The Terms Used in The Design and Construction of Stairs, Staircases and Stairways.

Balanced Steps A series of winders that are arranged to have the same width close to the inside of the turn as the adjacent flier treads. ;
Baluster A small post used to support a handrail and to infill the section below it.;
Balustrade A complete railing system which may consist of vertical members and rails and any infill panels, wire etc. to stop people and objects falling off stairs, landings and balconies etc.;
Balustrade Rules Various mandatory rules for balustrades;
Bracketed strings A small decorative bracket that is fixed under the tread overhang to a cut string. It is mitred to the riser rather than the string being mitred. ;
Bullnose Step A bottom or lower step of a flight of stairs, with a quarter circular end.;
C
 
Cantilever Stair A stair that contains a series of steps that are supported at one end only.;
Closed or Housed String A string with the inner face housed to receive the ends of the steps;
Commode Step A round end step where the radius of the semi-circular end is double or sometimes more than a standard round end step. Often supporting another normal radius round end step.;
Continuous Handrails A system of handrail building using smooth curves where the user can walk from one floor to another without having to let go of the rail. ;
Contrast Edging Making the edge of treads or the riser or nosing joint area of a contrasting colour and or texture so that it is easily seen. ;
Curtail Step The starting step of a flight of stairs that quite often is a feature step wider than the rest. In shape it has one or both ends in the shape of a scroll or spiral. For this reason, sometimes called a Scroll Step. ;
Cut and Mitred Strings The outside strings are cut with a mitre to the vertical joint with the riser. The tread has a bead the same size as the nosing returned on the end of the tread.;
Cut Stringer Stairs Stair stringers that are cut to the shape of the treads and the rises in a sawtooth effect;
D
 
Dog Leg Stair A half space landing that is just wider than the combined width of the two flights that meet it.;
F
 
floating Stairs A stair that contains a series of steps that appear to be supported at one end only.;
H
 
Handrail Gooseneck A curved section of a handrail that terminates at a newel post.;
Handrail Scroll A spiral type ending to a stair handrail. In most cases they transform from the sloping section to the horizontal plane. Also called a Handrail Volute in the US.;
Handrail Sections A slice through a handrail perpendicular to it will create a section of the rail. This is the defining feature of the rail that determines whether it will be comfortable or not.;
Handrail Wreath The section of a handrail that changes direction. Usually in a smooth curve. ;
Handrails A safety rail or railing at a convenient height to be grasped by the hand. Used on stairs, landings, platforms, elevated ramps etc.;
K
 
Kite Winder The central winder in a quarter turn of windings steps. Named for its shape.;
N
 
Newel Cap An ornamented feature to the top of a newel post.;
Newel Drop An ornamented bottom of a newel-post seen below the soffit.;
Newel Posts Posts that carry the handrails in a flight of stairs.;
O
 
Open Riser Stair A stair that has no physical riser members.;
P
 
Pipe Handrails Stair handrails that are made from hollow tube sections;
R
 
Round End Step A bottom or lower step of a flight of stairs, wider than the standard steps that has one or both ends in the shape of a semicircle.;
Routered Stringers Full depth stringers that are routered or housed to hold the treads and rises;
S
 
Slope Relationship The relationship between the rise and the go of a stair. When used as 2RxG and set within various limits, e.g. max 700 to min 550 then it is used to define comfortable and safe stairs.;
Spiral Newel The central load bearing post in a spiral stair. Also simply called a Newel.;
Spiral Stairs A circular staircase, the treads consisting of winders only. It takes the form of a helix and is quite often called a helical stair.;
Stair Angles The angle that a stair takes to the horizontal. Also called the pitch of a stair.;
Stair Critical Angle The angle of a stair, above which a stair is deemed to be unsafe. It is said to be around 50 deg.;
Stair Flight A continuous series of steps with no intermediate landings.;
Stair Handrail Extensions Safety terminations to the end of handrails that provide a rounded non snag end and that extend past the last riser line of the stair.;
Stair Handrail Height In stair building regulations the height of the handrails. In most jurisdictions not less than 865 measured from the nosing line.;
Stair Head Height In stair building regulations the clear height above the stair. In most jurisdictions not less than 2000 measured from the nosing line.;
Stair Headroom The minimum required height of any floors or bulkheads above a staircase.;
Stair Margin Template A rebated piece of material used to keep the pitch-board the required distance from the edge of the string when setting out stairs.;
Stair Nosing 1.) The part of the tread that overhangs the riser. The often-rounded last edge of a tread.
2.) Anti Slip Nosing Proprietary fittings for fixing to tread edges to prevent slipping. ;
Stair Nosing Line A line along the nosings of a stair from which head height and handrail heights are measured.;
Stair Pitch Board A template for marking out stairs. When workshop made, they are out of ply. Some adjustable metal ones available.;
Stair Slope Relationship A simple formula that defines the safe angle of stairs. ;
Stair Spandrel A triangular section of panelling used to enclose the area under a flight of stairs.;
Stair Strings The sloping members of a flight of stairs that support the treads.
Also called Stringers. Under certain conditions they can also be categorised as: –
Bracketed, Close, CutCurved, OutsideWallWreathed. ;
Stair Total Rise The amount that a stair, staircase or a person walking up a stair travels in a vertical direction. The total rise. ;
Stair Tower A free-standing building containing mostly a stair. Also, an attached stair or stair enclosure that projects beyond the building’s roof;
Stair Tread Materials The material that treads are made from. Ranges from concrete to timber, steel to synthetic plastics.;
Stair Wall Rails The handrails that fix to the walls at the side of a stair.;
Stair Winders Radiating steps, narrower at one end than the other.;
Staircase A flight of stairs or series of flights used as a means of getting between floors or levels. Includes all supports, and handrails and safety features. Also known as simply a Stair or as a Stairway in the US;
Stairway Landings Horizontal spaces or platforms at the ends of stairs. Or breaks between flights of stairs, used for convenience, to turn corners and as far as regulations go to halt someone who is falling.;
Stairwell A vertical shaft through the floors of a building which contains the staircases.;
Stairwell Hole The void in a floor prepared to receive a stair. The space between the two outer strings of a half-turn stair.;
Step Rise and Treadstep is a rise from one level to another. A single step is just the vertical rise between two levels.
In stair construction a step has two components, the vertical distance of travel known as the rise or riser and the horizontal distance of travel known as the tread or go.;
Story Rod A staff or rod of wood used for taking the height between two floors and dividing it into equal rises to mark out the positions of steps and landings.;
T
 
Tapered Treads A stair tread that is narrower at one end than the other. Used in spiral and Helical stairs.;
Threshold Landing A landing adjacent to a door where there is then a flight of stairs. ;
Toe Space The amount by which a tread overhangs the riser below it to create a more comfortable stair.;
Transition Zone An exception to the landing and balcony rules to allow the sloping section of a handrail to merge freely with the horizontal section without the need for a vertical rise.;
W
 
Well-hole The void in a floor prepared to receive a stair. Also, the space between the two outer strings of a half turn stair.;
Wide Stairs Stairs over a certain width, usually in public places, that require handrails in the middle of the stairs.;
Winder Treads in an otherwise straight flight that are made tapered to change the direction of the stair.;
wreathed String The junction of two strings that are joined with a curve. Usually at a quarter turn landing. The wreathed one has a curve to its end that matches the curve of the handrail scroll above it;