Parts of a Staircase: What You Need to Know

When it comes to staircase parts, there’s a lot more to know than just the steps and railing. In fact, there are several different components that make up a staircase, all of which play an important role in safety and function.

From the treads to the balusters, each part has its own unique purpose. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each component of a staircase and discuss what makes them so important.

Related: 30+ Best Stair Trim Ideas and Designs (With Photos)

What is a staircase?

A staircase is a set of steps that allow people to ascend or descend between two different levels. They are commonly found in homes, office buildings, and other public spaces. Staircases can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and concrete.

1. Baluster

Balusters are one of the most important staircase parts, as they provide both safety and visual appeal. There are several different types of balusters, each with their own unique features.

Spindles, for example, are thin and cylindrical, while newel posts are large and rectangular. Regardless of the type of baluster, however, they all serve the same purpose: to keep people from falling off of the staircase.

Balusters can also be used to add visual interest to a staircase. By choosing different styles and shapes, you can create a unique look that will enhance the overall appearance of your home. Additionally, balusters can be stained or painted to match any decorating scheme.

If you’re looking to add some new balusters to your staircase, be sure to choose a style that is both safe and visually appealing. There are many different types of balusters available, so there’s sure to be one that will fit your needs.

2. Balustrade

The balustrade is another important part of a staircase, as it helps to protect people from falling off the edge. It typically consists of a railing and spindles or balusters, which help to keep people from leaning over the edge.

The balustrade is an important safety feature, and should be installed on any staircase that has a height of more than 30 inches.

3. Base Rail

The base rail is the starting and ending point of a staircase. It is also known as the riser, which is the vertical part of the stair tread. The railing system is attached to the top and bottom of the base rail.

This provides safety and stability for people using the staircase. The base rail should be made from a durable material that can withstand heavy use. It is also important to choose a color that will match the decor of your home.

4. Blocking

Blocking is a small piece of wood that is used to fill the space between the staircase and the wall. It helps to create a level surface for the staircase treads.

Blocking is also important for securing the railing system to the staircase. Without blocking, the railing would be unstable and could easily come loose over time.

5. Curtail Step

The curtail step is the small, triangular-shaped step at the end of a staircase. It is used to provide a safe and easy way to exit the staircase.

The curb height should be between ½” and ¾”, depending on local building codes. Curtain steps are usually made from wood or metal.

6. Flight

A staircase flight is a series of consecutive steps that lead from one level to another. It is important to have at least two flights of stairs in order to provide safe and easy access between levels.

The maximum number of steps in a staircase flight is 12, but this may vary depending on local building codes.

7. Going

The going of a staircase is the distance from the front edge of one tread to the front edge of the next tread. It is important to choose a going that is comfortable for people using the staircase.

The average person’s stride length is about 28”, so you should choose a going that is at least this long.

8. Handrail

A handrail is a railing that is attached to the side of a staircase. It provides safety and stability for people using the staircase.

The handrail should be made from a durable material that can withstand heavy use. It is also important to choose a color that will match the decor of your home.

9. Headroom

When you’re measuring the headroom of a staircase, you’ll need to measure from the finished floor surface to the underside of the beam or joist that support the staircase.

This will give you an idea of how much clearance you have at the top of the staircase. If there’s not enough clearance, you may need to adjust your plans.

You’ll also need to take into account the height of the staircase itself. The total rise, or height, of a staircase is measured from the finished floor surface to the top of the staircase.

This includes both the treads and risers. Be sure to account for this when measuring headroom, as you don’t want anyone hitting their head on the staircase.

10. Landing

A staircase usually has a landing at the bottom, which is where the staircase meets the floor. This provides a place for people to rest and also gives them a spot to start climbing up the stairs again. The landing should be at least as wide as the staircase itself.

If your staircase doesn’t have a landing, you’ll need to measure the distance between the last riser and the wall. This will give you an idea of how much space you’ll need at the bottom of the staircase. You’ll also need to make sure that there’s enough clearance for people to walk past the staircase.

11. Line of Nosing

The line of nosing is the edge of the staircase that people will see when they’re walking up or down. You’ll want to make sure that this edge is nice and smooth, so that it’s not dangerous for people to walk on. The nosing should also be at least as wide as the treads themselves.

