An Intimate Introduction To Your Staircase

Let’s Start With Your Main Flight

This is also called your ‘Stair Carcass’. It is the main trunk of your staircase minus balustrade (Discussed a little lower).

In Basic terms, it consists of Strings either side of your Treads and Risers. Let’s look at those elements individually:


This is the vertical, structural element that runs perpendicular to, and houses, the treads and risers. This can be shaped to follow the ‘sawtooth’ of the treads and risers to create what is known as a cut string.


The part of the stairway that you step on. You would normally also have a nosing on this that slightly overlaps the riser.


The individual going is the term for the measurement from face of riser to face of riser.


The vertical portion between each tread. When this is missing it is called an Open Plan Staircase.


An Individual Rise is the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of tread. Your Total Rise is measured from finished floor to finished floor.

Now Let’s Look at your Staircase Balustrade

Your balustrade is the guarding for the flight to ensure safe use. This is normally made up of Newel Posts at the top and bottom of your stair run to anchor the handrail. You would then have Spindles that sit in the grooves of both the Handrail and a Baserail sitting on the String.

When you are thinking about just updating your staircase rather than replacing it, this is the part that you would normally update. Changing this can really have an impact on the surrounding environment.


A large post that anchors your balustrade. This is also the main source of central support for any turns in a staircase. You can also get half newels that are used where your balustrade is ending in a wall. Visually this creates the effect of the newel being embedded in the wall and creates a generally neater finish.


Handrails can be continuous or newel to newel. Continuous create the effect of a single, unbroken rail traversing the staircase. This requires multiple components (Such as quarter turns and goosenecks) to produce this effect and it typically more expensive. Newel to newel systems consist of handrails entering newel posts that project above.


This sits on your string and has a groove which is used to accept the spindles. Should you want a cut string staircase there would be no need for a baserail as the spindles enter the treads.


This is normally a constituent of continuous handrails (though not exclusively). This is a spiral handrail found at the bottom of a flight and requires a d­step or curtail.

That’s Great, But…

So they’re the basics. As with anything of this ilk, there are lots of additional elements that we could spend all day explaining, but are a little too indepth for this hub!

If you have any queries or questions, feel free to visit StairBox for your staircase questions and they should be able to help you.