Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Basic Staircase Terminology You Should Know (Part-1)

Construction and repair of staircases is a very specialized field. Like any specialty, it has its own technical terms. If you are planning to build or repair/remodel a staircase, you will do well to be familiar with a few basic technical terms frequently used by professionals.

Listed below are the commonest staircase terms. They will help you understand better the work that is going to be done for you by professionals. An explanation of a term may contain another term, the explanation of which you will find elsewhere down the list.

  • Angle newel: A newel is the central supporting pillar of a spiral staircase.  An angle newel is a longer newel post at a landing or upper level of a spiral staircase. The length is determined by the number of steps above this point.
  • Baluster: The vertical piece used between the railing and the floor or tread which provides support for the balustrade
  • Balustrade: The complete rail system
  • Box newel: A large square newel that is hollow
  • Box stair: A stair where the stringer houses the treads and risers (the vertical and horizontal parts of steps) to form a box
  • Bracket: This is also often called a tread or stringer bracket, and it is mitered to the riser and fastened over the stringer.
  • Cap: The round part of the rail fitting, which typically widens to allow it to be set on top of a newel post
  • Cove molding: A specially shaped mold that finishes the joint where the riser meets the lower part of the tread
  • Easing or easement: That part of the rail fitting that curves allowing the rail to move up or down at bends and corners
  • Fillet: The slim molding that is located between the balusters, plowed rail and the shoe rail
  • Finished floor to finished floor height: The distance between the top of the lower floor to the top of the upper floor; in other words, the total height of the staircase
  • Glue block: The square or triangle shaped wooden block that is fitted to the inside corner of each step, where the tread and the riser meet; it is glued into place.
  • Gooseneck: The rail fitting where there is a vertical rise at a balcony or landing; it is also used to permit a change of direction.
  • Hand rail: The rail on the balusters that is used as a hand support
  • Header: The member that is located at the well opening, and is used to secure the top riser of the staircase
  • Horse: The thick lumber that is used to form steps, and which supports the risers and treads
  • Landing: The platform that is located between different flights of stairs; this is also used to allow for a change in the staircase direction
  • Landing newel: The same as angle newel
  • Landing tread: A shaped mold used to create a level surface with the finished floor
  • Left hand: Rail fittings located on the left side of the staircase

A few more basic staircase terms will be covered in the next post.

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