Stair System Terminology

90 Degree Up Easing Up Easing that quickly transitions the Handrail from level to vertical.

Acorn Top Acorn style decorative top on some Post to Post Newels.

Angled Stairway Stairway that has a Flight of Stairs extending from an Intermediate Landing at an angle other than 90° or 180°.

Balcony See Second Floor Landing.

Balcony Newel Newel Post used as a structural member in Second Floor Landing Balustrade systems 10' or longer.

BalconyPro® Tool to provide a quick and easy method for accurately marking Baluster locations on Level Runs and Balconies.

Ball Top Round ball style decorative top on some Post to Post Newels.

Baluster Decorative vertical member of a Balustrade system. Wood Balusters are usually 1-1/4", 1 5/8" or 1-3/4" square. Iron balusters are usually 1/2" square.

Baluster Centerline Tool Tool used to quickly determine Baluster Centerlines on Treads.

Baluster Runner® Tool used with a power drill and Dowel-Fast® screws to quickly fasten Balusters into Treads and LandingTread.

Balustrade Handrail system located on the Open Side of a Stairway or Balcony that consists of Newel Posts, Balusters, and Handrail components.

Bending Mould A product used with Bending Rail allowing the installer to clamp the pieces of the Bending Rail together without marring the Bending Rail, itself.

Bending Rail Handrail used in forming curved Balustrade systems. Bending Rail consists of several pieces that, combined, are the size and profile of the desired Handrail.

Bore Buster® Boring guide for drilling holes in Handrail.

Box Newel Type of newel that is usually constructed like a box, often having a hollow center. Box newels are usually square rather than turned on a Lathe.

Bracket Decorative pieces fastened to a Notched Stringer on a Stringer Built Stairway, or Skirtboard on a Carriage Built Stairway. Available plain or scrolled.

Cap (Fitting) Portion of Fitting that widens to accommodate a Newel Post beneath.

Carriage Supporting members extending from the bottom to the top of the Stairway. They are notched to support the treads and risers. Also known as Stair Jacks and Horses.

Carriage Built Stairway Stairway built with Carriages for support.

Centaur® Tool used as a centering device and drill bit guide on the bottom of hardwood Balusters.

Centerline Invisible line running down the center of the Newel Posts, Balusters and Handrail of a Balustrade system. Used in calculations to ensure all components line up properly.

Chuck-Buster Drill attachment that allows user to quickly change bits and accessories.

Circular Stairway Curved Stairway with no center pole.

Climbing Volute Handrail Fitting used at the bottom of a Stairway as a decorative beginning to the Handrail. It has a Cap to allow it to sit over an Over the Post Newel. The Cap is offset from the Centerline of the Handrail. A Climbing Volute rises more quickly than a standard Volute.

Closed (side) of a Stairway Side enclosed by a wall.

Closed False Tread Tread cap installed over a rough framed Tread on the Closed Side of the Stair to simulate the look of a solid Tread. Also known as Wall Caps.

Colonial Ball Top Round ball style decorative top with special detailing available on some Post to Post Newels.

Conect-A-Kit® Fittings Fittings that are connected to other Fittings and Handrail with Lag Bolts. These connections are totally hidden. They have a base with machined pockets and a removable top lid (or bottom filler) for easy installation and greater flexibility. No Rail Bolts required!

Coped End Fitting Handrail Fitting with one end coped to match the profile of a Fitting Cap. When attached to the Handrail on one end and a Cap on the other, the installer can build special angle Fittings.

Cove Mould Decorative trim which is used to cover the joint between the Tread and the Riser and between the LandingTread and the landing Fascia.

Dowel-Fast Tap Bit used to drill and tap holes for ease of tightening Balusters into Treads and LandingTread using Dowel-Fast screws.

Dowel-Fast Screws Double ended screws used to attach Balusters to Treads and LandingTread.

Dowel-Runner® Drill attachment with lag threads used to install Dowel-Fast Screws.

Enduromold Polyvinyl Bending Mould.

Fascia Decorative trim board used along the open face of landings.

False End Starting Step Starting Step consisting of the bullnose and 6" of straight Tread. It is used when carpet is desired on the rest of the bottom Tread.

