Anatomy of a Luxury Staircase

Balusters – The vertical posts which support the railing of the staircase; balusters are typically wood or metal.

Balustrade – Refers to the entire system.  Made up of handrail, balusters and newels.

Fittings – The stair parts used to form a smooth transition when the handrail changes height or makes a turn at a landing or a balcony.  Common types of fittings are gooseneck, volute, overeasing, upeasing, quarterturn with cap and without cap, tandem cap,

Handrails – The horizontal or rake member of a balustrade system.  It sits on top of the balusters and is supported by newell posts.

Intermediate Landing – Level platform separating flights of stairs.

LandingTread – Moulding used to give the appearance of a tread on landings and balconies.

Newels – Major support posts for the balustrade system.  Larger and heavier than the balusters, newels are located at the bottom and top of a staircase and at turns and critical support areas of balcony rails.  Can be over-the-post or post-to-post

Nosing – the edging of a tread or landing tread which protrudes beyond the face of the riser or skirt board.

Rise – Vertical measurement from the surface of one tread to the surface of the next tread.

Risers – The vertical components of a stair which support the treads.

Run – Horizontal measurement from the face of one riser to the face of the next riser. This is the depth of the tread without the nosing.

Skirt – decorative trim board used on the open and closed side of the stairway and to trim the area underneath the landing treads.

Starting Steps – The first tread and riser at the bottom of the staircase.  Can be square or round (round is typically called a bullnose)

Tread – The top surface of a stair on which one steps.