and requires minimal hardware to install. The most common methods use a base shoe, base sprigots, or metal standoffs to fasten the glass to the staircase. Railings can sit along the top of the glass or be mounted directly to the glass.

Structural Glass

Structural Railing Glass

Common Terminology:


Verticle railing spindles.

Base Volutes

Round or rectangular base at the side of the tread.

Carpet Tee

A wood strip installed on the bottom or back of an open riser stair with plywood treads.

Ceiling Plate

A plate where a railing system ties into the ceiling.

Closed Risers

The vertical surface of the stair between steps.

Convex Treads

The front edge of your tread is curved between stringers.

Degree of Turn

The degree in which a curved stair turns.

Designer Foot

A method to add additional support to a stair.

Diminishing Spindles

When spindles gradually change from full height to smaller heights.

Eastern Stringer

Saw Tooth or cutout stringer design in which the spindles sit on the tread of the stair.

Extended Wall Brackets

A Bracket used to attach a wall-mounted railing to the wall. Longer than the standard wall bracket.

Half Newel

A newel cut in half vertically and placed against the wall where the handrail terminates.

Handrail Volute

A custom rail curl at the base of the stair.

Inside Radius

The measurement from the center point to the inner edge of the staircase.


The material used to provide ornamental variation of outline or contours and to cover any gaps or seams between materials.


The posts used in railing construction at changes in directions and terminations.


The front portion of the tread that overhangs the riser.

Open Risers

look at steps for extra period.

Outside Radius

The measurement from the center point to the outer edge of the staircase.

Recessed Paneling

Moulding used to create a panel effect.


Vertical dimensions from tread to tread.


Horizontal dimensions from riser to riser.


The bottom plate that the balusters/spindles are set on.

Stair Width

Width measurement from edge to edge.

Straight Treads

When the treads are straight across from stringer to stringer.


The horizontal structure where you step on.

Walk Line

A measurement into the stair that the inspectors use to determine the legal run per tread.

Wall Bracket

A bracket is used to attach a wall-mounted railing to a wall.

Wall Mounted Railing

A handrail supported by brackets that are mounted to the wall.

Wall Plate

A plate where a railing system ties into the wall.

Western Stringer

Closed stringer design in which the spindles terminate directly into.

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