False Riser Plywood Riser installed over a portion of the rough framed Riser to simulate the look of a solid Riser.

False Tread Tread cap installed over a portion of the rough framed Tread on the open side of a Stairway to simulate the look of a solid Tread.

Fillet Decorative wood strips used to fill the Plow between Balusters in Plowed Handrail and Shoerail.

Finial See Newel Top.

Finish Floor to Finish Floor Height Distance from the surface of the finished flooring material at the bottom of the Stairway to the surface of the finished flooring material at the top of the Stairway. This is also the Total Rise of the Stairway.

Fittings See Handrail Fittings.

Flight of StairsSeries of steps between floors and/or landings.

Freestanding Stairway which is not supported by walls. The underside of a Freestanding Stair is visible.

Glue Block Block of wood used to add structural stability to Stringer Built Stairways.

Gooseneck Traditionally manufactured Fitting consisting of one or two Up Easings, one Rail Drop, and one or two level Fitting components. Used to make transitions at landings.

Half Newel Post Newel Post that has been cut in half vertically to put against the wall. Used where the Handrail meets the wall.

Half Wall Wall constructed to a height approximately equal to Handrail Height and takes the place of a Balustrade system. It does not extend to the ceiling.

Handing See Left-hand/Right-hand.

Handrail Portion of the Balustrade system which sits on top of the Balusters and is supported by the Newel Posts. Handrail is also used along walls to help guide the user of the Stairway.

Handrail Fittings Components that are attached to Handrail to allow the Handrail to start in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, make transitions in the Handrail Height or Pitch or sit upon the top of Over the Post Newels. Profiled to match the profile of the Handrail. Some Handrail Fittings may also be used in Post to Post applications.

Handrail Height Handrail Height refers to the vertical distance from the Nosing of the Tread on the Rake, or Finished Floor Surface on a Landing or Balcony, to the top of the Handrail.

Header Supporting member of the framing of the Stair area located at landings. The Stair understructure is usually attached to the Header.

Headroom Vertical distance from the ceiling above the Stair to the Tread directly below.

Housed Stringer See Routed Stringer.

Intermediate Landing Level platform separating flights of stairs.

Intermediate Landing Newel Post Post Newel Post at the corner of an Intermediate Landing where two Rake Handrails meet.

Kerf Saw cut that does not cut all the way through a piece of wood. Kerfs are used to allow sections of wood to bend as in the Riser of a Starting Step and the Skirtboard of a Circular Stairway.

Kneewall Wall on the Balustrade system side of the Stair that extends just a few inches above the nose of the Treads. The Balustrade system attaches to the Kneewall and adjacent framing members.

Kneewall Cap Board used on the top of a Kneewall.

L-Shaped Stairway Two Flights of Stairs at 90° to one another and separated by an Intermediate Landing.

Lag Bolts BoIts used for fastening to wood. In the Stair industry they are used to join Conect-A-Kit® Fittings to Handrail, Newel Posts and each other. In some applications, they are also used to attach Newel Posts to Risers and to attach Handrail to Newel Posts in Over the Post Systems.

Landing See Intermediate Landing and Second Floor Landing.

Landing Baseboard Decorative trim board used as the baseboard moulding on the Closed Side(s) of Intermediate Landings.

Landing Fitting Assembly Group of Handrail Fittings joined together to make a transition in a Handrail. No Rail Bolts required! See Gooseneck.

LandingTread Moulding used to give the appearance of a Tread with Nosing over the top Riser of a Flight of Stairs and along the open edge of Second Floor Landings and Intermediate Landings.

Lathe Machine used to turn decorative Newel Posts and Balusters.

Left-hand/Right-hand Left-hand and Right-hand is determined as you ascend the Stairway for Fittings, treads, Handrail and direction of turn.

Level Handrail Handrail which runs horizontally along Landings.

Level Quarterturn Level Fitting which turns 90°.

Level Quarterturn with Cap Level Fitting which turns 90° in an Over the Post Balustrade System. It has a wider section, called the Cap, to sit over the Newel Post.

