How to Calculate Balustrade Loadings

Written by joseph mars
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How to Calculate Balustrade Loadings
Get the balustrade loadings right to keep your family safe. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A balustrade is the railing connected to several vertical bars -- or balusters -- that protects you and also gives you a place to lean on, if necessary, when you're out enjoying yourself on a balcony or porch. If you are installing a new balustrade, you need to know how much load the entire length of the rail can withstand when pressure is applied to it and the balusters; get the right information from a balustrade resource and with a few measurements.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper

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  1. 1

    Measure the entire height of one of the balustrade posts with the tape measure; also measure the rod diameter of the post with the tape measure. Write these figures down on the paper with the pencil.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the rail between two of the balustrade posts with the tape measure; record this information with pencil and paper.

  3. 3

    Consult the balustrade resource to determine the loadings, or weight, that can be safely placed on your balustrade; for example, a post with a length of 42.4cm, a diameter of 4cm, and a distance of 0.5m between it and the next post has a load capability of 1.5 kN/m (kiloNewtons/meter), which is equivalent to 150kg, or about 150kg.

  4. 4

    Write this information down for reference purposes when you are installing the new balustrade. Note that indoor balustrades must be able to bear a load of at least .25 kN/m, or 250 Kilogram, and outdoor balustrades must be able to hold a weight of at least .5 kN/m, or 50 Kilogram. Make your balustrade heavier, if necessary, by shortening the distance between each baluster post during installation; the closer the posts are, the more weight they can withstand, as noted in the balustrade resource.

Tips and warnings

  • Use this information to help you convert KiloNewtons/meters into kilograms, and kilograms into pounds:
  • 1 kilo Newton/meter=100 kg
  • 1 kilogram=2.204 lbs.

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