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Staircase terminology

Confused about some of the terminology used when discussing staircases? No problem. We explain all the ocmmonly used terms:

Apron Lining – moulded fascia material used to cloak the side view for a cleaner look.

Baluster – also called a spindle. The vertical piece between the handrail and the base rail, or tread if cut-string.

Balustrade – the name for the complete assembled run of handrail/base rail/newels/spindles etc.

Bullnose – refers to the shape of the step, usually the bottom step and can have one or both ends of the step with a rounded end.

Closed string – the face of the string is housed/trenched to accommodate the treads and risers so their profile is not visible.

Continuous handrail - where the lengths of handrail are connected to the fittings and flows over the tops of the newels to make a continuous run.

Curtail step – a semi-circular shaped protruding step chosen for added decoration or to support a volute handrail and newel.

Going – this is the horizontal distance between the face of the first and last riser. The individual going of a step is measured from face of riser to face of riser or nosing to nosing and should be a minimum of 220mm for domestic flights.

Newel – this is the upright supporting piece that anchors the strings, handrails and treads of the staircase. Nosing – the edge of the tread which projects over the face of the riser and the face of a cut string.

Pitch – the angle between the pitch line and the horizontal.

Pitchline - the notional line connecting the nosings of all the treads in the flight.

Rake – the pitch of the stairs.

Rise – this is the vertical distance between the floors or landings connected by the flight. The individual rise is the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of next tread.

Riser – the vertical board that forms the face of the step.

Stairwell – the space that accommodates the staircase.

Step – the tread and riser combined.

Tread – the horizontal surface of the step.

Wall string – a staircase string fitted flush against a wall.

Winders – tapered steps are used to change the direction of a stair through 90º or 180º.

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