Newel Mounting Hardware Hardware used to attach the Newel Post to the door, structural members or Starting Step.

Notched Stringer Supporting member which runs from the bottom to the top of the Stair and supports the Treads and Risers on the Open Side of the Stairway.

Open (side) of a Stairway Side not enclosed by a wall.

Over the Post Balustrade System Balustrade System which utilizes Fittings and Over the Post Newels to create an unbroken, continuous Handrail system.

Over the Post Newel Newel Post used in an Over the Post Balustrade System. The Newel usually has a Pin at the top of the Newel that fits into the Cap of a Fitting. Often referred to as a Pin Top newel.

Overall Run The sum of the Run of all of the Treads in a Flight of Stairs.

Partial Wall Wall that partially encloses a Stairway. It usually begins part of the way up the Stairway so the bottom few Treads are open and the Treads above are closed.

Pin Wood dowel. It provides a connection between components. Removable pins on the bottom of Balusters are known as Pin E-Z.

Pin Newel See Rake Newel.

Pin Top Baluster See Taper Top Balusters.

Pin Top Newel See Over the Post Newels.

Pitch Angle of the Stairway.

Pitch Block Triangular cut-out from the stringer representing the Rise, Run and Rake of the Stairway. It is used for trimming Handrail Fittings.

Plow Routed portion in some Handrail and Shoerail. (See Fillet) Accommodates the square bottom or top of Balusters.

Plowed Handrail Fitting Handrail Fittings that have been Plowed on the under side to accept Square Top Balusters. Fillet is included with these Fittings.

Plug Round piece of wood used to cover holes drilled in Newel Posts, Handrail and Fittings. Plugs may be button shaped or flat tapered.

Post to Post Balustrade System Balustrade system in which the Handrail is not continuous. The Handrail extends from the Top Block of one Post to Post Newel to the Top Block of another Post to Post Newel.

Post to Post Newel Newel Post used in a Post to Post Balustrade System. The Newel usually has a decorative top above a flat faced block.

Post to Post with Fittings Balustrade System Post to Post Balustrade System that utilizes Handrail Fittings to raise the Rake Handrail to the height required at Landings.

Quarterturn with Cap 135° Level Handrail Fitting that makes a 135° degree turn.

Rail Bolts Double-ended bolts (1 end lag, 1 end machined) used to connect Handrails to traditional manufactured standard Fittings.

Rail Drop Vertical portion of a Gooseneck Fitting or Landing Fitting Assembly.

Rake Handrail Handrail which runs at the Pitch of the Stairway

Rake Pitch of the Stairway

Rake Newel Newel Post that is used for extra support at the midpoint of a long Flight of Straight Stairs.

Returned End Fitting profiled to match the Handrail on two sides and one end. Traditionally used to create a finished end on a piece of Handrail that is not attached to a Newel Post. In Conect-A-Kit® Systems it is used to create a Landing Fitting assembly that attaches to the Top Block of a Post to Post Newel in Post to Post with Fittings Balustrade Systems.

Returned Tread Tread with Nosing on the open end(s) of the Tread.

Reversible Component can be used for either Left-hand or Right-hand applications.

Rise Vertical measurement from the surface of one Tread to the surface of the next Tread. For Total Rise, see Finish Floor to Finish Floor Height.

Riser Vertical component of a step against which your toe might hit when ascending a Stairway.

Rosette Decorative piece used to form a conclusion to the Handrail where the Handrail meets a wall. Rosettes are available in oval, round or rectangular shapes.

Round Top Round style decorative top on some Post to Post Newels.

Round Top Balusters See Taper Top Balusters.

Routed Stringer Supporting member which runs from the bottom to the top of the Stair and supports the Treads and Risers on the Closed Side of a Stringer Built Stairway.

Run Horizontal measurement from the face of one Riser to the face of the next Riser. This is the depth of the Tread without the Nosing.

"S" Fitting Fitting used in continuous rail applications to allow the Rake Handrail to wrap around a Partial Wall and continue as Wall Rail up the Stairway Flight.

Scraper Tool used to smooth Handrail profiles when two pieces of Handrail or Handrail and Fitting are joined.

