Stairs and banisters in general and stair parts specifically, compose a large assortment of stair terms that describe the many unique components used to create these elegant architectural features. In order to make this blog more helpful, to better assist our customers in making informed decisions and as a general information resource, we’ve created a very detailed glossary of stair and balustrade terms. In addition to the definitions, we’ve also provided links to many of the items so you can see images.
Take for example one of the words I just used above, balustrade. If you are uncertain what the word balustrade means then you are not alone. This is a widely known term in our industry but is used infrequently beyond it. This is because it is a very specific stair-related word as you can see from the following definition as included in our Glossary of Stair Terms:
Balustrade – The combination of Handrails, Balusters, Newel Posts, and Tread Caps that serve as a Guardrail of a flight of stairs or Balcony. (Also Known as a Banister or Railing System or less accurately a Handrail)
More specifically there are many stair parts with very unique names, such as volute, easing, newel, baluster, shoe rails and so on. These terms are also relatively unknown to most people outside of our industry. Instead of asking for a part by name we are regularly asked about the “curly-q” thing at the bottom of the stair or where a customer can find the “pickets” on our website. These two terms are volute and balusters, respectively. We are hopeful that our glossary will help you find what you are looking for.
Additionally, there are several relatively common words that have very uncommon meanings as related to stairs and balustrades. For example, the term apron has a very unique definition in our industry that is unrelated to its definition as an article of clothing.
Apron – A wide decorative board attached to the wall under any Balustrade or above the treads on a Closed Stringer also known as a Skirtboard.
Perhaps you are designing a balustrade for your home, in which case our glossary of stair terms will ensure that you are able to have an accurate and informed conversation about the project. Or, if you are looking for a specific stair part this will help you to ask for it by name or search for it specifically online.