Product Information

What are Starting Steps

 Starting steps protrude into a room at the base of a staircase and may be visible from several sides. This added surface area can showcase materials and finishes of the risers and treads. It can also be used for base newel posts or elaborate volutes.  A substantial starting step can also give scale and balance to […]


Can I Reuse my Old Stair Parts when Remodeling my Banister?

One question that many of our remodeling customers ask is whether or not they can reuse any of their existing stair parts. In addressing this question, there are several things to consider: First, what condition are the existing stair components in? Second, what is the purpose of the renovation? Structural, aesthetic, or both? Third, will […]


Types of Stairs

There are several different types of stairs that are used in architectural design.  These vary for a variety of reasons, two of the most important being their visual appeal and consideration of space.  Stairways can occupy a rather large footprint in a home but through some creative design, this footprint can be substantially reduced when […]


How to Add Wood Handrail to An Iron Balustrade

Job: Capping your iron railing with a wood handrail Difficulty: Medium to Easy depending on skill level Tools: Chop Saw, Tape Measure, Hammer, Drill, Screws, Titebond Glue Adding wood handrail to a full wrought iron balustrade can dramatically increase the look of your railing system without the expense of replacing the entire banister.  Wood handrails […]


Log Railings

Log railings are available in a wide variety of sizes and textures and they are a virtually essential component of many rustic homes or cabins.  They are typically available in two wood species, pine and cedar.  Cedar is an excellent choice for exterior applications because of its natural rot-resistant properties.  However, cedar log railings are […]


Interior Stair Railing Design

If you are looking for a way to add a little character to your floor level balustrade here is an idea that gives a new purpose to a standard stair part.  Designing a distinct and memorable balustrade from the myriad components available definitely involves some creative thought.  There is more to it than picking the […]


Selecting the Correct Newel Post Types for your Balustrade

Wood Newel Posts are available in two main categories, each with virtually unlimited designs.  These categories are Turned Newel Posts and Box Newel Posts.  While there are countless designs there are also a couple of variations for each style, specific to their intended use.  These variations are most important with Turned Newel Posts and it […]


Red Alder Stair Parts

Red Alder (Alnus rubra) is the most common hardwood in the Pacific North West and the largest of the American Alders, reaching heights of over 100 feet.  It has very little insect or disease problems or animal damage.  It is a fast-growing species and trees can grow to more than 30 feet at by five […]


What is Landing Tread?

Landing Tread is a type of stair part that is used either under a floor level banister as Shoe Rail or around an intermediate landing of a stairway.  In banister applications it is the board on the floor, and balusters and posts are installed on top. It creates a border between the finish flooring and the balustrade […]


Choosing Baluster Styles

Baluster styles are available in several different categories and virtually unlimited designs.  While the other components also have a dramatic impact, none feature so prominently as the balusters themselves.  While there are many variations, these are typically available in two materials, wood balusters and metal balusters. Wood balusters are placed into several basic categories, Rustic, […]


Iron Balusters: Comparing Apples to Apples

Like all of the other stair parts in my “you get what you pay for” series, Iron Balusters (aka metal spindles) are no different.  The quality variations between one iron baluster and another are not drastic but enough that you should understand the difference so you don’t compare the two different styles when considering the […]


Box Newel Posts: You get what you pay for!

As is the case with most items we buy there are occasional steals but in general, when making comparisons a dramatic difference in price reflects something about the products themselves. This is to say that you get what you pay for, so although two items may appear to be the same, there are often cleverly […]


Remodeling Your Stairs on a Budget

Purchasing stair parts doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to remodel your stairs on a budget.  While some options are more cost-effective than others they depend on the conditions of your situation and what if any concessions you are willing to make.  Perhaps you want to use your stairs to help […]


Stair Parts List

Here is a simple list of the stair parts you  will need to create your new or remodeled banister.  Balustrades can be broken down into two types that are in turn reduced into several components.  In order to determine the stair parts you will need for your specific balustrade you will need to consider each […]