12. Newel Cap

The newel cap is the top of the newel post, which is a vertical support that’s often used in staircase construction. The newel cap is usually square or rectangular in shape and it’s used to cover up the end of the newel post. It can also be used to add extra decoration to the staircase.

13. Newel Post

The newel post is a vertical support that’s often used in staircase construction. It’s usually made from wood or metal and it’s used to hold up the handrail. The newel post is also a good place to add extra decoration to the staircase.

If you’re using a metal newel post, be sure to check the weight capacity to make sure that it can support the weight of people walking on the staircase.

If you’re using a wood newel post, be sure to use a treated lumber so that it will last longer.

14. Nosing

The nosing is the part of the staircase that projects over the edge of the step. It’s purpose is to provide a safe transition from one step to another and to prevent people from slipping off the edge of the staircase.

The nosing should be at least ¾ inches wide, but it can be wider if desired. Some nosing materials include metal, wood, and concrete. When installing a new staircase or renovating an old one, it is important to select the right nosing material to match the rest of the staircase.

15. Pitch or Slope

Staircase pitch or slope is the degree of incline on a staircase. It is measured by the rise and run of a staircase. The rise is the vertical distance between consecutive steps, while the run is the horizontal distance between the walls and the first and last step. Most jurisdictions have building codes that dictate how steep a staircase can be.

16. Riser

The riser is the vertical component of a step. It is usually made from wood, metal, or stone. The height of the riser is usually uniform, but there are some staircase designs that have different-sized risers.

17. Run

The run is the horizontal distance between the walls and the first and last step. It is usually made from wood, metal, or stone. The length of the run can be different on every staircase, but it is typically not more than 18 inches (46 cm).

18. Scotia

Scotia is the horizontal piece of wood or stone that connects the riser to the tread. It is usually about three inches (76 mm) wide and one-half inch (13 mm) thick.

19. Soffit

The soffit is the part of the staircase that is hidden from view. It is usually made from wood, metal, or stone. The soffit hides the staircase’s structural elements and provides a finished look to the staircase.

20. Stairway or Stairwell

A stairway, or stairwell, is the part of a building that allows people to travel between floors. A staircase has two components: the flight of stairs and the landing. The flight of stairs is the series of steps that travels between two landings.

21. Step

A step is the component of a staircase that people stand on. It is usually made from wood, metal, or stone. The steps must be strong enough to support the weight of people travelling up and down them.

22. Stringer

The stringer is the structural member that supports the steps of a staircase. It is usually made from wood, metal, or stone. The stringer is typically attached to the walls of the staircase’s landing and runs along the length of the staircase.

23. Tread

– Tread is the horizontal surface that you walk on

– It is usually made of a hard material like wood, metal, or concrete

– The tread depth should be at least 11 inches so that people can safely walk on it

– There should also be a nosing (or lip) around the edge of the tread to prevent people from slipping off

– Treads can be straight or curved, depending on the staircase design

– If a staircase has more than one flight of stairs, there will be a landing between each flight

– The landing should have a nosing and a tread depth of at least 11 inches as well.

24. Waist

– Waist is the point where the side rail and handrail meet

– It should be between 33 and 36 inches high so that people can safely hold onto it while they are walking up or down the staircase

– If the waist is too low, people might not be able to reach it, and if it’s too high, they might have to stretch too far and lose their balance

– The width of the waist should be at least 18 inches so that people can hold onto it comfortably

– If there is a landing between flights of stairs, the waist height should be the same as the height of the nosing on the landing.

25. Winder

– Winder is a staircase design that curves around a central support column

– It can be either open or closed (i.e. the treads are either exposed or hidden from view)

– Winders are often used in tight spaces where there isn’t enough room for a straight staircase

What is the flat part of stairs called?

The flat part of stairs is typically called the tread. The tread is what you step on, and it’s usually made from a hard material like wood or concrete. There is also a riser which is the vertical piece between each tread. Together, the tread and risers make up a staircase.

If your staircase has a handrail, there will also be a baluster which is the small post that separates the handrail from the staircase. Finally, there’s usually a landing at the top and bottom of stairs which provides a place to rest.

Conclusion

Staircases can be found in all sorts of buildings, from homes to schools to office buildings. They’re a necessary part of any building with more than one story, and it’s important to know the different parts so you can safely use them. Thanks for reading!