Anatomy of a Stair with Definitions of the Parts

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Anatomy of a Stair with Definitions of the Parts


Definitions Of Stair Parts:

Railing: The top part of the stair which supports you while walking up and down the stair. It goes on top of the newel posts and the balusters.
Codes for Railing: On a Balcony- 36" to 38" for residential and 42" for Commercial jobs. On the stair it must be installed 34" to 36" high from the front edge of the tread to the direct vertical top of the rail. On a commecial job it must be 42" for the top rail and it also must have a secondary rail which must be at 34" to 36".
Treads: This is the part which is stepped on while walking up and down the stair.
Codes for Treads: Must have a 10" tread run and be at least 1" thick and have a minimum of 36" wide walking space from the wall to the closest part of the rail or balusters.
Cove Moulding: This decorative piece of trim is used under the rounded part of the tread and landing tread either to help support or just for decoration.
Wallrail and Brackets: Used against a wall to to assist while walking up and down the stair. Brackets attach the rail to the wall. Brackets must be attached to the wall with the screws installed into a wall stud.
Code for Wall Rail: Must be installed at 34" to 36" high from the front edge of the tread to the direct vertical top of the rail.
Risers: Vertical part under the tread.
Codes for risers: Risers must be between 7-1/4" to 7-3/4" high for a normal stair. Spiral risers can be up to 9".

Bullnose or Starting Step: This is the bottom tread which curves out from the stair. It is bmade to hold the balusters from using a volute fitting or a Box Newel post.
Code for Bullnose: Same as a tread.
Newel Post or Box Newels: The main supports for the railing. These are large enough to support the weight of the rail with the balusters.
Code for Posts: The heights can vary according to the height of the railing.
Balusters: The thinner vertical supports which are usually wooden or iron. They are used under the railing and on the stair.
Codes for Balusters: The baluster must be spaced so that a 4" sphere cannot pass between any part of the rail, balusters, or newel posts parts. Cannot be used in a manner which may create a horizontal "ladder" effect.
Fittings: These are the decorative pieces used on the rail either to change the height of the rail, create an "over-the-post" system with the rail, or Terminate the rail at the bottom of the stair.
Landing Tread or Nosing: This is used to enable the balusters and the newels to the floor. Can be used to terminate the hardwood flooring and matches 3/4" unfinished flooring.
Rosette or Half Newel: Used to terminate the rail into a wall or column.
Shoerail: Runs horizontally under the rail at the bottom. Used to terminate square bottom balusters into it's notch. Used inconjunction with fillet, which completes the open spaces between the balusters.


All codes must be checked with your local building area. Southeastern Stair Company not responsible for differences in codes for different areas.

Southeastern Stair Company, LLC. 135 Moreland Circle, Hiram GA (678) 229-7018 Fax (770)439-5316