Replacing wood balusters with wrought iron balusters

Many customers ask if it is possible to replace wood balusters with wrought iron balusters without replacing the handrail, tread caps, etc.  While this has always been possible the process was a little tricky to ensure that the previous holes were covered and that the result looked clean and professional.  Now, however, one of WoodStairs.com’s […]


Spiral Staircases – Design, Ordering & Assembling

Spiral staircases are a beautiful addition to any home especially  those with small space requirements.  They are elegant pieces of fine furniture in themselves and add they character to any structure. Because of the helical design, many people think that building or installing one is very hard.  While they are difficult to manufacture from scratch, […]


Secret Compartment within a Box Newel Post

Secret compartments within a newel post is not a new concept.  Stashing valuables in stair posts has been done for centuries. Newel posts are the large supporting posts that occur intermittently or at corners or ends of a balustrade to which the handrail is attached.  They provide the greatest structural support of the balustrade.  Over […]


Using the Bore Buster to Drill Handrails

Drilling a stair handrail to accept dowel top wood or wrought iron balusters is a relatively simple concept that can be easily done by a skilled craftsman or using the correct tool.  Each baluster requires a hole drilled plumb into the handrail centered over the baluster itself.  The hole must be centered in the rail, […]


What is Skirtboard?

Stair Skirtboards are a category of aprons which are basically a type of stair moulding.  While Skirtboards are often used to describe all stair aprons, there is a better and simpler categorization that helps define the location of the apron on the stair or balustrade.  While the aprons on a particular staircase may be identical […]


Buying Handrail Fittings

A common question we receive from our customers is how they connect two handrails where they meet at a change in direction or what the “Curly Q” at the start of the stair is called.  This in addition to a variety of questions about handrail fittings and what exactly they are.  Handrail fittings are those […]


Iron Balusters

We’ve touched briefly on the concept of Hollow versus Solid wrought iron balusters (aka metal spindles), but we decided you may like more information on the pros and cons of purchasing and installing hollow or solid metal spindles.  Iron balusters come in many shapes and many of these are available in two categories; yep you guessed it, solid […]


Plowed Handrail

What is a plowed handrail?  This is a frequently asked question regarding stair parts and stair installation.   The answer is simple; many wood handrails are manufactured with a channel removed on the bottom side.  This “plow” allows for the simple and clean installation of square-top wood balusters, including completely square mission or craftsman wood balusters.  The […]


Wrought Iron Railings

Wrought Iron Railings have become extremely popular over the last decade or so primarily because of the great versatility they allow in creating a unique balustrade.  Wrought iron as it is known today is basically a mild steel and the term literally means “worked iron”.  It has been around for several centuries, although in the […]


Prefinished Stair Parts

Many of our customers request prestained or prefinished stair parts instead of the unfinished alternative.  While we offer both options at WoodStairs.com, many customers change their mind when they realize the disadvantages of using prefinished stair parts or components to construct their balustrade.  If you are doing a simple wall mounted handrail then using a prefinished handrail […]


Stair Treads

Stair Treads have been the topic of two of our customers’ questions this week alone so we thought it would be a good idea to address this major stair component.  Both customers asked whether or not they could use their hardwood flooring on their stairway as treads, which is a question we are commonly asked. […]


Buying Handrails

Handrails specifically are the top horizontal piece of a balustrade that is grasped by the hand to give support.  More generically the term handrail is commonly used to describe the entire balustrade or banister.  The actual handrail component serves two primary functions, safety and aesthetics.  As far as safety, the handrail is the stair part […]


All About Balusters – Wood and Iron Stair Balusters

Learn all about balusters aka spindles. Balusters are the vertical columns that support a handrail.  They come in a virtually unlimited array of shapes and styles made from a variety of materials.  Although baluster is the correct term and spelling, they are also commonly called spindles and pickets. One of the major materials from which balusters […]


How to Evaluate Wood

Evaluating Lumber In an effort to provide our customers with the best tools available to educate and inform themselves or their customers we thought it important to discuss that upon which so much of the construction industry is based, wood. Any wood intended for use as building materials is called lumber and is generally milled […]