Phone: 510.602.0399

Glossary

Astragal Molding – A type of molding in the profile of a semicircle with two concave pieces of wood attached adjacently; primarily used to decorate the midsection of a Box Newel Post.
Balcony – An elevated platform enclosed by railing, Newel Posts, and balusters.
Baluster – A vertical structural component of the balustrade; can be called a “spindle”.
Balustrade – The collection of Newel Posts, Balusters, and Handrail sections assembled to create a barrier alongside treads and risers of the staircase; a 4” sphere should not be able to pass through any part of the balustrade.
Bending Handrail – A bent/warped wooden rail used for curved or bending rails.
Bending Mold – A flexible tool made of very strong, durable plastic – used to lock the bending handrail in a particular shape during the sealing and installation process.
Box Newel – A Newel Post that has a square base.
Bull-nose – The rounded trim in front of a tread; can be attached to the tread via molding.
Coped End – A starting fitting with one end finished and the other end cut to connect to the handrail
Cove Molding – A type of molding used as nosing for stair treads; can also be used to decorate the adjoined area where walls, ceilings, or floors meet; another name for Scotia Molding
Curved Tread – A type of tread where one end is longer than the other end, creating the shape of a trapezoid; used for landings where the staircase shifts directions
Dowel Pin – A cylindrical piece of wood used to connect two components of the staircase (usually with glue), such as a Pin-Top Newel to a Tandem Cap fitting or a baluster to a tread
False Riser – A rectangular piece of wood (5.5” wide, 8” in length, and 0.5” thick) used as vertical faces on the left and right side of a carpeted stair tread
False Tread – A special type of tread with two planks of wood attached perpendicularly and adjoined by a length of molding; primarily used on the left and right sides of a carpeted tread in order to provide a landing place for the balusters
False Tread Molding – A molding that replicates the rounded trim at the front end of a tread
Fillet – A rectangular section of wood (same size as the baluster) that fills in the space of the plow in a plowed handrail
Fitting – A railing component that allows the handrail to change direction; used as connectors for different sections of the handrail
Fluted – Signifies that the faces of a baluster or Newel post have been milled to create indented grooves that looks like a flute or collection of flutes
Goose-neck – A combination of fittings that allows the handrail to change direction in both the vertical and horizontal plane, such as an Up Easing connected to a Level Quarter Turn Cap which connects to another Up Easing
Guardrail – The balcony’s protective railing that prevents people and objects from falling through; another word for the Balustrade
Half Newel Post – A Newel Post sliced in half; placed alongside the wall; provides an area for the handrail to return
Handrail – The ascending/descending top section of the staircase, meant for hands to hold on to while walking up or down the stairs
Landing Tread – A wooden base that provides a landing place for balusters and posts
Left Hand Curve Arm High – A volute that rotates counterclockwise from the left side of the staircase; rises into the handrail at a faster rate than the Quick Rise Left Hand Volute
Left Hand Turnout – A starting fitting that curves in from the left side of the staircase and rises into the handrail
Left Hand Volute – A curved starting fitting that rotates counterclockwise from the left side of the staircase and rises into the handrail
Left Hand Volute Quick Rise – A volute that rotates counterclockwise from the left side of the staircase; rises at a faster rate than the standard Left Hand Volute
Level Quarter Turn – A fitting that changes direction of the handrail by 90° on a horizontal plane
Level Quarter Turn 135° – A fitting that changes direction of the handrail by 135° on a horizontal plane
Metal Baluster – A vertical segment of metal made to a particular style; used to connect the top rail to the bottom rail. Stair Parts Depot offers metal balusters in these finishes: Black and Oil Rubbed Copper
Newel Bolt – A large screw used to secure the Newel Post to the tread, landing, or floor
Newel Cap – the peak cap or very top of the Newel Post; pyramid-tops or flat tops are popular Newel Caps
Newel Post – A wooden column used to support the load of the staircase, essential for structural integrity
Nosing – A rounded front end of a tread; can be attached to the tread via a type of molding
Opening Cap – A starting fitting that connects the handrail to a Pin-Top Newel Post
Over Easing – A convex fitting that changes the direction of the handrail by 135° on a vertical plane
