A Key to Staircase Lingo

String | Stringer | Stringer Board – The structural part of stairs that run along the sides of the stair case, supporting treads and risers.

Closed string – A closed string covers the level of treads and risers so that you won’t see the steps when looking at your staircase from the side.

Cut string – Here the string follows the zig zag line of the treads and risers, so that they can be seen from side the staircase.

Double cut string – Quite a unique design where the zig zag line at the side of the staircase is mirrored on the underside of the staircase.

Tread – the step itself, the horizontal part.

Riser – the vertical rise of the step.

Open risers – Open steps with no or partial risers where you can see through the staircase.

Spindles | Balusters – Vertical supports between handrail to the bottom rail. They are largely decorative. Spindles can be a design component as they come in various shapes (square, circular or turned features) and materials (timber, metal, glass).

Brackets – Brackets are a decorative feature on the string (side) of a cut string staircase

Scrolls – A scroll is the twirly bit at the bottom of the handrail which is sometimes referred to as a monkey’s tail

Newel Posts – Vertical posts you find at the top and bottom of the staircase. They go into the stair case itself and need to be strong enough to support the banisters or handrails as well as the people using the staircase.

Chamfer – A decorative groove on spindles or newels.

Stand alone – staircase not attached to wall

Swan’s neck – a more elegant way to finish a handrail where it meets the newel at the top of the staircase

Concrete clad – where a concrete staircase is in place and we clad the concrete with your chosen timber and components

Bullnose – A feature of a bottom step

Dual colour – using two complementary or contrasting colours to set off your staircase.

Iroko – a type of timber that comes from Africa. It is rare for this type of timber to be used for a staircase, however it is very beautiful.