SMA Stair Academy Offers Stair Balustrade Class

The Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) will host a stair balustrade hands-on course February 6-8, 2023, in Houston, Texas. This is a three-day course that focuses on installation best practices for post-to-post and over-the-post systems.

The class offers hands-on instructional training with student workstations specifically designed to enhance the understanding and practice of balustrade layout from the starting newel through handrail fittings and wall termination. The class teaches the student how to calculate handrail height, baluster spacing, lengths, and newel placement. Special focus is given to corrective methods for issues as they arise without stopping the workflow.

Seasoned stairbuilders teach the course. It covers everything from checking paperwork for proper materials to calculating newel block depths and selecting proper baluster lengths. Before making the first cut, the student learns to layout the whole balustrade, including flights, landings, and walking surfaces. Throughout the process, students also learn various newel placement techniques and are exposed to a variety of mounting hardware. Students will gain invaluable insight and the ability to finetune projects, as necessary.

The class benefits both the shop craftsman and the sales representative. It provides a better understanding of the preparation needed for support accessories and the take-off list used in the balustrade.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to plan layouts of balustrade locations on flights, starting steps, landings, and balconies on open, closed, and buttress configurations.
  • Participants will be able to create elevation layout locations for newel locations in notched and surface applications.
  • Participants will be able to design layout options of landing tread, fascia/apron, and trim.
  • Participants will be able to organize layout locations for baluster grouping, handrails, fittings, fitting connections, and balusters in drilled and plowed installation.
  • Participants will be able to use various types of accessory hardware and connection methods for newels, balusters, handrails, and handrail fittings.
  • Participants will be able to develop baluster renovations, cable installation, horizontal and panel infill.

For more information, or to register, visit:

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