The Basic Parts of a Staircase

Basic Parts of a Staircase

Learn How a Staircase is Constructed
Many people use the stairs each day to get where they need to go. Yet very few people stop to consider how stairs are constructed, what the different parts of a set of stairs are called or what the difference is, for instance, between a staircase and a stairwell. Learning about how a staircase is constructed can also be the first step towards your own home or office improvement project where you design your own staircase.

Staircase Names

There are many names for what most people call “stairs”. Staircase, stairs, stairwell, flight of stairs and even simply “steps” are all different ways that people refer to a staircase. Some staircases are visibly motorized, and these are called escalators. While you can’t see the steps per se in an elevator, this too is a type of motorized staircase. Moving walkways are horizontal stairs and stairlifts are designed to help disabled persons navigate staircases.

Here learn a bit more about what each basic part of a staircase is called and what its function is. Once you know the basic staircase part names, you can even use an online service like to design your own staircase.

Stair step: The stair step actually has two parts to it. The parts are the riser, or the vertical platform that connects one step to the next, and the tread, which is where your feet rest before moving to the next step.
Balustrade: Like the stair step, the balustrade has several parts to it. Included in the balustrade, which is set of the protective handrests that follows most sets of stairs from bottom to top, is the baluster and the handrail, The baluster is the vertical piece that goes from the base of the step to the handrail. The handrail is where your hand rests to support you as you walk up or down the stairs.
Newel post: This is the first post in the balustrade.
Stringer: The foundational boards that support the stair step system.

Additional Stair Parts

Depending on the design of your staircase, there are additional parts that may be included. These parts include a landing, which is a short platform that connects two contiguous sets of stairs and winders, which are steps in a curved staircase that lacks a landing. Easings are used only with wall mount-type staircase railings. Decorative staircase parts include rosettes, fillettes and trim.