There are quite a few terms used in the design, manufacture and installation of custom designed staircases and balustrade that you may be unfamiliar with. For some items several different terms are used and some terms are used inappropriately.
To help, Canal Architectural has created this short glossary of the more commonly used terms and their meaning as we understand and use them; this doesn’t make them right!
A term to collectively describe newels, balusters, bottom rails and handrails.
A hand height rail, usually fixed to a wall running alongside a staircase.
An optional part of the balustrade running parallel to the handrail, supporting the bottom of the balusters, supported by newel posts. Also called a bottom rail.
An optional part of the balustrade running parallel to the handrail, supporting the bottom of the balusters, supported by newel posts. Also called a base rail.
Traditionally decorative spikes along roof tops to ward off witches, now refers to the decorative feature, often balls that sit on top of newel posts. Sometimes called newel caps.
A single string of a staircase connecting two floors or a floor and a landing.
The staircase going is a measure of the horizontal distance travelled by a staircase from the first to the last riser. The going of each individual step is the horizontal measurement between two risers.
A handrail joint allowing the continuation of the handrail at different heights and angles.
The part of the balustrade at hand height. Usually sits on top of balusters and supported by newel posts. Also called a top rail.
In fill Panels
An alternative part of the balustrade, usually a solid panel filling the space between the hand rail and bottom rail, often used instead of balusters.
The portion of an upper floor alongside the staircase with a balustrade. Also used as the term for a flat turning area of a staircase between floors.
An alternative part of the balustrade running parallel to the hand rail and bottom rail, often used instead of balusters
The decorative feature, often balls, which sit on top of newel posts. Sometimes called finials.
Vertical posts positioned at the beginning and end of the balustrade. Also used at junctions between the staircase and landing.
The shape of the edge of a tread projecting beyond the riser.
The angle between the pitch line and the horizontal of a staircase. Also called the rake.
The imaginary line that would join the nosings of the treads of a staircase.
The angle between the pitch line and the horizontal of a staircase. Also called the pitch.
RAL is used for information defining standard colours for paint and coatings and is the most popular Central European Colour Standard used today.