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- Stairwell: The opening, containing an indoor stairway.
- Flight: An uninterrupted series of steps.
- Balustrade: The system of handrail and balusters that prevents people from falling.
- Spandrel: The (usually triangular) space underneath the stairs
- Soffit: Underside of stair
- Apron: Vertical perimeter around the stairwell
- Utility Stair: Stair not used for day to day use, e.g. escape, access, maintenance, or sometimes loft conversions
- Private Stair: used in only one dwelling
- General access stair: used for more than one dwelling in private building, e.g. shared stair in a block of flats
- Geometrical Stair: An elegant and highly desired staircase using curved strings and handrails (rather than a standard stair)
- Spiral Stair: Simple, efficient space design, can be uncomfortable to walk up
- Elliptical Stair: Geometrical Stair curved by an ellipse (rather than an arc)
- Straight stair: Straight flight
- Quarter/half turn, Multiple straight flights, that change direction through the stair, on either winders of landing
- Open Stair: stair that doesn’t have risers. (rather than the usual ‘closed stair’ which does have risers)
- Tread: The horizontal part of the stairs that is stepped on. Tread types include
- Flyers: Straight Treads
- Winders: Angled Treads
- Curved Treads: Treads with curved risers, attractove for high class staircases
- Scroll / Bullnose Step: Decorative curved first step providing extra space for a scroll or Newel post and often
- Riser: The vertical parts between each tread on the stair.
- Nosing: the part of the tread that protrudes beyond the riser (or string on a cut string staircase).
- Landing: A flat platform at the top, bottom or between flights, should be as wide as the stair in both axes.
- String: Supports treads and risers on either side of the stair, variants include:
- Closed String: Treads and risers are recessed into the string, typically lower cost.
- Cut String: Cut underneath treads/risers, traditional and higher quality stairs.
- Rough String: Used for support but is not seen in finished stair
- Pitch / rake: Angle on stair or stair parts (e.g. handrail)
- Pitch / nosing line: line that runs across stair nosing’s (parallel to the pitch/rake)
- String Capping: Beading that site on top of wall strings, provides detail and hides unevenness in wall
- Scotia: Moulding under treads/nosings on cut string staircases
- Spindles / Balusters: (typically) vertical posts under handrail which prevent falling through the gap, often decorative
- Newel Post: Larger baluster / post used to anchor the handrail.
- Handrail: Rail mounted on the wall or on top of the guarding / balustrade
- Geometrical Handrails: A continuous curved handrail that run without break, caps or newel posts along a (typically geometrical) staircase. Geometrical handrails are by far the most desired type of handrail, but can be more expensive than straight handrail mounted into newel posts.
- Scroll Terminal / Volute: The decorative handrail piece at the start of the stair that curls around in a spiral, high quality scroll terminals are pitched low to provide a more attractive look.
- Wreaths: The sections of double curvature handrail, often also twisting around corners to form a continuous handrail. Wreaths are carved out of solid timber using precise geometrical techniques and highly skilled, specialized craftsmen.
- Cap: Elegant but simple termination of a handrail above a newel post
- Face-mold: Geometrical form used in the construction of Wreathed handrail sections
- Easing / Ramps / knees: Curved handrail in a single axis, generally easing = horizontal, ramps / knees vertical.
- Swan neck: An vertical handrail component that joins a sloped handrail to a higher handrail, simple to make but typically undesirable.
- Profile: The cross section of a handrail
- Finial: A decorative cap to the top of a newel post or underside of a side mounted spindle.
- (Tread) Bracket: A decorative design placed on the cut stringer.
- Runner: Carpeting that runs down the middle of the stairs.
And if you want to know more …