Panel Molding – A type of molding used to create the look of raised panels on a wall, cabinet, or Newel Post
Peak Cap – The pyramidal top section of a Box Newel post; some Newels have detachable top caps – other top caps are built into the wood
Pie Tread – A type of tread where one end is longer than the other end; used for landings where the staircase shifts directions; can also be called “Curved Tread”
Pin-Top Newel – A Newel Post that has a pin as the top of the post for the purpose of securing wood fittings: starting easing, opening cap, tandem cap, level quarter-turn with cap
Plowed Handrail – A handrail that has a rectangular section cut off from the bottom in order to securely install square-top balusters
Plug – Cylindrical piece of wood (0.5” – 1” diameter, 0.5” in length); used to cover holes left behind by drilling during the installation of staircase
Quarter Turn Cap – A fitting that changes direction of the handrail by 90° on a horizontal plane; connects to a Pin-Top Newel Post
Quarter Turn Cap 135° – A fitting that changes direction of the handrail by 135° on a horizontal plane; connects to a Pin-Top Newel Post
Rail Bolt – A bolt that is used to secure the handrail to the post or wall
Return End – An ending fitting with one end finished and the other end cut to connect to the handrail
Right Hand Curve Arm High – A volute that rotates clockwise from the right side of the staircase; rises into the handrail at a faster rate than the Quick Rise Right Hand Volute
Right Hand Turnout – A starting fitting that curves in from the right side of the staircase and rises into the handrail
Right Hand Volute – A curved starting fitting that rotates clockwise from the right side of the staircase and rises into the handrail
Right Hand Volute Quick Rise – A volute that rotates clockwise from the right side of the staircase; rises into the handrail at a faster rate than the standard Right Hand Volute
Riser – The vertical face of a step used to compliment the horizontal tread; treads and risers go together to form the steps of a staircase
Rosette – A round or oval section of wood attached to the wall; provides an area in which the handrail can return
Sander – A power tool that uses sandpaper to smooth out the surface of wood products
Scotia Molding – A type of molding used as nosing for stair treads; can also be used to decorate the adjoined area where walls, ceilings, or floors meet
Shoe – A square base for the metal baluster; secures the bottom section of the metal baluster to the tread
Shoe Rail – The bottom railing of a staircase; supports square balusters
Skirt Molding – A type of molding used to create the look of raised panels on the wall, cabinet, or Newel Post; another name for Panel Molding
Spindle – A vertical structural component of the balustrade; another name for the Baluster
Spiral Stairs – A staircase in circular or helical form; bending handrails and Pie Treads are used during the construction of a Spiral Staircase
Stair Gradient – The slope (angle of inclination) of the staircase measured from the horizontal base to the angle of the handrail; angle varies depending on the city – check local building codes
Starting Step – The initial “feature” step of the staircase – could be larger and with rounded ends
Step – A tread and riser adjoined perpendicularly
Stringer –  the longitudinal piece of framework on the sides of the stairs
Inner Stringer – the inner stringer is on the side being enclosed inside the stairs
Outer Stringer – the outer stringer is on the side outside of the enclosure of the stairs
Tandem Cap – A fitting that adjoins two sections of a handrail to a Pin-Top Newel Post
Top Cap – The top portion of the balustrade; handrail
Tread – The horizontal steps of a staircase
Tread Bracket – A decorative piece of wood attached alongside the tread and riser
Tread Return – A rounded trim of wood attached adjacent to the treads and risers
Up Easing – A concave fitting that changes the direction of the handrail by 135° on a vertical plane
Up Easing 90° – A concave fitting that changes the direction of the handrail by 90° on a vertical plane
Volute – A curved starting fitting that flows in circular form before rising into the handrail
Wall Cap – A rectangular plank of wood (0.75” thick, 7” wide, with varied lengths up to 15 feet long) used to provide a protective outer surface to any wall-like structure
Wall Rail – A handrail attached alongside the wall
Wall Rail Bracket – A metal bracket used to support the load from the handrail into the wall
Wood Baluster – A vertical piece of wood intricately cut to a particular style; used to connect the top rail to the bottom rail – Traditional, Colonial, Sheraton, Hampton, Classic, and Contemporary.