Wish List Wish List

Washington Street (3)


You may not think it, but there are many different components to creating a stair - and with these so many technical names - so what do they all mean? Here is a guide to some of the basic stair building terminology that we use at S&A Stairs.


Stair Types

1. Closed Stair

A closed stair consists of both treads and risers.

2. Open Stair

An open stair is a stair that does not have any risers, allowing you to see the space in between all of the treads.

3. Cantilevered Stair

A cantilevered stair is where treads project straight from a wall, using complex engineering.

4. Centre Carriage Stair

This is a stair that is supported by a central beam only, the beam can be either steel or timber.

 5. Spiral Stair

A stair that winds around a central upright pole.

6. Part Open/Part Closed Stair

A stair that can be up to 1/3 overhanging using timber supports.

7. Fire-rated Stair

A stair that complies with the building code for fire resistance.


Stair Components

1. Treads

These are the horizontal boards that you walk on.

2. Risers

These are the vertical boards that go between each tread.

3. Cut Stringers

Are cut to follow the profile of the treads and risers. From the outside of the stair you can see that the edge of all treads and risers are exposed.

4. Closed Stringers

When a stair has a closed string, the treads and risers are supported by what looks like one straight solid beam running along the bottom of the balustrade.

5. Balusters

The smaller posts/rods fitted between the stair and the handrail, usually decorative, and in timber, steel or stainless steel.

6. Bullnose Step

The step at the base of a stair which usually has a protruding semi-circular end.

7. Capping

The piece of timber that forms the edge or border for the carpet or other floor coverings, usually located at the edge of the floor on the upper level.

8. Handrail/Wallrail

The shaped piece of timber or stainless steel that you hold on to as you walk up or down the stair, usually fixed to the top or side of the balustrade (or wall).

9. Handrail Scroll

The decorative handrail piece at the start of the stair that curls around and sits above the bullnose step.

10. Handrail Wreaths

The sections that curve around corners to form a continuous handrail.

11. Landing

The flat platform usually located where a stair changes direction.

12. Newel Posts

The larger posts at the start and at the corners of the stair. They are usually turned, fluted, paneled or decorated in some way.

13. Staunchions

Larger steel or stainless steel posts at the start and at the corners of the stair which sometimes support glass panels.

14. Winder Steps

The triangular treads used to change the direction of a stair, usually around right angled corners.

15. Tread Brackets

A decorative design placed on the cut stringer.

16. Nosing

The rounded or square leading edge of a tread.