Stair parts

   This section describes the basic names of stairs parts and terms you should know to build a staircase. With these terms you will better orient yourself when reading the following pages. For better layout some of the stairs parts and terms are supplemented by explanatory sketches.















Balusters are vertical elements at the edges of the staircase or staircase shaft, which are necessary for handrail support and protective barrier creation. Balusters can be of different sections and forms.

















Balustrading is a joint name for newel posts, balusters, handrails and baserail together.

Baserail or Shoerail represents a wooden batten with lateral butt ends processed with the help of a router, and on the top of it there is a trench. Baserail is located on the top of the Closed String. It serves for balusters fastening at the Closed String.









Curtail Step is a variety of a Starting Step. It allows to broaden the entry zone and to make the staircase more elegant.









Bullnose Step is also a variety of a Starting Step. It allows to broaden the entry zone and to communicate more exquisiteness to the staircase.









Cap is an upper end of a newel post which serves a decorative element for a Turned Newel and for a solid Box Newel. Besides a decorative effect it also covers a central hole between the panels for a hollow Box Newel.

Closed String are massive wooden beam with trenches repeating the configuration of a tread and riser or with wedge-shaped trenches. Closed Strings join the treads with each other and form a sturdy construction together with them. They constitute primary bearing elements of the staircase.














Cut or Open String are massive wooden beams with teeth-shaped notches on the top of which the treads are fastened. They constitute primary bearing elements of the staircase.


















End Tread is a last tread in the flight of stairs and usually 12 - 14 cm deep. It shall be located at the same height with the finishing-coat of the second level.

Flight is a continuous series of treads connecting different levels. Minimal quantity of treads in one flight shall be no less than 3. Maximum quantity of treads in one flight shall be no more than 16.

Floor to Floor Height is the height from the floor of the first level to the floor of the second level. At that you shall remember that this size is measured from the height of the finishing-coat of the first level (finishing-coat is understood to be parquet, boarding, ceramics, etc.) to the height of the finishing-coat of the second level.
It is required to calculate the quantity and height of rises.













Going is a visible depth of a tread on the plan that is the distance between tread butts.













Gooseneck is an element of the handrail intended for creation of a passage from the handrail above the staircase to the handrail above the balcony parapet.









Handrail is a wooden batten with fashioned section. It provides for support and forms a protective barrier when you go up and down stairs. The handrail also serves as an attaching point of the top part of balusters.









Headroom is a size of vertical opening of the staircase in the clear from the tread forefront up to the low point of any structural element above it (ceiling, beam, flight of stairs, roof). Minimal size of this opening for comfortable usage of the staircase amounts to 2,100 mm.

Landing is a horizontal plane located between two flights of stairs. It serves for change of direction and rest when you go up-stairs.

Newel or newel post is a massive wooden batten. It performs a function of a bearing element. Closed strings, open strings, landings can rest upon newel posts both inside and outside the flight of stairs, when it is impossible to fix the wall-adjacent closed string or open string to the wall. They can be of different sections and forms.














Nosing is a ledge of the tread forepart against the riser. Minimal size of this ledge shall amount to 30 mm.

Over-the-post Railing is a type of railing when handrails are not interrupted by newel posts. The handrail remains uninterrupted along the entire staircase.

Pitch is an angle between the Pitch Line and the horizon.

Pitch Line is an imaginary line passing through upper edges of treads in the flight of stairs.

Post to-Post Railing is a type of railing when handrails are interrupted by newel posts.

Rise is a size from the upper plane of one tread to the upper plane of the next tread.













Rise and go, rise and going or rise and run is a proportion determining the pitch of stairs. When calculating this proportion one shall observe the rules of staircases design.



Riser is a board covering the space under treads communicating additional strength to the treads and makes the staircase safer.











Skirting Bracket is a decorative molding under the tread allowing to hide the spacing between the tread and the open string, as also the butt end of the riser.










Stairs Direction is a description of the travel direction on the staircase. They recognize Left hand direction and Right hand direction. The direction is marked on the plans by a middle line going in the middle of the flight of stairs. 

Staircase, Stairway, stairwell, or stairs are general terms that mean an architectural element which serves for connection of the levels located in different vertical planes.

Starting Step is the first tread in the flight of stairs.

Step is joint name of the tread and riser.

Tread is a horizontal plane which serves as a support when you walk.









Trim is a decorative molding which allows covering the gaps at the place of treads' bordering the wall.

Turnout is an element of a handrail which serves to subtly finish the end of the handrail at an angle of 90 degrees.









Up Easing is an element of a handrail that allows changing the direction of a handrail from angular to vertical one.










Volute is a spiral element of a handrail which allows fashioning elegantly the end of a handrail in case of usage of a Curtail Entry Step.









Wall Rail is a handrail fastened to the wall with the help of Wall Rail Brackets. In general it is installed if the width of the staircase exceeds 1,000 mm.

Wedges are wedge-shaped pieces of wood.






Winder Tread is a wedge-shaped tread. A series of such treads is used for construction of a turn of a flight of stairs for Winder stairs.














Related Content :

- Stairs Models

- Stairs Types

- How to calculate Stairs