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Glossary Of Staircase Terms - R To Z

If you are planning on building or buying a staircase it is important that you understand the terminology that contractors and material suppliers will use.

Detailed information on how to construct a staircase.

Staircase Repair

Tread Repair Or Replacement




A ledge cut along one edge of a piece of material.

staircase rise


Vertical measurement

staircase riser


The vertical member of a staircase, located between treads (including the bottom floor).

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Round-Top Baluster

Any baluster that has rounded ends for fitting.

staircase run


The horizontal measurement of staircase length.

staircase skirtboard

Skirt Board

The piece of trim material installed between the stringer and a wall.

solid newels

Solid Newel

A newel post that is bolted to the house framing.

spiral staircase

Spiral Staircase

Stairs that rise in a spiral, usually made from manufactured kits. Spiral stairs provide limited access and should never be used as a primary staircase.



handrail bracket

Stair Bracket

A metal support fastened to the wall that is then attached to the handrail.



The framed cut-out in a floor that provides access to a staircase.

straight run staircase

Straight-Run Staircase

A staircase that rises in a straight line from bottom to top.

staircase stringer


The structural support members that the treads are mounted to. Also called a carriage.

staircase total rise

Total Rise

The vertical distance through which stairs must cross from finished floor to finished floor.

staircase total rise

Total Run

The horizontal distance the stairs cover from the face of the top riser to that of the bottom riser.

staircase treads


The horizontal member of the stair on which one steps. The nosing is technically part of the tread.

staircase unit rise

Unit Rise

The vertical distance from one tread to the next.

staircase unit run

Unit Run

The horizontal distance from the face of one riser to the face of an adjacent riser.

U shaped staircase

U-Shaped Stairs

U-Shaped stairs are also know as switchback stairs as they make a 180 degree turn.

utility staircase

Utility Staircase

A less frequently used staircase, usually built for access to an attic or basement.

wall rails

Wall Rail

The handrail attached to the wall in an enclosed stairwell.

winder staircase

Winder Staircase

An "L" shaped staircase that uses wedge-shaped treads to make a sweeping 90 degree turn. Occupies less space than a traditional "L" shaped staircase.

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