Stair Parts 101
Stair parts vocabulary have you confused? Don’t be. Use this brief glossary to help you order the stair parts you need for your project.
Baluster – The thin vertical spindles that support the staircase railing.
Balustrade – Assembly of the balusters, newels and handrail.
Gooseneck – A handrail fitting with a vertical ‘goose neck’ shape, generally used to transition to a balcony or landing.
Handrail – The railing that sits atop the balusters, made to hold on to when using the stairs.
Newel – Major support posts for the balustrade system. These support posts are larger than the balusters, and are generally placed at the top and bottom of the balustrade, or where there is a turn in the handrail.
Nose – The front lip of the tread. This part of the tread generally hangs over the riser by an inch or so.
Riser – The vertical piece of the stair which supports the treads. Rise height is measured from the top of one tread to the next.
Rosette – A decorative stair part, usually wood that is placed on where a handrail meets a wall
Run – The measurement of the horizontal stair piece (tread) from riser to riser minus any nose hangover. Total run constitutes the length of the entire staircase.
Shoe – Decorative piece placed at the bottom of each baluster to add a finished look to the balustrade.
Skirting – Board that runs along the wall at foot level on the stairs, providing the trim.
Tread – The horizontal piece of the stair, or portion you step on when going up or down the staircase.
Volute – The beginning portion of the handrail that sits on top of a newel and spirals in on itself. Used at the start of an over-the-post staircase.