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Staircase Terminology

This glossary of staircase related terminology is by no means
exhaustive but does detail the most common and basic terms
used in staircase construction and balustrading installation.

- the vertical member, plain or decorative,
that acts as the infill between the handrail and baserail (or
tread if cut string).

- the collective name for the complete assembly
of handrails, baserails, newels, spindles and caps.

Bullnose Step - usually at the bottom of the stairs with one or
both ends of the step having a quarter circle design.

Closed String
- a string with the face housed/trenched to
accommodate treads and risers so their profile cannot be seen.

Continuous Handrail
- using straight lengths of handrail
connected to handrail fittings and ramps, the handrail flows over
the tops of newel turnings creating a continuous run of handrail.

Curtail Step
- a decorative shaped step at the bottom of the
stairs usually accommodating the volute and volute newel
turning of the Continuous Handrail System.

Cut or Open String
- a string with the upper edge cut away
to the shape of the treads and risers so that their profile can be
seen from the side.

- the going of a flight of stairs is the horizontal distance
between the face of the first and last risers. The individual
going of a step is measured from face of riser to face of riser
and for domestic use should be a minimum of 220mm.

- accommodates the strings, handrails and treads/risers
of stairs.

- the edge of the tread projecting beyond the face of
the riser and the face of a cut string.

- the angle between the pitch line and the horizontal.

Pitch Line
- the notional line connecting the nosings of all
treads in a flight of stairs.

- the pitch of the stairs.

- the rise of a flight is the vertical distance between the
floors or landings connected by the flight. The individual rise is
the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of tread.

- the board that forms the face of the step. The
maximum individual rise for domestic flights is 220mm.

- the entire structure relating to a stair, comprising
steps, treads, risers, strings, balustrading, landings etc.

- the space/void provided for the stairs.

- the tread and riser combined.

String Margin
- the distance between the top of the string
and the pitch line measured at 90° to the pitch line.

- the top or horizontal surface of a step.

Wall String
- the string of a staircase fixed flush with a wall.

Winders - are radiating steps narrower at one end that are
used to change the direction of a stairs through 90° or 180°.