Scroll Top Scroll style decorative top on some Post to Post Newels.

Second Floor Landing Floor area at the top of a Stairway. The Second Floor Landing is commonly referred to as the Balcony.

Second Floor Landing Newel Newel Post at the top of a flight of steps. Located at the point where a Rake Handrail and a Level Handrail intersect.

Shoe Mould Decorative moulding used to cover the joint between the first Riser at the bottom of the Stairway and the floor.

Shoerail Plowed bottom rail of a Balustrade System into which the bottoms of the Balusters fit.

Skirtboard Non-Structural, decorative trim board used in Carriage built Stairways to trim the area of the Carriage on the Open Side of the Stairway and as a moulding on the Closed Side of the Stairway.

Spiral Stairway Curved Stairway with Treads radiating from a center pole.

Square Top Baluster Balusters that are square on the top. They usually have a Turned Area in the center section. These are typically installed into Plowed Handrail.

Square Top Newel See Post to Post Newel.

Stair Horses See Carriage.

Stair Jacks See Carriage.

Stairwell A space in a building where a stairway is located.

Take-off A checklist of items needed for the Stairway.

Tandem Cap Level Fitting used in Over the Post Balustrade Systems. It has a Cap to allow it to sit upon the top of an Over the Post Newel Post. Most often used over a Balcony Newel Post.

Taper Top Balusters Balusters with a Turned Area that extends to the top of the Baluster. They are connected to the Handrail by inserting the round top of the Baluster into a hole drilled in the bottom of the Handrail.

Telescoping Baluster Marking Tool Tool used for marking Baluster locations beneath Handrails and for determining the proper length to trim Balusters.

Template Pattern included with many components to guide the installer in determining drilling locations for Balusters, bolts, and newel attaching hardware. Radius Templates may be requested by the Stair builder making a curved rail for a Second Floor Landing.

Top Block Unturned portion near the top of Post to Post Newel Post.

Total Rise See Finished Floor to Finished Floor Height.

Total Run See Overall Run.

Tread The part of a step upon which one walks.

Turned Area Decorative area produced by a Lathe on a Newel Post or Baluster.

Turnout Fitting used at the bottom of some Over the Post Balustrade Systems as a decorative beginning to the Handrail. It has a Cap to allow it to sit upon an Over the Post Newel The Cap is offset from the Centerline of the Handrail. The offset is different for standard Turnouts and for tight Turnouts.

U-shaped Stairway Stairway that goes up a Flight of Stairs to an Intermediate Landing and then makes a 180° turn. Depending on the distance between the two Flights of Stairs, the Stairway can be a Tight-U Stairway or a Wide-U Stairway.

Up Easing Handrail Fitting that is use in combination with other Handrail Fittings to transition the Handrail from Rake to Rake, from Rake to level or from level to Rake angles.

Utility Newel Newel Post used as a structural member at the beginning of a Balustrade system, along a Second Floor Landing and with Landing Fitting Assemblies at Landings. In Post to Post Newels, the Utility Newels have the shortest Top Blocks.

Vertical Volute Fitting used at the bottom of some Stairways as a decorative beginning to the Handrail. It sits over a Rake Newel that is aligned to the Balustrade Centerline.

VersaToolT Tool used to install Rail Bolts and locate drilling positions for Fittings.

Volute Fitting used at the bottom of some Stairways as a decorative beginning to the Handrail. It has a Cap to allow it to sit upon an Over the Post Newel. The Cap is offset from the Centerline of the Handrail.

Wall Caps See Closed False Tread.

Wall Hung Rail See Wall Rail.

Wall Rail Handrail that is mounted to the wall with Wall Rail Brackets on the Closed Side of a Staiway.

Wall Rail Bracket Decorative metal hardware that is used to attach Wall Rail to a wall.

Wedge Tapered strips of wood used with glue to tighten Treads and Risers into a Routed Stringer. Also reduces squeaks in the Stairway.

Well Hole See Stairwell.

Winder Stairway Stairway that has Winder Treads

Winder Tread A Tread on which the long edges are not parallel.

Wood Plug See Plug.